In honor of President’s Day, I’d like to take a moment to remind you all of an important but often overlooked (or at least underdiscussed) Presidential trait – hair and whiskers!
My personal favorite, Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885). The mid to late 19th century was a hairy one for men, and this particular style, the Burnside (a mutton chop/sideburn connecting to the full mustache) was quite popular, though Mr. Arthur (“The Gentleman Boss”) seems to be the only Commander and Chief to have sported the style.
Interestingly enough, the offical White House description of Chester A. Arthur reads “Dignified, tall, and handsome, with clean-shaven chin and side-whiskers, Chester A. Arthur “looked like a President.”
Up next, possibly the most iconic of all Presidential whiskers, Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865).
The story states that Lincoln grew his full beard (sans mustache) at the behest of a young girl while he was on the campaign trail.
Fun fact – Lincoln was the first president to wear a full beard, and one of only five presidents to ever do so – the other four bearded presidents were Grant (1869-1877), Hayes (1877-1881), and Garfield (1881), who were the three presidents elected after Lincoln (beardless Andrew Johnson was never elected to office, he ascended following Lincoln’s assassination in 1865) and Benjamin Harrison (1889 – 1893)
Next up, our first red-headed President, Thomas Jefferson (1801 – 1809)
Not only is he our first ginger president, but it seems that he was also our first wig-less president. We most commonly picture the Founding Fathers and early patriots and statesmen as white-wigged figures, but the fashion of wearing frankly false wigs had ebbed by Jefferson’s 1801 Presidency. The portrait on the left shows a young Jefferson in one of the elaborate queue wigs of the 18th century, but the majority of his portraits portray him with his own hair (or at least an artist’s rendition of it). This is a contrast to his predecessors, Washington and Adams, who seem to have worn wigs through their presidencies.
On the subject of natural hair, I have to give a nod to Andrew Jackson (1829 – 1837) for having a truly spectacular crop of hair. Thick and luxurious, it was the towering mane of a brave and impetuous war hero.
And finally, what President Day tribute to hair and whiskers would be complete without a look at our favorite Presidential Mustache?There’s just something about President Roosevelt’s generous yet tidy mustache. Rugged yet refined.Ok – I can’t resist – here are a two more Presidents with mustaches
Final Fun Facts – Grover Cleveland is the only president to ever serve two non-consecutive terms – his mustache was bigger the second time around. William Taft holds the dubious honor of being the last president to sport facial hair while in office. Over one hundred years without Presidential facial hair!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this light-hearted look at Presidential follicles. To keep in the loop about updates to this blog, please join our facebook page!