Abe Lincoln History

- Lincoln Memes
- Famous Quotes
- Leadership Quotes
- Religious Quotes
- Slavery Quotes

- Grace Bedell
- Letter to Mrs. Bixby

- Emancipation Proclamation

- Lyceum Address
- Peoria Speech
- Temperance Address
- House Divided Speech
- Cooper Union Address
- Farewell to Springfield
- Address at Independence Hall
- First Inaugural Address
- Second Inaugural Address
- Last Public Address
- The Gettysburg Address

- 5 Facts
- Abraham's Dream
- John Wilkes Booth
- Assassination Conspirators
- Assassination Timeline
- Assassination Summary
- Artifacts

- Mary Todd Lincoln
- Robert Todd Lincoln
- Tad Lincoln
- Willie Lincoln


Story Behind Abe Lincoln's Beard

fear the beard
How Lincoln's Beard was Born
Oct. 15, 1860: Grace Bedell, age 11, tells Abraham Lincoln to “let your whiskers grow”

Abraham Lincoln is a face that every American is quick to regonize. Imagine if he never grew a beard? Lincoln's beard no doubt helps him be one of the most regonized President's in United States history.
  • Have you ever asked yourself, why did Abraham Lincoln grow a beard?
Abraham Lincoln is probably the most famous face, and certainly the most famous beard, in the history of the world. There are more portraits of it in existence than of any other face. Indeed, they outnumber the entire population of flesh-and-blood human beings who have ever lived on the planet. You probably have several jingling in your pocket right now, and maybe another couple folded in your wallet. Millions of years from now – who knows? – they may still be trapped under car seats and sofa cushions, long after our species has gone extinct.
Lincoln beard timeline

11 Year old Grace Bedell's Letter Convinced Abraham Lincoln to Grow a Beard

It was the fall of 1860. Abraham Lincoln was the Republican nominee for president of the United States. Election Day was less than a month away. Mr. Lincoln, a lifelong beardless man, received a letter written by Grace Bedell, an 11-year-old girl from Westfield, New York. Written October 15th, 1860, the letter urged him to let his whiskers grow. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President, the 11 year old stated.

Grace Bedell's Letter to Lincoln

Westfield Chatauque Co
Oct 15. 1860
Hon A B Lincoln
Dear Sir

My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin's. I am a little girl only eleven years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have got 4 brother's and part of them will vote for you any way and if you will let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husband's to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is a going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try and get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter dir[e]ct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chatauque County New York

I must not write any more answer this letter right off
Good bye
Grace Bedell

Letter to Grace Bedell from Lincoln

October 19, 1860
Springfield, Illinois

Miss. Grace Bedell
My dear little Miss.

Your very agreeable letter of the 15th. is received.

I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughters. I have three sons -- one seventeen, one nine, and one seven, years of age. They, with their mother, constitute my whole family.

As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affection if I were to begin it now? Your very sincere well-wisher

A. Lincoln

Fun Facts
  • As for what happened to Bedell, she went on to marry a Civil War veteran by the name of George Billings sometime around 1870 and took up work first farming, and then later George switched to banking. She lived to the ripe old age of 87 years old, dying in 1936.
  • During the Civil War, Bedell, now aged 15 in 1864, wrote another letter to Lincoln, only very recently discovered in 2007. This time, she was asking if Lincoln could help her find work as her father had recently lost “nearly all his property” and she wanted to help support her family, though her parents hadn’t asked her too. There is no record of whether Lincoln replied or ever even saw the letter.
  • Shortly before Lincoln decided to grow a beard, something of a beard revolution swept the United States and by the mid-19th century the formerly predominately clean-shaven men of America now nearly universally were sporting beards. In fact, one reporter, doing a story on the new trend in 1857, walked the streets of Boston and after counting 543 men that walked by him, found that 62% of them were now sporting bushy beards and all but 4 of the rest had some other type of significant facial hair. Even those four that lacked any significant facial hair sported what would later be called Side Burns, after General Ambrose Burnside.
  • There are more portraits of Lincoln's face in existence than any other face in the world, according to the Times.
  • Lincoln looked pretty different without facial hair:
    Lincoln without his beard
Abe Lincoln History