On Oct. 15, 1860— 153 years ago today &mdash 11-year-old Grace Bedell wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln suggesting he grow a beard for the presidential election.
Bedell said in her letter that Lincoln may be more attractive to ladies if he had a beard:
“I have got 4 brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you 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 husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.”
Lincoln wrote her back, and days after the election, he decided to grow a beard, according to The New York Times.
His response, according to records in the Library of Congress:
“As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?”
Although Lincoln seemed unsure of Bedell’s advice initially, he eventually orchestrated a meeting with her after he was elected and told her he had taken her advice.
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:
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