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Heirarchy of Beards

Hierarchy of Beards David Malki

Oldie but Goodie: David Malki’s Hierarchy of Beards poster. 

Beards have been part of humanity’s hairy history for decades. Now, for the first time in wall-mounted form, comes this handy 18” x 24” chart tracking the hierarchy of the many types of beard that currently adorn the face of Man. This is a greatly expanded version of the pocket-sized Beard Spotting Guide from the Wondermark collection Beards of our Forefathers.



Lincoln: A Beard Is Born

Lincoln Five Dollar Beard

It 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.

Most American historians, when they have considered the 19th-century whisker revolution at all, have assumed it had to do with Civil War soldiers avoiding the inconvenience of shaving. In fact, the phenomenon predated the war by a number of years – and was the subject of a great deal of contemporary comment and debate. By the mid-1850s, talk of a “beard movement” was sweeping the nation. In 1857, an intrepid journalist strolled through Boston’s streets, conducting a statistical survey: of the 543 men he tallied, no fewer than 338 had full, bushy beards, while nearly all the rest sported lesser facial hair of various sorts. Only four were “men of the old school, smooth shaven, with the exception of slight tufted promontories jutting down from either ear, as if designed as a compromise measure between the good old doctrine and modern radicalism.”

As that remark suggests, antebellum beards bristled with political connotations. American newspapers reported that in Europe, beards were seen as “dangerous” tokens of revolutionary nationalism, claiming that the Austrian and Neapolitan monarchies even went so far as to ban them. In England they were associated with the sudden burst of martial fervor during the Crimean War. When the trend reached America, connotations of radicalism and militarism traveled with it, spanning the Mason-Dixon Line. It was no accident that the timid Northern Democrats who sympathized with slaveholders – like President James Buchanan – were called “doughfaces.” Meanwhile, the Republicans’ first standard-bearer, John C. Frémont in 1856, had also been the first bearded presidential candidate in American history. (The most famous antebellum beard of all, though, was John Brown’s.)

Lincoln’s beard was only part of what made his physical appearance seem like a break with the presidential past. Compare the Alschuler photograph to Mathew Brady’s portraits of Buchanan and Franklin Pierce, both considered handsome men in their time. Each wears a high white collar with a tightly wrapped neck stock. Lincoln, with Whitmanesque nonchalance, wears his tie loose and his low, soft collar slightly open. The difference looks negligible to modern eyes, but in a 19th-century context, it was like changing out of a business suit and into a polo shirt.

I often get the most work done when I’m comfortable. You know, wearing a polo shirt rather than a business suit. And wearing a beard rather than nothing at all. 

Today’s a good day to be thankful for beards. 


History of Beard by Movie&Art for Zupi

Also, check out the Vimeo group, Hirsute Pursuit.


(this post was reblogged from theatlantic)

A Passion for Beards

Online Schools Beards

“This, then, is the mark of the man, the beard… It is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness.”

—St. Clement of Alexandria, 271 CE

Online Schools Beards

Online Schools has posted an infographic on facial hair explaining the five types and variations thereof, with little historical tidbits and quotes to round it out. 

Note to Beard Revue readers: The space between your nose and upper lip is called a philtrum, not a hiltrum as suggested by Online Schools. You probably already knew that — I just didn’t want there to be any confusion.