A Short Account Concerning Lincoln’s Hair

Abraham Lincoln (pic from marketingsupportnetwork.com)

I recently made a blog posting about Abraham Lincoln’s disheveled hair after noticing that in so many photographs his hair had been messy. Then I came across a little story (below) in A. Lincoln:The Wit & Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln by James C. Humes about Lincoln’s hair. Enjoy:

“Right after Lincoln was awarded the presidential nomination in Chicago, party officials rushed the fifty-one-year-old Springfield lawyer to a photographer. Woodcuts of the photograph were needed to distribute to newspapers and party organizations around the country.

Despite the fact that the photo showed a harried Lincoln with straggly unkempt hair, the photo was sent out. The next day Lincoln heard outside his hotel a vendor hawking his picture.

“Get a picture of Abe Lincoln cheap—cost is only one bit—when Abe gets his hair slicked down for the next picture it will cost you two bits.”

Ah, I can see you smiling. Good story-but it doesn’t explain all the other photograph sittings where Lincoln posed with messy hair. Who knows-maybe he liked the look! I also don’t recall any image of Lincoln where his hair was “slicked down.” And since we’re talking about Abraham Lincoln’s hair-did it ever start to turn gray? It seems to me that most of our modern day Presidents have turned gray during their terms of office- seen President Obama lately? As far as I can tell Lincoln’s hair retained its natural color. How was that possible? Good genes, perhaps. Did they have hair dye for men then?

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One Response to “A Short Account Concerning Lincoln’s Hair”

  1. I think Lincoln actually liked the look of his hair messed up, he said that the photo of him taken in Springfield with his hair all unruly represented him better than any other picture of him.

    I think I’d agree, because in photos where is hair is actually neat (like the Cooper Union portrait), he isn’t as recognizable. It just doesn’t seem “Lincoln” to me.

    Lincoln was a very informal person who wanted to be close to the people, I think this is a reflection of this. It’s something I try to reflect in my artwork that doesn’t seem to be reflected in images of Lincoln so much.

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