The Last President With Facial Hair

5 American Presidents With Beards in United States History

There have been five American facial hair in United States history, but all of them served in the 1800s. No president in the 20th Century wore a beard in the White House, and only a few wore any facial hair at all.

So who are our bearded presidents? Here's a look.

Abraham Lincoln
Education Images/UIG/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Abraham Lincoln was the first bearded president of the United States. But he might have entered office clean-shaven in March 1861 were it not from a letter from 11-year-old Grace Bedell of New York, who didn't like the way he looked on the 1860 campaign trail without facial hair.

Bedell wrote to Lincoln before the election:

"I have yet got four 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 started growing a beard, and by the time he was elected and began his journey from Illinois to Washington in 1861 he had grown the beard for which he is so remembered.

One note, however: Lincoln's beard was not actually a full beard. It was a "chinstrap," meaning he shaved his upper lip.

Lincoln served as president from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. More »

Ulysses Grant
Ulysses Grant. Brady-Handy Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

Grant was the second bearded president. Before he was elected, Grant was known to wear his beard in a manner that was described as both "wild" and "shaggy" during the Civil War. The style did not suit his wife, however, so he trimmed it back.

Purists point out the Grant was the first president to wear a full beard compared to Lincoln's "chinstrap."

In 1868, author James Sanks Brisbin described Grant's facial hair this way: "The whole of the lower part of the face is covered with a closely cropped reddish beard, and on the upper lip he wears a mustache, cut to match the beard."

Author A. D. Peterkin noted that Grant also had the "hairiest cabinet."

Grant served as president from March 4, 1869, to March 4, 1877. More »

Rutherford Hayes
Rutherford Hayes. United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division

Hayes was the third bearded president. He reportedly wore the longest beard of the five bearded presidents, what some described as Walt Whitman-ish. Hayes served as president from March 4, 1877 to March 4, 1881. More »

James Garfield
James Garfield. Brady-Handy Photograph Collection

Garfield was the fourth bearded president. His beard has been described as being similar to that of Rasputin's, black with streaks of gray in it.

Garfield served as president from March 5, 1881, until September 19, 1881. He died after being assassinated in July of that year. More »

Benjamin Harrison
Banjamin Harrison. United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division

Harrison was the fifth bearded president. He wore a beard the entire four years he was in the White House, from March 4, 1889, to March 4, 1893. He was the last president to wear a beard, one of the more notable elements of a relatively unremarkable tenure in office.

Author O'Brien Cormac wrote this of the president in his 2004 book Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents: What Your Teachers Never Told You About the Men of the White House: "Harrison may not be the most memorable chief executive in American history, but he did, in fact, embody the end of an era: He was the last president to have a beard." More »

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Murse, Tom. "The Last President With Facial Hair." ThoughtCo, Aug. 23, 2016, Murse, Tom. (2016, August 23). The Last President With Facial Hair. Retrieved from Murse, Tom. "The Last President With Facial Hair." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2018).