"Changes in facial hair styles have a long history, and until recently were primarily guided by the ruling monarch or clergy, some even specifying in law or edict which class of men should shave and which should grow their beards. The last true heyday of facial hair in the United States occurred in the last half of the 19th century when, heavily influenced by European trends, men grew all styles of moustaches, sideburns and beards...
As shaving technology advanced (led by Massachusetts-based King C. Gillette) beards began to fall out of fashion. By the early 1900s a safety razor with disposable blade made it easier, safer and less expensive for men to shave regularly.
Today there is a resurgence of men growing full and intricate moustaches and beards. With the second annual National Championships of Beard Team USA set for this weekend in Lancaster, Pennsylvania I thought it appropriate to comb [OH! -ed] our digital collection for a few fine examples of beards and moustaches from the past. Please click over to the State Library's newest Flickr set, "A Celebration of Facial Hair Trends in the Legislature" to see some amazing styles and learn a bit about the men who wore them so elegantly."
- Lacy Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian
Photo and text reproduced with consent from the excellent State Library of Massachusetts blog.