Fashion and Style Icons Behind Presidential Inauguration

Lincoln's portrait on the American five dollar...
Image via Wikipedia

The Inauguration will be notable for many reasons.

Fashion and style will certainly be heavily scrutinized.

Obama’s fondness for all things related to Abraham Lincoln will be incorporated into the ceremony, including the Bible upon which he’ll take the oath of the presidency.

Obama and Lincoln also share a common trait: knowing that words of wisdom can and do oftentimes come from little girls.

In 1860, a young girl in upstate New York, Miss Grace Bedell was passionate about then presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.

Her father, one of Lincoln’s supporters, had explained to Grace that Lincoln would end slavery. Grace felt strongly that it was not right for one person to own another, and fervently hoped that Mr. Lincoln would win the campaign.

So when Grace’s father brought her a present of one of Mr. Lincoln’s campaign posters, she was tremendously excited. But having seen the picture of Lincoln who at that time sported a beardless visage, Grace felt that the candidate looked very scrawny indeed!

And she told Mr. Lincoln so in a letter in which she advised him that if he were to add whiskers which were very much in fashion, the wives, who were not allowed to vote at that time, would like the way he looked with the beard and tell their husbands to vote for Mr. Lincoln!

Grace Bedell’s Letter to Lincoln

Westfield Chatauque Co
Oct 15. 1860
Hon A B Lincoln
Dear Sir

My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin’s. I am a little girl only eleven years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have got 4 brother’s and part of them will vote for you any way and if you will 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 husband’s to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is a going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try and get every one to vote for you that I can   I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty   I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter dir[e]ct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chatauque County New York

I must not write any more   answer this letter right off
Good bye
Grace Bedell

Just 4 days later little Grace received a reply from Lincoln in which he commented that if he were to grow whiskers at this point in the campaign, wouldn’t the public perceive it to be a silly affectation?

October 19, 1860
Springfield, Illinois

Miss. Grace Bedell
My dear little Miss.

Your very agreeable letter of the 15th. is received.

I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughters. I have three sons — one seventeen, one nine, and one seven, years of age. They, with their mother, constitute my whole family.

As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affection if I were to begin it now? Your very sincere well-wisher

A. Lincoln

*source Abraham Lincoln Online

However, when Lincoln won the election a month later, he had grown the full beard for which he is famous.

lincoln-and-grace2On the way to the Inaugural, President Lincoln‘s train pulled into the Westfield, New York station and when he addressed the crowds, he told them about Grace Bedell and her letter and asked if she were in the audience.

When she stepped forward, Mr. Lincoln thanked her for her advice on his appearance and its impact on his successful campaign.


So when Barack Obama takes to the stage in Washington, D.C. and places his hand on the same Bible used to swear in Abraham Lincoln, just know that his young daughters Sasha and Malia will most certainly have advised him on his attire!

For young ladies do know their fashion. . .

Inauguration Style Wars - Major Fashion Designers Vie to Dress Barack Obama (GALLERY)


Barack Obama’s Letter to his Daughters

*Fashion Design Source:



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3 Responses

  1. Hey – whats up. Thanks for the blog. I’ve been digging around looking some info up for shool, but i think i’m getting lost!. Google lead me here – good for you i suppose! Keep up the good work. I will be coming back in a few days to see if there is any more info.

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