Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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October 15th
“All the ladies like whiskers”
On October 15, 1860, young Grace Bedell of Westfield, New York, wrote the Republican nominee for president, a clean-shaven man, with some advice:

Dear Sir,

My father has just [come] home from the fair and brought home your picture. . . . 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. . . . I must not write any more answer this letter right off Good bye. Grace Bedell

On October 19, the nominee wrote back:

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
Despite his answer, Lincoln began growing a beard. The next year, on his way to the White House, he stopped in Westfield, gave Grace a kiss, and thanked her for her advice.

American History Parade
1860
Grace Bedell writes Abraham Lincoln, urging him to grow a beard.

1878
Thomas Edison incorporates the Edison Electric Light Company, the first electric company, to finance his work on the incandescent lamp.

1951
I Love Lucy, starring Lucille Ball, premieres on TV.

1976
In Houston, Democrat Walter F. Mondale and Republican Bob Dole square off in the first televised debate between vice-presidential nominees.

1989
Wayne Gretzky, while playing for the Los Angeles Kings, breaks a National Hockey League record when he scores his 1,851st career point.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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