#ThrowbackThursday: Historical beards of Union


During the winter months, one may notice the increase in facial hair that can be seen on campus. Personally, I think that a good beard may be one of the coolest things a man can have.

The excellence in facial hair transcends time, and Union can boast about some famous graduates with some pretty sweet beards. Below, I have attempted to rank the 10 best beards from notable Union alumni.

10. William G. Donnan, Class of 1856.

This Civil War major who later became an Iowa Senator claims the 10th spot on the list due to the uniqueness of the beard and how well trimmed he kept it.

9. John T. Hoffman, Class of 1846 

The 23rd Governor of New York, whose reputation was damaged with his connection with the ”Tweed Ring,” knew how to grow a mustache. While his character may have been questionable, his style was perfect.

8. Joseph Mullin, Class of 1833.

This Irish-born judge and Whig congressman had one of the most neat and engulfing beards I have ever seen.

7. Robert J. Breckenridge, Class of 1819.

The man in the No. 7 slot was originally a Pricentonion, but following a suspension for fighting, he found himself at Union. He would later go on to become a minister and give John Brown a run for his money for the best “Old Testament” look.

6. Leonard Jerome, Class of 1839.

Being able to pull of the cowboy look is very impressive. Being the grandfather to Winston Churchill? Even more impressive.

5. Edward H. Ripley, Class of 1862.

This brother of Psi Upsilon fraternity was a general for the Union Army during the Civil War. With great facial hair comes great responsibility.

4. Wallace T. Foote Jr., Class of 1885.

This NewYork Senator and civil engineering major may have been one of the best-dressed men during his day — but the terrific mustache is a major bonus.

3. John Van Rensselaer Hoff, Class of 1871.

This colonel in the Medical Corps during the early 20th century not only knew how to aid the sick, but how to keep a nice-looking upper lip.

2. Amasa J. Parker, Jr., Class of 1863.

This trustee of the college and major in the Union Army during the Civil War not only showed great leadership quality, but also excellence grooming habits when it came to his mustache. I mean, just look at that volume!

1. Chester A. Arthur, Class of 1848.

Drum roll please … coming in hot at No. 1 is our one and only Chester A. Arthur. While his chops may not be the best, they are the most iconic on campus. It’s hard to miss them here when they are always looking down on the students from the front of Jackson’s Garden.

Honorable Mentions:

Levi Cooper Lane, Class of 1851; Charles C. Nott, Class of 1848; Sidney Breese, Class of 1818; John F. Schermerhorn, Class of 1809; Jeffery DeMunn, Class of 1969; and Daniel N. Lockwood, Class of 1865.


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