Grace Bedell Grows Up

On October 15, 1860—less than a month before Abraham Lincoln’s election as president—11-year-old Grace Bedell wrote directly to him recommending he “let your whiskers grow” to get more votes because “your face is so thin” and “all the ladies like whiskers.” Lincoln, of course, did grow a beard and even showed it to Bedell along his inaugural trip to Washington.

Shortly after the Civil War, Bedell married George Billings and the couple moved to a Kansas farm. She visited Springfield at least once to see the Lincoln Tomb and Home before passing away in 1936. These are all objects Grace collected over her long life, including a photo portrait, her personal Bible, and a hand-made copper ring. The importance of her family is evident in the photograph of Grace with her grandchildren and the bracelet inscribed with names of close kin.

AV-Lph3002 – Grace with grandchildren
AV-Lph3001 – Bedell photo portrait
AC-LRBedell.01 – Bible
AC-LRBedell.02 – Bracelet
AC-LRBedell.03 – ring

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