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Letter to Grace BedellAs you read this letter, it's easy to imagine a smile on Abraham Lincoln's face as he wrote it. It's a reply to an 11-year-old Westfield, New York girl who wrote to suggest that he grow a a beard to improve his Presidential prospects. Lincoln didn't make any promises, but he wore a full beard as President-elect when he stopped in Westfield on February 16, 1861, and met his young correspondent.
October 19, 1860
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
Grace Bedell's Letter to LincolnN Y
Westfield Chatauque Co
Oct 15. 1860
Hon A B Lincoln
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
Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler et al.
Lincoln Meets Grace Bedell
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