If Beards Were All, Goats Could Preach
"Wisdom," a Swedish proverb holds, "is in the head, and not in the beard." You can find proverbs with similar sentiments in many different cultures, from variations on "A beard does not a philosopher make" (German, English, Italian, Indian, Romanian, Ukranian, and Bambara) to iterations of "If the beard were all, goats could preach" (Danish and African), and while we often imagine the sage on the mountain top with his long white beard, it is very clear that his wisdom does not flow from it. That said, images from throughout history show us that various forms of facial hair have been the favored fashion of many men, regardless of status or occupation.
Here at the Congregational Library we have put together a digital photo album from our image collection of devoted and influential Congregationalists who sported comment-worthy facial hair. We recognize, however, that it is not their tonsorial styling which made them great, but their dedication to education, scholarship, worship, and the Congregational Way.
Each one of the men showcased in this exhibit have contributed in some way, big or small, to the history of Congregationalism, and we encourage you to view this gallery and learn about their stories. We also invite you to then vote for your favorite, and we will announce the results on this blog at a later date.