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  • Writer's pictureTheFormidableGenealogist


This month is the observance of Mo-vember and No-Shave November. These movements, which encourage the growth of facial hair to promote awareness of men's health, began in the early 2000s.

Long before either of those, however, there were Centennial Beards. A popular activity coinciding with many town anniversary celebrations has long been that the men grow beards. These events are strictly a fun homage to the "olden days" of the town's birth, but the activity itself and culminating contest surely promoted pride in one's community and a shared history in it.

Because of the centennial of my hometown of Manson in 1972, I can date photos from that year with ease: the usually clean-shaven men are wearing beards. Photographic evidence suggests that the closer the celebration got, the more unkept and unflattering the beards became. Perhaps such an explanation can help you date photos from your own family albums.

Beyond centennials, there are quasqicentennials (125 years), sesquicentennials (150 years), and more. In the year 2047, my hometown will celebrate its its 175th birthday. Gentlemen, mark it on your calendar so you know when to get those Dequasbicentennial Beards started.

For more information on the initiatives above:

Mo-vember advocates for men's mental and physical health :

No-Shave November promotes awareness of male cancers:

1972 Centennial Memorabilia

My grandparents in their centennial garb. The calico dresses and bonnets my mother sewed for the occasion fueled my "Little House on the Prairie" obsession for many years.


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