The New York Beard Tax and Other Strange Beard Facts!

I am interested in hairiness in the light of Enkidu and Moses,that is hirsute, maybe even horned, men coming out of the wilderness, coming “in from the cold” – and the difference between hair as wild power (Samson) and cultivated facial hair – all in the light of the notion that lowering levels of testosterone led to increased culture and art as our species became more “feminized”. Of course, our weapons became more sophisticated as well and killed other people more efficiently.

But see also re Beards and Pubes


Dr Alun Withey


It’s ‘Decembeard’ and time to get the beard growing to raise money for research into bowel cancer. It’s a fantastic cause and, in its honour, here are some beardy sidenotes from history to get us inspired…and donating!

1) Peter the Great’s tax on beards in the eighteenth century is well known. Few people probably know that New York apparently nearly had its own version in the early twentieth century.

In 1907 a member of the New Jersey State Legislature introduced a bill for the graded taxation of men with beards. The mystery legislator argued that men who grew beards not only had something to hide but, worse still, grew their beards for ‘ulterior and often base motives’. The preamble to the bill pointed out that such evil ‘celebrities’ as ‘Holmes the Trunk Murderer’ and ‘Palmer the Poisoner’ were amongst prominent whisker-wearers. As far as the legislator was concerned this…

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About anthonyhowelljournal

Poet, essayist, dancer, performance artist....
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