Full-bearded man in Aurora, Illinois
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What it is:
Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6.5 inches.
What I know about it:
Photographer is Taylor of Aurora, Illinois. Otherwise undated and unidentified.
I recently read a murder mystery in which one of the suspects disguised himself by simply shaving off the full beard and mustache everybody in the village had always seen him wearing, so that even when the authorities caught up with him, they didn’t immediately recognize him. (It turned out he was innocent anyway. He just had some other reason to be on the run.) Soon after finishing that book, I pulled this picture out and considered it. In the story, it was speculated that the character always wore a beard to mask an unattractive mouth and weak chin. Naturally, that colored my view of this man. Is he hiding something? Is he following a fashion? (Such beards were more common then, after all.) Is he married to a woman who thinks beards are sexy? It’s probably impossible to know. But the beard is certainly one of his most prominent physical characteristics.