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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A secret society was formed in Spokane with a subversive agenda: “To Make Faces Fertile.”

Or to put it another way, to encourage all sorts of whiskers on young men.

The Spokesman-Review story was written in a humorous, tongue-in-cheek way, saying that the names of the people in the Beard Brigade could not be divulged, because of “vindictiveness shown by the barbers’ union.” The story added that people in Spokane would be “greatly astonished” if they knew the names of some of the young men taking part in the beard movement.

“It is our aim to make fertile the desert places of the human countenance,” an anonymous ringleader said. “The average young man smokes too many cigarettes. If he were to cultivate a silky beard, he could not afford to smoke cigarettes on account of the high insurance premiums covering brush fire insurance.”

The ringleader said they planned on encouraging facial hair by awarding prizes to worthy beard-growers.

“For the best Virginia creepers on the chin, combined with the best Kentucky droopers on the upper lip” they planned to award “a framed portrait of Walt Whitman.”

He added that lawn mowers and electric fans would be banned from their clubhouse, “for fear of accidents.”

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