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President Abraham Lincoln: Physical Description

About the physical description of President of the United States Abraham Lincoln, his height, weight, facial hair and beard and mole.

16th President ABRAHAM LINCOLN

His Person: "If any personal description of me is thought desirable," wrote Lincoln in 1860, "it may be said I am, in height, 6'4", nearly; lean in flesh, weighing on an average 180 lbs.; dark complexion, with coarse black hair and gray eyes." It might be added that his nose was prominent and slightly askew, his heavy eyebrows overhung deep eye-caverns in which his eyes--sometimes dreamy, sometimes penetrating--were set. His cheekbones were high, his mouth wide, his lips thick. On the right cheek a solitary mole stood out. His skin was wrinkled and dry, giving him a leathery, weather-beaten look. He had projecting--some said flapping--ears. His remarkable face never failed to make a powerful impression. As a London Times correspondent observed: "It would not be possible for the most indifferent observer to pass him in the street without notice." According to contemporaries, photographs were totally incapable of capturing the animation and power in his face. Because of the primitive techniques of the time, Lincoln was forced to pose rigidly before the camera, which gave him an awkward, ungainly appearance. Physically, Lincoln remained until the end of his life a remarkably strong man--even at 50, he was powerful enough to lift a long-handled axe with one hand and hold it straight out in front of him at the level of his shoulders. A young man who was hired to give Lincoln a bath and rubdown before his debate with Douglas in Galesburg, Ill., described the 49-year-old senatorial candidate as "the most powerful man I ever saw." Clean-shaven until his 51st year, Lincoln began to grow a beard shortly after his election to the Presidency at the suggestion of an 11-year-old girl who told him that with whiskers he would "look a great deal better for your face is so thin." Lincoln never used alcohol or tobacco, and though fond of telling lengthy anecdotes featuring barnyard humor, he always avoided profanity; during Lincoln's Presidency the strongest expletive used in the White House was "By Jingo!" Despite movie and TV portrayals that offer us a Lincoln with a resonant bass voice, the actual historical Lincoln spoke in a piercing, high-pitched tenor; his shrill voice carried for many hundred yards and was considered perfect for the open-air stump-speaking of the day.

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