Strong is Their Sexy: These Babes Really Dig Beards

Strong is Her Sexy highlights the achievements of inspiring women doing inspiring work
and demonstrating their inner strength and beauty.

In past editions of Strong is Her Sexy, we’ve featured celebrities like Laverne Cox and Mindy Kaling. But you don’t need to be a star to star on our blog! 

Anna and Julia Hider authors of Badass Civil War BeardsWhat started out as a whimsical observation on historical facial hair became something much bigger for Anna and Julia Hider, two-thirds of a set of triplets (the third being a brother) hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio.

The inspiration came from a TV documentary about the Civil War, in which the sisters noticed something in common between the Union and the Confederacy: a penchant for wonderfully wacky beards.

So Anna and Julia set about collecting examples of truly epic 1800s facial hair, from well-known military men and anonymous commoners alike, and launched a blog called Badass Civil War Beards.

roswell sabine ripley

Like this one, gracing the face of Roswell Sabine Ripley. (Nice name, too.)

While attending college in separate states, they collaborated to maintain the blog, and the accompanying social media pages, between their classes as a fun outlet for their love of history.

Equal parts bizarre, informative, and hilarious, their Tumblr includes images of the beardliest beards you’ve ever seen (outside of Portland, anyway) and tidbits of wisdom and wit to accompany each one. Before long, the internet noticed, and they were featured on Buzzfeed and made the shortlist for Chronicle Books’ Great Tumblr Book Search.

The next step was clear: Write a book. In their last semester, that’s exactly what they did. The finished product hit bookstore shelves in November 2014.

badass civil war beards book cover

Included in the book are the notable beards of Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, and of course, the book’s cover model Ambrose Burnside, Father of Sideburns.

ambrose burnside

Glorious.

Bow Down to These Beards

What better time to highlight the roots of facial hair fashion? Beards themselves have had a comeback in the early 2000s, to the delight of some and the chagrin of others. Hey, some people like cuddling up to a fuzzy face, some don’t. And some are just hipsters. Or maybe steampunks.

Now, be honest: Had we not told you about Anna and Julia, and just said there was a book about crazy Civil War beards, would you have expected it to be written by two women? We gotta love this duo for defying expectations and pursuing what personally interested them.

Because in case anyone needs reminding: Yes, women can be total nerds for history. Even war history, with all its politics, violence, and thoroughly male militia.

And yes, women are interested in men’s fashion as well as their own. These gracefully groomed gentlemen no doubt had their share of female admirers back in the day, too.

So we salute Anna and Julia for finding the humor in history and for working together, despite distance and distractions, to craft their vision and see it through to reality. What could be sexier than that?

(And P.S. Is it just us, or do you kind of wish you could grow a beard now, too? Just think of the possibilities!)

If you’d like your own copy of Badass Civil War Beards, it’s available in hardcover for $12.95 from John F. Blair, Publisher, or as an eBook. Use the ISBN number 978-0-89587-637-9 to find it at your favorite bookseller. It’d make a great gift for the bearded or beard enthusiast in your life!

Know someone you’d like to nominate to be profiled for Strong is Her Sexy? Give us a shout at writers@strongisoursexy.com. 

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