From the Archives & Special Collections: Best Beard in Show

It is “No-Shave November,” an annual event which raises awareness and money to fight cancer. Here in the Archives & Special Collections we thought it would be an appropriate time to touch on a fun Puget Sound tradition from days past that involved shaving (or rather, not shaving!) and beards.

In the 1940s and 50s, male students would participate in a beard growing contest, hoping for a chance to be crowned Homecoming King. The November 3, 1953 issue of The Trail reads, “Strangers to the CPS [College of Puget Sound] campus would immediately notice that about half of the school’s male population are growing shrubbery on their chins. The person sporting the longest and bushiest beard will capture the Homecoming King crown for his great efforts.” The beards were judged by the sorority presidents and the women running for Homecoming Queen. Prizes were also awarded for the reddest beard, the best trimmed beard, the longest beard, and the scraggliest beard.

The Soc Hop, 1954. The Soc Hop was a
Homecoming event at which the beards of aspiring
Homecoming Kings were judged.

Many Puget Sound men entered this competition; the only rule was that the student had to be clean shaven when they registered. The competition lasted for most of October and at the end of the month the winners for all of the categories were announced and the winner of “Best Beard in Show” became Homecoming King.

The Archives & Special Collections has drop-in hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM or is open by appointment.

By Rowan Coates

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