Editor’s note: This summer and fall, Capitol Report is dipping into the Minnesota Historical Society’s political archives and scooping out documents and artifacts exploring the state’s rich record of voting reforms, colorful politicians, contested elections, curious facial hair and more.
Devoted readers of this history column — or, rather, readers of the editor’s note that precedes it — have been patiently waiting for the exposure of a highly visible feature of Minnesota’s political past.
Now, with the nation in turmoil, it’s time to withdraw briefly from our woolly political reality by looking back at our state’s long history of electing legislators with curious facial hair.
Best overall facial hair
Facial hair that best eludes frame of photograph
Most regrettable facial hair
Best facial hair by decade
Sen. Dennis William Chauncey Dunwell, Dakota County, elected 1857
Rep. John Gage, Wabasha County, elected 1869
Rep. George A. Wells, Dakota County, elected 1871
Sen. Calvin Siscoe Powers, Fillmore County, elected 1880
Sen. Frederic Iltis, R-Carver, elected 1894
Rep. John T. Johnson, Otter Tail County, elected 1906
Rep. Albert B. Peterson, R-Mahnomen, elected 1912
Rep. O.K. Dahle, Fillmore County, elected 1922
Rep. John Prestegard, Yellow Medicine County, elected 1934
Rep. Bernard Francis Ederer, Stevens County, elected 1942
Rep. Peter Stephen Popovich, Ramsey County, elected 1952
Rep. Glenn A. Blomquist, Kanabec County, elected 1962
Rep. David R. Cummiskey, DFL-Blue Earth, elected 1972
Rep. Tom J. Shea, DFL-Dodge, elected 1980
Sen. Mark Ourada, R-Hennepin, elected 1994
Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Blue Earth, elected 2002
Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Hennepin, elected 2010
All images are courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society and the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.