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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Close Shave for the President


Dateline: Jan. 31, 1922. No, not this week's election. On this date barber Herman Gaertner shared his recollections of shaving the great, the near-great, and the to-be-great. Coming to Madison at age 17 shortly after the Civil War, he sharpened his razors and scissors at the Park Hotel on the Capitol Square for several decades. At a time when most homes had no running water, he bathed 60 or 70 UW students on a typical Saturday, including young Bob LaFollette before he began his fighting career. He also tended the coiffures of presidents Garfield and McKinley, among others, and his reminiscence sheds light on Madison life from a unique perspective - - the barber's chair.
:: Posted in Odd Lives on November 1, 2004
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