Mustaches of Note - John White Alexander

By Jennifer Snyder
October 20, 2010
Photograph of John White Alexander

In the latest from the series Mustaches of Note, archivist Jennifer Snyder studies the facial hair of John White Alexander.

John White Alexander
John White Alexander, 1882 or 1883. Napoleon Sarony, photographer. John White Alexander papers, 1870-1942, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

This portrait of John White Alexander haunts my dreams. I think it must be his eyes. Or perhaps it is his mustache.

Alexander was best known for his portraiture work; these paintings can be found in museums all over the United States. I particularly like Portrait of Mrs. John White Alexander, 1902.

From 1905 until his death in 1915, he painted an amazing 69-piece mural, The Crowning of Labor, around the grand staircase at the Carnegie Museums. Read more about the mural here (link opens in new window).

Jennifer Snyder works with oral history interviews at the Archives American Art. When not sending interviews out for digitization, she is writing about extraordinary examples of facial hair for this blog.


amazing people

thanks for your interesting article. An English proverb says: "A man without a mustache is like a cup of tea without sugar". I like J. W. Alexanders work, my favorite is "Sunlight".

Man what a mustache! I don't see too many people today who can wear a mustache like this one. You're right it will probably hunt my dreams as well.