The historians tweeted back, noting that the last bearded speaker was Frederick Gillett, who left the House speakership in 1925, when he was elected to the Senate.
But the gentleman from Wisconsin might be putting the cart before the horse. The “beard” Ryan is displaying in the photo could more accurately be called a scruff: Judging from photographic evidence, it can’t be more than ten days or so old. No mater how you define “beard,” Ryan’s burgeoning facial hair is well short of the lush fringe populating the chin of old Gillett. We’ll give it a few weeks.
In the meantime, though, the social-media exchange offered an enlightening history lesson on the facial hair of past speakers.