Monday, March 7, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Melvin Newmark's Mustache and Sideburns

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

This week I look at a newspaper article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which not only mentions my grandfather, Melvin L. Newmark, but provides a photograph, as well.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, November 6, 1969, p. 71

Top Photo Caption: Lawyer Melvin L. Newmark has received lots of attention from young women since he grew his flowing silver mustache and long sideburns. At left he chats with three women in an elevator. They are (from left): Mrs. Ronald Oestreich, Mrs. Robert Miller and Miss Karen Scherr. At left is the elevator operator, Van Dyke Johnson.

Hair Apparent In New Establishment Styles
By Connie Rosenbaum
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Hair is here and not just among hippies. The most Establishment men are sprouting long sideburns, mustaches and beards to join the current young swing to the sensual and tactile.

Throughout the city, middle-aged men are challenging their sons’ claims to be far out and freaky. As a result, fuzzy growths are turning up in the most unexpected places. They are still above the upper lip,  beside the ears or over the chin but they are now decorating faces in doctors’ and dentists’ offices, in lawyers’ chambers, behind executive desks and in funeral parlors.

Inspired by such varied figures as Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Luther Burbank, the Smith Brothers and Abraham Lincoln, older modern men are imitating famous faces.

Motivated by fashion and fun rather than rebellion, many fathers reported that their new look has given them a different outlook on life. Melvin L. Newmark, an over-50 lawyer, said that increased attention from young women has more than offset the ribbings from contemporaries.

Newmark reports that suddenly, after he grew his flowing silver mustache and long bushy sideburns, young women started flocking around him. In elevators, on the street, in gasoline stations, in stores and in restaurants his appearance attracts attention from the younger set.

“I was never really noticed before in my life,” he said, a big smile clearly visible below his mustache. “Now all of a sudden, I am.”

His wife doesn’t mind.

“Life is much more fun now,” she said. “Melvin loves to shop for colored shirts and we both like to dress young. People tease him sometimes, but I think they’re just jealous.”


1) I was born in 1969 and never knew my grandfather before he grew his mustache and sideburns. He kept them after the fashion subsided. It was fun reading about his decision to grow them.

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