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Face t o Face: English Uses and Understanding of the Beard in Early Virginian Contacts by Jacqueline Colleen Barber A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts Department of History College o f Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Philip Levy, Ph.D. Giovanna Benadusi, Ph.D. Barbara Berglund, Ph.D. Date of Approval: July 15 2008 Keywo rds: Race, Physical Difference, Native Americans, Facial H air Early Encounter s C opyright 2008, Jacqueline Barbe r
i Table of Contents List of Figures ii Abstract iii Chapter 1: Introduction 1 1 Chapter 2: The Beard in Early Virginia 24 25 Chapter 3: Conclusion 47 References 5 2 Bibliography 56 Appendi ces 5 9 Appendix A Figures 60
ii List of Figures Figure 1. 60 Figure 2. 6 1 Figure 3. 6 2 Figure 4. 6 3 Figure 5 6 4 Figure 6 The Explorers and Settlers 6 5
iii Face t o Face: English Uses and Understanding of the Beard in Early Virginian Contacts Jac queline Barber ABSTRACT Many historians agree that categories of human division underwent a drastic change due to European New World encounters. The shift from religious divisions to ones based on ethnicity and skin color gradually developed in early m odern Europe. differences between these cultures were utilized in a variety of means to prove similarity and difference. One element signifying difference during the earl y contact period was that of the beard Hair as a n identifier has a long history: through the middle ages wildness was conveyed by h air and at times non Christians were legally required to grow beards. Early in the sixteenth century the beard became a pop ular fad for white, Christian European men a change which some scholars have traced to European contact with beardless Amerindians. Within Europe the beard came to represent mo re than otherness. A thick beard conveyed images of health, particularly sexua l health; the beard came to represent virility and the beard helped to separate men from women and boys.
iv In this paper I argue that the beard assumed a special significance within early English c ontacts in the Carolinas and Virginia. I examine the changin g meanings of the beard and the English adoption of these meanings. I first examine the European background which helped provide the context for their first permanent colonial settlements in the New World I next delve into travel accounts, ethnographies a nd artistic portrayals of the N atives i n these colonies to ex amine how and when both sides evoked facial hair as a signifier of difference. This examination will help reveal English views of N ative s during a time when their view racter c ould affect the success of English colonial ventures. Finally, I examine why the beard failed as a sign of difference between the Amerindian s and the English. This failure led to the adoption of other means of distinction specifically that of skin color. Hence the beard served as a first stepping stone towards what would become a fully conceptualized racial theory.
1 Chapter One Introduction a drastic turn. Ac cording to Edward Waterhouse, it was on this morning in March that event as a majo r turn in intra the three hundred forty seven lives lost on this morning. Those who had too much faith in the humanity of the Indians, such as George Thorpe, were not spared from cruel centuries be recounted as the Massacre of 1622 marked a deep change in Indian English relations. 1 1 Edward Waterhouse and Virginia Company of London, A Declaration of the State of the Colony a nd Affaires in Virginia With a Relation of the Barbarous Massacre in the Time of Peace and League, Treacherously Executed by the Natiue Infidels Vpon the English, the 22 of March Last. Together with the Names of Those That Were Then Massacred; That Their L awfull Heyres, by This Notice Giuen, May Take Order for the Inheriting of Their Lands and Estates in Virginia. And a Treatise Annexed, Written by That Learned Mathematician Mr. Henry Briggs, of the Northwest Passage to the South Sea Through the Continent o f Virginia, and by Fretum Hudson. Also a Commemoration of Such Worthy Benefactors as Haue Contributed Their
2 nature of English Indian r elations in Virginia post 1622. Alt hough earlier English Native relations were not without problems or strains, any doubts E ngl ish settlers had over the character of Natives. According to Bernard Sheehan the massacre allowed the English to proceed with the systematic conquest and dispersal of the Powhatan people. 2 Gone were both the noble qualities previously assessed to Nativ es as well as any recognition of Indians rights to land and freedom. 3 Along with the approximately three hundred fifty English settlers killed, so too were the hopes for an integrated society. The English settlers quickly dismissed the Indian s c ulture and 4 Yet the inhumane descriptions that increased after this turning point were not only due to the negative qualities ascribed to Natives but also because of the po sitive qualities that were taken away. The previous ambivalence in English attitudes towards the Natives can be seen throughout their early contact literature and art Alt hough many eloquently Christian Charitie Towards the Aduancement of the Colony. And a Note of the Charges of Necessary Prouisions Fit for Euery Man That Intends to Goe to Virginia. Published by Authoritie (Imprinted at London: By G. Eld, for Robert Mylbourne, and are to be sold at his shop, at the great south doore of Pauls, 1622), 551 553 2 Bernard W Sheehan, Sava gism and Civility: Indians and Englishmen in Colonial Virginia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980) 7. 3 the Virginia The William and Mary Quarterly 35, no. 1, Third Series (January 1978): 78 4 Edward J Dudley, The Wild Man Within; an Image in Western Thought from the Renaissance to Romanticism (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1972), 71
3 depended upon visual signposts of similarity and difference. One such road marker was that of the beard. The beard I argue, served as a proto racialist symbol in early Virginia. Its use in the description s of the Natives coin cided with ambivalent English attitudes towards the original inhabitants of thei r new settlements. The M assacre of 1622 not only changed the Virginian s into one s of condemnation but also lead to the replacement of the beard in favor of o ther signs ity to minimize the risk Natives presented to English settlement an d its demonstrability of physical similarity between Amerindians and Englishmen were discard ed along with English hopes that Natives could be converted to Christ ianity and hence become civilized in English eyes As a result Virginia represented a microcosm of what would become a larger colonial issue of how to understand and handle Amerindians The situation i n Virginia progressed at a fast er pace than other part s of the English colonies and as such is useful to study in isolation. Additionally, Virginia represents a unique situation regarding the establishm ent of race relations to come; p rimarily with the utilization of African labor and the establishment of diff erences based solely on skin color. The utilization of the beard was a first step I argue for English settlers on the path to separating races by skin color; yet was not as fully conceptualized as racial theories which would later emerge. The historiograp hy on race in the early modern period has undergone a drastic transformation in recent years. Joyce Chaplin nicely summed up the general position that racial ideas were dependent on the which was not formulated until the eigh teenth and nineteenth centuries However,
4 Chaplin concluded that cultural differences did matter to the early English colonists 5 hair preferences was one such differenc e which I believe was embedded with multiple messages. Beards and facial hair in general, experienced a radic al shift in meaning within early m odern Europe. The English capitalized upon this shift in their contact narratives. By using the messages that bea rds conveyed, the English were able to begin constructing an understanding of who the Natives were and disseminate these messages for purposes that best served their needs at the time. However the signifier of the beard quickly disappeared from contact na rratives, at the same time that the messages concerning Natives also switched. Hence beards proved to be a sign that was malleable towards the benefit of the early colonies, but had to be abandoned as views of the Amerindians within the areas of settlement changed. As the beard fell out of favor with English settlers other racial dialogues rose to replace this early sign. The enigma of race, and how our society has landed upon a system that ranks people according to skin color, is an issue of much debate fo r historians. Instead of exploring the issue of race based on skin color, I seek to extend that debate into the further past, to explore other avenues of human difference and how the English settlers utilized these other physical traits to establish dispar ity and ultimately why they dismissed these traits in favor of skin color. During the time of the first permanent English settlements in the New World m 5 Joyce E Chaplin, Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo American Frontier, 1500 1676 (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2001), 8
5 establish the racial system that we h ave come to know. By p roblematizing contacts by using the changing meaning of the beard within Early Modern Europe and the early descriptions of the Amerindian inhabitants of the Carolinas and Virginia I intend to push back the enigma of race within early English settlements. 6 Hence by isolating the use of the beard as a signifier of difference the development of race relations within Virginia, and how those relations influenced the colonies and later America, may be better understood. The use and disuse of the beard as a signi those attitudes shifted. The beard was one early attempt at demonstrating the racial inadequ ate. The beard, whether real, fake or non existent, was a sign which historians have yet to devote much attention to in early contact accounts Unlike skin color or clothing, there has been only minor debate over the significance of this sign. Yet, when these early contacts are read against the European and Amerindian understandings of the beard the s e 6 The changing meaning of the beard within early modern Europe was argued for primarily in two articles. See Wil Renaissance Quarterly 54, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 155 187 and New World and the Cha Sixteenth Century Journal 28, no. 4 (Winter 1997): 1181 1201 Within England the role of the beard within early modern theater displayed that many of the messages discussed by Fischer and Horowitz had been absorbed and were being ut ilized by theater troops as means of conveying certain messages. See Will Fisher, Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture Cambridge studies in Renaissan ce literature and culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 94 95
6 encounters unleash a torrent of meanings. Before skin color acted as the emblem of difference, other signs served to aid in the construction of the other in early English Indian contacts. For the English, a variety of concerns affected how they viewed colonized people. This mix ture of concerns dominated their encounters and shaped their portrayal of the Amerindian living near their settlements in Virginia a nd the Carolinas. Hence, the beard was regarded on many levels in reaction to many of their concerns. The beard portrayed a wide variety of issues. The beard represented a powerful sign of physical diversity between Native and English. Yet it was simultane ously used to establish continuity both in the form of a historic memory and to establish a se nse of familiarity. Alt hough this continuity and diversity appear to be conflicting ideals they appeared simultaneously in the literature concerning Natives of th e Carolinas and Virginia depending upon the goal of writer. In this way the English complicated the beard as a sign that indicated the safety of the new colonies including that it contained a healthy environment, sexual safety and a lack of violence from the Native population. Ultimately after 1622 the messages of the beard proved too malleable no longer was a message of continuity desired but only one of difference. T he messages the beard conveyed within these cultures shaped how each side viewed the ot her in the earliest years Due to the wide ranging messages which a beard conveyed English writers could easily adapt it to fit their purposes. Prior to skin color being the emblem of difference, other signs played a large role in shaping conceptions and d istinguishers between English and Amerindians. The beard was one such sign which played a large role in these early contacts.
7 The study of the significance of the beard probl e matizes contacts between Natives and English; the initial view of the N atives become s richer than a simple dialogue of otherness. I contend that during initial contacts, the English were concerned with figuring out just how different the Amerindians inhabiting these regions were, in order to best understand how to interact wi th their cultures. By manipulating the messages that the beard conveyed the English were also able to change the views of their fellow men in ways which would benefit their own self interests. Ultimately, the sign of the beard proved t o be faulty and was a bandoned. Alt hough short lived, this sign had an influential role in shaping how each side involved in early English Virginian settlements viewed each other. I argue that though it would take nearly a century before the racial ideol ogy based on skin color emerged the beard was a stepping stone to this ideology. Hence by studying the few times beards were specifically invoked in the contact narratives I intend to dissect not only how the English latched onto the European understanding of the beard, but also how they used that understanding for their own purposes in literature intended for audiences and potential settlers and investors back in the homeland. T he use of skin color as the primary signifier of difference was a phenomenon of the eighteenth century that became commonplace in the nineteenth. As Nancy Shoemaker noted in her book A Strange Likeness both the English and Indians often century. By mid century however su ch observations were becoming more
8 commonplace. 7 Many attributed the first division of human life into categories which emphasized skin color to Carolus Linnaeus and his work, Systema Naturae first published in 1735. In this work Linnaeus divided all hum an life into categories based on appearance, habits, relations to each other and uses. His description of homo sapiens Americanus included the phrase red which many historians including Robert Berkhofer and Nancy Shoemaker have latched onto as a pivotal moment in racial divisions. 8 Race, Shoemaker argued, was a useful system of categorizing people because 9 The emphasis on race being determi ned by skin color and hence not established until the mid eighteenth century as a true category of difference leaves a gaping hole in early relations. Many have side d with Alden Vaugh an theory that only when a true racial inequality became fixed, and Eng lishmen established Indians as inherently inferior unequal. The e stablishment of this biological and visual difference, proved that Indians 7 Nancy Shoemaker, A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth Century North America (Ne w York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 129 8 For more on this division and its development see Robert F Berkhofer, The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columb us to the Present 1st ed. (New York: Knopf, 1978), 40 ; The American Historical Review 102, no. 3 (June 1997): 626 ; and Shoemaker, A Strange Likeness ; Philosophy and an Early Racial Idiom in North America: Comparing English and Indian B The William and Mary Quarterly 54, no. 1, 3 (January 1997): 229 252 9
9 were inferior by nature and not due to education or environment. 10 Some, such as Joyce Chaplin, have begun p ushing this common assumption and argue d that natives were understood as an other, even earlier but not through a system based solely on skin color. By examining natural philo sophy and medical theory, Chaplin argued that racial thought in North America has a long past. Chaplin recognized that the earliest manifestatio ns were not as coherent as the later descriptions in the ir nineteenth century counterparts. 11 Chaplin succinctly argued t hat corporeal nature was a powerful means of representation of human differences even in the early days of English coloniz ation Yet she only pushed bac k her dialogue to the time when Engl ish colonial ventures were well established. Chaplin was qui ck to note that this was not a coherent ideology, but rather a racial idiom. Theories which explained generational transmission of bodily variants had yet to be fully established. Nature in the new world, according to Chaplin, provided the English with a m aterial substructure for their power. 12 Alt hough in many ways this paper builds upon those works by both Vaugh a n and Chaplin, it seeks to push into even earlier times of contact. According to Karen Kupperman, it was during this time of initial settlement an d contact that English writers who spent time in the Americas showed signs that they believed Natives came from the same stock as Englishmen and that all 10 American The American Historical Review 87, no. 4 (October 1982): 919 11 12 Chaplin, Subject Matter 160
10 differences between the two were accidental. 13 How the change between the two understandings of racial difference, between the similarity which Kupperman viewed and the differences which Chaplin argued for, occurred in a small time period is part of the focus of this paper. This change is further exemplified by small signs such as the beard. Hence the study of the beard also helps exemplify changing English Virginian attitudes towards Natives based on events specific to that colony. Before they embarked on their own colonial settlements, the English e xplorers knew of French and Spanish accounts of the New Wo rld as well as works such as Travels which allowed them to pre formulate ideas about what they might find in their settlements Due to the wide variety of accounts the idea of an alien other was not unknown. Throughout Europe messages were dis seminated as to the terrain, goods and people that inhabited these new territories. Hence the English who initiated relations with colonized peoples in Virginia had a wide ranging background which pre informed their encounters. According to historian Ellio t Horowitz, the beard became a single image of European identity on both sides of the Atlantic after Spanish contact with hairless Amerindians. 14 Before this period, the beard endowed its wearer with very different messages. Prior to 1492 and the discovery of a new people, the beard within early modern Europe functioned largely as a sign of the non Christian male. Based upon 13 Self The William and Mary Quarterly 54, no. 1, 3 (January 1997): 193 14
11 religious beliefs, the wearing of the beard was often times forced upon peoples as a means of quick visual identification and separatio n unto a lower rung of humanity. The beard and hair in general carr ied substantial messages before the early modern pe riod in Europe Hair has long been used as an identifier and the history of its messages can be traced back as far as the ancient Greeks A primary image excessive hair conveyed was that of the wild man. One of the earliest documented examples of such a man occurred in the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh. Up through the Middle Ages, the image of a man covered from head to toe in hair, just as an animal is covered in fur conveyed the image of a wild man. By this time, the hairy wild man was present throughout Europe, a facet of not only of medieval art but life in general. 15 Hairlessness was one of the qualities which separated men from animals according to Johann Blumenbach, who m many regard as the father of physical anthropology. 16 Hence, to minimize the hair on the body, such as by shaving or plucking out facial hairs, would be to further elevate oneself above the beasts of the land. Due to t he association between hairlessness and higher levels of humanity, forcing groups to wear a beard not only allowed this hair to ser ve as an identifier but also help ed rank humankind. ar culture but was sometimes prescribed into law. For example, i n 1412, Valladolid, Spain enacted 15 Richard Bernheimer, Wild Men in the Middle Ages; a Study in Art, Sentiment, and Demonology (New York: Octagon Books, 1970), 2 3 16 Century Eigh teenth Century Studies 23, no. 4, Special Issue: The Politics of Difference (Summer 1990): 387 405 392.
12 a statute which prohibited Moors and Jews to shave, hence legislatively making beardlessness a sign of Christianity. 17 predominantly present wi thin Spanish society, Muslims and Jews were portrayed as bearded immediately prior to their conquest and resulting expulsion or assimilation which also was formally completed in 1492. To Europeans hairstyles conveyed not only gender but also regional backg round, status and occupation. 18 Upon encountering a people who were typically without facial 19 Horowitz argued that as the American Indian became the radical new other for Europeans facial hair patterns also changed. The beard, or lack thereof, was one means of making an easy distinction between a white European and a Native American who was perhaps no less white. The beard became a popular fad for white, Christian European men early in the sixteenth century. 20 By mid century most leaders of Europe wore beards. 21 In England well over ninety percent of men painted during this period sported beards according to one estimate which utilized portraits of the period. At a m inimum, according to Will Fisher, at least fifteen distinct and recognizable beard styles were worn during this period. 22 Those who initiated contact and settlements within Virginia followed this pattern as well. John Smith, Thomas Hariot, Sir Walter Raleig h, 17 1188 18 Chaplin, Subject Matter 102 3 19 20 Ibd. 1187. 21 Ibd. 1199. 22 Fisher, Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture 94 95
13 Sir Francis Drake, and Sir Richard Greenville were all portrayed as bearded (see Figure 6) With the exception of Drake, all these men had very heavy and full beards according to their portraits. Alt hough a fashion trend at the time, within England and Europe these beard s carried many more messages. Upon their initial contacts they would also represent a physical divider between these men and the hairless natives they encounter ed On both sides of the Atlantic these men provided clear physical distinctio ns of their power through their display of beards. 23 The beard not only transformed into a popular fashion but acquired meanings which promoted its wearer. Not only did a beard display that one was European, but also that one was sexually healthy and virile Medical understandings of the time linked the production of facial hair to the production of semen. 24 Hence, growing a thick and full beard was a visual signal that one produced a large quantity of semen. This sign of sexual health was enhanced as syphili s spread across Europe. 25 In the final stages of the disease, one was often left hairless. Hence, a beard was not only a masculine badge of honor, but also proof that one was free from sexually debilitating diseases. The beard had beco me strongly intertwine d as a sign of masculinity since the Renaissance. 26 Enhancing the message of masculinity which beards conveyed was the fact that l esser beings also failed to produce facial hair. Women, African Americans and 23 For examples pleas e see portraits in figure 6, all obtained from Stefan Lorant, The New World; the First Pictures of America A new, rev. ed. (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1965) 24 4 25 26
14 Amerindians all failed to fully produce beards, w ith some exceptions. For Amerindians the lack of a beard lead to a debate that played out within early travel narratives and ethnographic accounts, over whether this was a sign of their malleability into proper English subjects or their inferiority. 27 Hence beards served not only to separate the men from the boys, but also to divide humankind into hierarchical subdivisions. 28 The subdivisions which early modern physicians and natural philosophers constructed utilizing the beard endured well into the time peri od when skin color dominated. From endowed to Europeans and North Africans of which others were deprived to Charles parate races, authorities repeatedly cited the beard as that which separated levels of men. For some, such as Richard Bradley in 1721, the beard was the sole differentiator between certain groups. Both Europeans and Americans were white he argued, and they only differed from one another through the beard. 29 Repeatedly authorities of the early modern era turned towards this secondary sexual characteristic to explain the racial divisions and hierarchy which best served their interests. 27 For information regarding this debate and how facial hair played into a broader discussion see Berkhofer, The White Man's Indian also provided a succinct summary of the later division of humanity b y Carolus Linnaeus. 28 29 Londa Schieb inger, Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993), 120 126
15 Alt hough Horowitz and Fi sher claimed that the message of the beard spread rapidly throughout Europe, how this affected what the first English settlers in Virginia expected to find is unclear. Theatrical studies conclude that actors utilized the beard as a trope of extreme manline ss. According to lit erary analyst Will Fischer, boy actors needed beards in the early theater to stage masculinity similar to the way dresses and wigs were required to stage femininity. 30 The adoption of the beard to convey this message by theater troops il lustrates that it would be understood by the English viewing audience. Beards are difficult to trace in the early contacts between the English and the area of their first settlements, the Carolinas and Virginia. Due to the fact that beards were absent in t he Amerindian populations that Englishmen were describing the attention paid to this absence is enlightening. Other physical elements were rarely touched upon. For instance, I have found no description of a N English settlers and explorers frequently mentioned the lack of beards, even if only as a side note. Hence, it is not only the moments in accounts and pictures where beards were mentioned that are important but the context in which they were discussed, when merge d with the mea ning of the beard within early m odern Europe and England, which provide insight into the utilization of the beard in these early contacts. Historians of Colonial America, with the exception of Axtell and Kupperman, have not given much emphasi s to the beard. Instead they have stressed clothing and skin color by moving analysis of encounters in the context of the eighteenth century. Instead, I want to push back this analysis of encounters and place them in a European Colonial context. The beard in the new world can only be understood by looking backward to 30 Fisher, Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture 87
16 fifteenth and sixteenth century Europe and relating the knowledge and messages of the beard from that situation to the colonial context. Such an analysis also pushes back the understanding of t he construction of difference, which leads to the construction of races, into a further time than has been currently studied. Historians have not completely ignored the mention of the beard within contact narratives. Instead, they have provided brief menti ons of the cultural and physical differences between the smooth skinned Indians and the hairy Europeans. Yet their analysis has not delved into meanings that this physical dichotomy may have conveyed. Instead, c lothing and skin color have largely constitut ed the main focus of this debate. Karen Kupperman for instance, argued that clothing was the fundamental demarcation and most immediate emblem of difference for European colonizers and Amerindians. 31 Kupperman invoked physical differences but conversely ar gued that the lack of description of native faces indicated a lack of interest in this subject on the part of the English reading public. 32 Nancy Shoemaker provided one of the more succinct discussions of the development of skin color as the primary signifi er of difference. Unlike clothing, skin color was a more fixed category of difference, one that could not be easily replaced or changed. 33 This changed over the course of the eighteenth century she argued from being a little mentioned fact to being a common place categorization. The 31 Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000), 53 32 Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Settling with the Indians: The Meeting of English and Indian Cultures in America, 1580 1640 (Totowa, N.J: Rowman and Littlefield, 1980), 34 33 Shoemaker, A Strange Likeness 129.
17 development of this racial ideology over time depended not only upon science, but act ivities of settlers as well. The degree of difference in skin tone between Natives and mariners has been questioned. James Axtell pointed out a r adical difference in skin color should not have existed between mariners and Amerindians. After several weeks at sea, mariners most likely acquired or maintained a deep tan. Hence the supposed pallor of Europeans would not have been a considerable demarcat ion of difference. 34 Alt hough perhaps this may have mitigated the degree of difference, some level of disparity was often noted. Mariners alone were not involved in these contacts, but rather those of the middling and upper classes as well, for whom maintai ning a paler color was a sign of status. Rather it was hair, according to Axtell, which held the greater fascination for Amerindians as that which set the Europeans apart physically. Axtell provided a superior analysis of the view that different Amerindian groups held towards hair and beards. Yet argument that hair operated as the prim ary signifier of difference within early contacts. Others have also noted the role that hair played as the key distinction between Europeans Indian who provided him aid. Both s ides of the account, according to records, considered this Indian to have a French father, hence explaining his bearded state. This was a 34 James Axtell, After Columbus: Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 132
18 distinction that the Indian himself apparently accepted, as he named himself Mosco the word applied to strangers, in cluding the English. 35 For the English settling in Virginia and the Carolinas a number of concerns dominated their first areas of permanent settlement. As reflected in their writings, much time was spent trying to figure out both who these new people were t hat they were encountering and how their own bodies would adapt to the new environment. Key to both concerns was the worry that harm would befall on them from living in such a space. As such, English settlers spent a large amount of time observing both Ind ian bodies and cultures to utilize as a predictor for their own success or failure in colonization. The separation of the sexes and the demarcation between men and women was often a key concern in early contact accounts. English settlers considered the dem arcation of genders a sign of civility amongst Indian tribes. Hence, t he degree to which a civilization was considered civilized for the English, depended on their recognition of gender differences, their adherence to a hierarchy based upon these differenc es and their use of visible signs to outwardly display these differences according to Kupperman. 36 Such an insistence o n the maintenance and display of gendered divisions, according to her work, were of heighten ed importance due to English fears of the dege neracy in their own society of these distinctions. susceptibility to change was of large concern for both settlers and investors As Trudy 35 Kupperman, Settling with the Indians 40 36 Kupperman, Indians and English 18.
19 environment, exercise, sleep, excretion and repletion, and the passions, authorities viewed the most powerful to be food and the environment. According to Eden the early problem for the English was to prove that the new environment would not significantly weaken English bodies. 37 Her wo rk provided a better understanding of the concerns of early English colonist when viewing the bodies that had already been affected by this new environment those of natives. Hence factors such as skin color were noted by early settlers, but often with th intervention or not. Hence, other factors were also carefully noted which could display the effect on a body living in such a terrain. The racial dialogue which slowly grew out of the European co ntacts with others after the discovery of the New World was founded upon many concerns. Whether English bodies could sustain themselves in this new environment, or better yet flourish, was a prime worry How the English were to relate to the newly discover ed peoples in part of this discourse, and was manipulated to suit many purposes. oc curred much earlier than traditional histories have recognized. As C haplin noted, these beliefs had not been developed as a fully coherent racial idiom, yet they contribute d 37 Assimilation, and the Malleability of the Human Body in Early A Centre of Wonders: The Body in Early America (Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 2001) 32.
20 greatly to the establishment of racial difference. The process of creating the cat egories white and red can be traced back to the days of initial contact. In the numerous encounters between the English and natives in Virginia the element of facial hair was rarely invoked. However, as it was an unusual feature this wa s hardly surpri sing. Indications were given that the English expected to find a hairless people, hence it is only in those few encounters when these expectations were not meet that writers paid attention to the beard. These encounters however illustrate d the extent to which the English used facial hair as a sign to convey manhood, sexuality and power. These messages seem to have been absorbed so that the failure to display this sign by the Amerindians helped correlate with the English self conceptions of superiority and ability to dominate. Those few Amerindians who upset this fashion trend were also those who were armed or described as more powerful. The beard not only acted as a sign for the English, but as a trope which their culture reiterated Alt hough evidence is scant with which to represent the Amerindians view of contact, a bit of their reaction to Europeans can be reconstructed. Beards were not always naturally missing from Amerindian populations. I nstead men often plucked or otherwise removed fac ial hairs A mong native tribes in habiting Canada, Axtell recounted that they saw beards the beard held almost the exact opposite meaning than what it carrie d in Europe, as a sign of both weak intelligence and limited sex appeal. The mention of a beard became a primary insult for the Hurons. 38 Other groups were 38 James Axtell, Natives and Newcomers: The Cultural Origins of North America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 78 79
21 also confused about the true nature of Europeans. Around the Green Bay area the Potawatomis and Men ominees believed the French we re themselves a separate specie due not to their ski n color, but to their observation that the French 39 Beards were the primary target of aggression in t he French settlements. Because short hair was so repulsive to natives it wa s the first target in fights This manifested in the killing of any Frenchmen the Outagamis encountered in the 1660s because they could n ot endure the sight of their beards. 40 In Virginia, as in othe r parts of the Americas, the b eard played a primary role in the prophesies of a new people who would come and take over the lands. A Powhatan a hundred and fifty years none of th e original Indians wou ld remain 41 Alt hough this account was given only after the fact of European arrival and settlement the sole identifier the Indians utilized to describe these conquer ing people was the beard. Even if influenced by contact itself the focus on the beard for both Amerindians and the English revealed its primacy in Virginia as the distinction between both sides. Though European explorers who were describing native faces most often discussed only the simple absence of facial hair facial hair was manipulated a nd not simply absent in many of these cultures. Axtell once again provided an insight into this world, by commenting that simple coils of brass wire were a tool of all trades, including 39 James Axtell and American Historical Association, Imagining the Other: First Encounters in North America (Washington, D.C: American Historical Association, 1991), 24 40 Axtell, Natives and Newcomers 78 79 41 Axtell, After Columbus 129.
22 42 Such a facial modifi cation was not unknown to Europeans. Indeed, according to a 1545 work, Toxophilus, Emperor Leo mandated that his archers have their hair pulled and their beards shaved so that neither hair would ing. 43 Hence the English were not only familiar with such methods but had recently utilized such bodily alteration for a practical purpose, one possibly shared by the natives they were encountering. Ultimately my study reveals several important factors wh en considering Native and English relations in the colonial world. First, it re emphasizes the need to understand the European context from which the settlers and explorers came. Without this context a feature, such as the beard, can be easily overlooked. Yet when merged together the use of a physical feature such as the beard can reveal many of the views of each other which occurred before divisions such as skin color existed. By uncovering these views that predated the racial divisions based on color this study further pushes back the discussion of the enigma of race within colonial America into the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Hence on both sides of the Atlantic, both before and after English contact s, the beard served as a sign of power ful European manhood. The beard was a sign of strength, conquest and desire that was visibly manifest ed on the faces of European men during the 42 Axtell, Natives and Newcomers 137. 43 Chaplin, Subject Matter 86 87
23 sixteenth century. On both sides of the Atlantic the beard became closely associated with whiteness, and hence w ith European culture in the broadest sense. 44 44
24 Chapter Two The Beard in Early Virginia John Whi te provided one of the most influential rendering of first hand views of the N atives of the Carolinas and Virginia in a series of watercolor s which he painted during his stay in the Roanoke colony. In 1590 the publisher Theodor De Bry utilized paintings as the basis for several engravings to illustrate explorer Thomas first written accounts of the people who inhabited Virginia . 45 The illustrated A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia marked a pivotal moment in the distribution of information regarding the settlements to the English public. 46 According to Kupperman the English public desired to know who the I ndians were and answered such questions by studying how one prese enabled both the literate and illiterate with a means to make such assessments. Portraiture of the period was more conce classical appearance of his natives. 47 45 Lorant, The New World; the First Pictures of America 182 46 For examples see Axtell, Natives and Newcomers 42 ; Chaplin, Subject Matter 59 ; Kupperman, Settling with the Indians 34. 47 Kupperman, Indians and English 42.
25 Report was a n immense success in Europe First published in 1590 it went through seventeen editions in thirty years and quickly appeared in four languages Latin, English, French and German. 48 Illustrated with twenty eight engravings this work provided both visual i nformation and captions which explained each scene. This report had a wide circulation a nd the illustrations allowed information about Amerindians to spread among even the illiterate. 49 In this report both Hariot and De Bry paid great attention to hair often the hairs of the head constituted the first description of people pictured. Given the association between hairiness and w ildness which Europeans had already established there was difficulty in aligning images of smooth skinned natives and the hairy, godless and cruel cannibals which appeared in their mythology. 50 Only one male native was p ortrayed with facial hair among raving, man ne (sic) (Figure 1) was careful to explain that unlike the older men, young men did not allow any hair to grow upon their faces. However, the author noted that the hairs of both old and young As in all his engravings De Bry took some liberties in his r enditions of the subjects feature d in watercolors. However engravings based on th e natives that White had portrayed remained true in detail. Instead of changing the i ndividuals, for example De Bry simply adde d in backgrounds which 48 Lorant, The New World; the First Pictures of America 182 49 Chaplin, Subject Matter 59. 50 Axtel l, Natives and Newcomers 45.
26 featured village life, as in the case of the aged man. 51 Several important themes emerged in this early work which later colonists would further carry out in their descriptions of the natives. 52 Within this caption Hariot provided se veral key pieces of information that were important for t he English understanding of these unknown people that can be best understood when placed within the European understanding of the beard First, it was not that the Amerindian males were incapable of growing facial hair, but rather that they eradicated them from their faces when they appear ed Hence, the absence of facial hair was by choice and not biology. Thus, when beards were not displayed in the pictures of a chief lord of Roanoac or a w eroan of V irginia, this was understood to be a choice and not due to the environment or physical differences. This information was critical based upon the concerns of English settlers and investors regarding the chances for success in this new land. the beard as a sign that was possible among native American inhabitants of Virginia as hairs did grow but were only not present by choice and manipulations, helped quell initial English fears. One prime worry for English settlers was t he effects that the environment might have upon the settl Indian men could be used to prove that those who had endured the longest exposure to the environment had not suffered physical harm and that their bodies could still function as 51 For allow for closer examination. 52 Thomas Hariot, A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia Rosenwald Collection reprint series (New York: Dover Publications, 1972), 52
27 those of strong, virile men This proof, as seen both in their muscular bodies as well as through the manifestation of beards, helped to convince both settlers to immigrate and investors to not fear for the safety of their finances. Images of Natives with facial hair were important and the lack of hair was understood as a choice rather than due to environmental or biological causes. Hence the beard helped connect Natives to Europeans. According to account the ability for hair to grow upon the faces of Ameri ndian men helped to elevate them to a specie similar to the European, although somewhat less civilized. De Bry emphasized that it was by choice that young Amerindian 53 Yet the one male portrayed with fac ial hair within the work, the aged man in his winter garment, was utilized to convey several of the meanings attributed to the beard within Euro pe. Alt hough old, the aged man maintain ed a strong physique evident by the muscle tone in h is arm, chest and cal ves. Despite the fact that nothing about his sexual health could be ascertained from either the engraving or accompanying caption, as he is nearly fully clothed with a skin, the visual image of a strong and seemingly physically powerful male remained. Only when the factor of age appeared did the message of strength and physical ability require an accompanying signifier. While it may have been a custom for only older Amerindian men to allow hair to grow it served a useful purpose for English colonizers to c onvey that age did not necessarily correlate with feebleness or loss of sexuality within Amerindian societies around the areas of English settlement. Hence, the environment in the colony could even arguably be healthier than that of England as this old man was still the symbol of masculinity whereas 53 Hariot, A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virg inia 52.
28 men his age in England may not have been. Taken to this level, the portrayal of the aged, bearded, man not only quelled English fears of settling in this new land but may have even provided increased encourageme nt to do so. This association between age, strength, sexuality and facial hair pervaded the texts of early English encounters in Virginia. The remaining engravings by De Bry displayed a people who were physically strong, yet peaceful. Instead of scenes o f war the focus of the pictures were split between the portrayal of individual native peoples and domestic activities such as the cooking of fish, the manner of dining, dancing, pra ying, and childrearing. Alt rude riot contended 54 To address further fears of potential settlers or investors the peacefulness of Natives needed to be conferred, even when these Natives appeared armed. With two exception s the Indian men were portrayed as unarmed, which furthered the lack of a quiv cap tion elaborated that al though the Natives carried these weapons into war they also brought them to solemn feasts and banquets and utilized them to hunt the deer which were abundant in this new world. Hence, the sighting of an Indian thus armed should not immediately indicate that he was ready for battle. 55 54 Ibid., 74 55 Ibid., 46.
29 Instead of weapons it was the manner of painting on their bodies that would indicate if a weroan was going to battle according to Ha riot (Figure 3) Alt hough normally painted in a manner to indicate to w hich tribe they belonged, as De Bry later when a battle was at han d. Therefore, as was displayed in th e scene behind the great lord where a group of Amerindian males were engaged in a deer hunt, his bearing of arms was intended only for hunting or self defense. 56 Hence the only armed, and non bearded, male Indian in this work was not p resented as a direct threat. The lack of beards among the Natives correlated with their peaceful and non threatening nature according to the Report These peaceful and non threatening natives stood in great contrast to the old savages with whom Englishmen wer e familiar The last section contained pictures of these old savages, included to illustrate ose of 57 These savages were none other than their own ancestors. The inclusion of the Picts within a work on Virginia served many useful purposes. According to Axtell, the inclusion of the Picts served to remind the English that the Indians they were encountering were not culturally inferior to their own ancestors. 58 As Joyce Chaplin and Nicholas Canny also suggested, the English did not view the Ame rican frontier as highly 56 Ibid. 57 Ibid., 75. 58 Axtell, Natives and Newc omers 43
30 different from the Irish frontier that lay in the recent past. 59 Hence, the future that Englishmen in Virginia were confronting was one with which they had direct and successful experience in the past. Yet, the pictures served as stronger symbols of the Natives peacefulness than other historians have suggested and a key component that was utilized to convey the image that even the violent savages could and had been overtaken was the beard. These Pict men (Figures 4 and 5) furthered the association between facial hair, a physical threat, and the ability to become civilized in two k ey ways. First ly both Pict men pictured sported not proper beard s but only mustache s Secondly, the men pictured were armed and a direct risk This armor was clearly not for use in hunting, but as a clear threat to anyone who should cross his path. For i nstance, t he first male Pict pictured had one severed head lying at his feet and another in his hand, with blood still dripping. In contrast to his mustache the head in his hand and the one lying at his feet were fully bearded, with neatly trimmed styles w hich displayed a more civilized population. 60 This man not only indicat ed his propensity to violence through the heads around him but also with his weapons Whereas the werowan of Virginia had only a bow and several arrows, the Pict had both a long curved, with a point and at the other with a large round ball. Also in contrast to the Virginian 59 Chaplin, Subject Matter 115 and Nicholas P Canny, Kingdom and Colony: Ireland in the Atlantic Wo rld, 1560 1800 Johns Hopkins studies in Atlantic history and culture (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988) 60 Hariot, A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia 76 77
31 natives this Pict carried a shield for protection. 61 The lack of such an item amongst the Amerindians White and De Bry portrayed was further proof that they were not intent in number and more rudimentary. The la ck of items for protection such as a target or shield reinforced hat the arrows the natives possessed were only intended for hunting or self protection. In contrast to the menacing Picts of times past the Virginian natives appeared tame. The second man pictured in this sec tion was of a nation neighbor ing the Picts. Thi as the other the Picts thi s man was heavily armed. He carried the cro ket sword, a target and a lance that had a round ball at one end. In t he background of this p ortrait we re three other men who we re similarly armed, disp laying that this man was not an exception. Unlike the first Pict however as n egatively; n o signs of his murderous tendencies appeared. 62 Though this man repre sented a diminished direct threat in comparison to the male Pict, he remained more heavily armed than the natives previously featured. This neighboring group was also a relic of the past, indicated by the past de scriptions. By means of comparison the Amerindians were portrayed as more docile than the previous savages whom the English had encountered and conquered : the Irish and the Scots. Both groups displayed improper facial hair patterns, one by complete eradi cation 61 Ibid. 62 Hariot, A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia 82 83.
32 and the other by allowing only partial growth. Yet these smooth faces were superficial as both groups were capable of growing such hair and simply chose to improperly manipulate this sign. The English had managed to incorporate into the rubric of English civilization one group who had chosen such an improper manipulation in the past according to the work, providing hope that the Amerindians could be similarly civilized Yet, unlike the Sc ots, the Amerindians who ch ose to allow their hair to grow illustrated that this hair was much sparser than that of the English. Due the signs of health and virility which a beard conveyed, t his inadequate hair demonstrated their inferiority when compared to English civilization, both physically and legally, and h ence they were of little threat physically and imperially. De Bry however never saw the people he was portraying. Instead he relied solely Hence, De Bry largely drew of f of the European understanding of the beard, unfiltered through any influence of the Natives themselves. Firsthand accounts demonstrated what conceptions Englishmen carried with them upon entering the settlements. George Percy account indicated that he did not walk into Virginia without clear expectations as to what and whom he would behold. Percy was one of the colonists who survived the first settlement of Jamestown and served as governor of Virginia for several months between 1609 and 1611. Instead, P ercy was shocked when he encountered a savage who had a elevated
33 63 All previous reports available to Percy, of undisclosed origins were that the Amerindians did not have hair on their faces. The savage whom Percy encountered w as distinct in a variety of way s beyond his facial hair. Over one hundred and sixty years old, with sunken eyes and no teeth this man wa s miraculous in other ways. Namely, Percy found it strange that 64 The observation tha t this man was lustie could convey several meanings at the time; Percy gave little guidance as to which he intended. It could have been an observation that the man was either well built, arrogant, powerful, vigorous, full of sexual desire or even cheerful. 65 Given t he spelling and time period when this phrase was written, the options of either arrogance or power emerge d as the most likely interpretations. C any of us The sign of the beard in this instance correlated with the messages of strength and vigor that it conveyed in early modern Europe. The sign was so dominant in this encounter that it overrode the physical attributes that displayed signs of weakness such as the lack of 63 Philip L Barbour, The Jamestown Voyages Under the First Charter, 1606 1609: Documents Relating to the Foundation of Jamestown and the History of the Jamestown Colony up to the Departure of Captain John Smith, Last President of the Council in Virgini a Under the First Charter, Early in October 1609 Works issued by the Hakluyt Society (London: published for the Hakluyt Society [by] Cambridge U.P, 1969), 142. 64 Barbour, The Jamestown Voyages Under the First Charter, 1606 1609 142. 65 OED online accessed 11/18/07, http://dictionary.oed.com.ezproxy.lib.usf.edu/cgi/entry/50137091/50137091spg1?single=1&quer y_type=misspelling&queryword=lustie&first=1&max_to_show=10&hilite=50137091spg1
34 teeth and sunken eyes, in addition to his great number of years. While one m ight expect a man of one hundred and sixty years of age to be weak and feeble this bearded old man was instead able to keep pace with the younger conquerors. In this instance Percy not only confirmed that those entering the territories had read, listen ed and looked for information about what the new people wou ld be like, but also that he had emerged early in the chronicles of the settlement of Jamestown, as it was written just one year a fter settlement. The beards continued importance in the settlement years prior to 1622 can be seen through a variety of means. From dictionaries, proto continued descriptions of those they encounter the beard continue d to be manipulated to suit the interests both of the writer and his colony. In these early days while the means of handling Natives was still uncertain the beard served as a means of distinction between the peaceful non threatening natives and those who w ere more powerful. Unlike Har iot and d e careful attempt to clarify that native beards were not absent due to physical differences of the natives, many writers simply noted the absence as fact without questioning why One who displayed this tendency was William Strachey who chronicled the founding of Virginia in his work Historie of Travell into Virginia Britania E stimated to have been commenced in 1609 and published in 1612, Strachey the people proclaimed hough other accounts would detail that it was not that beards would not grow, but rather that
35 many Amerindian males plucked out any hair, Strachey i nstead noted the absence as a biological fact. 66 people was a little more critical than other descriptions which view ed the lack of a beard as a choice and not natural. Strachey concluded that these people were 67 In addition he described t he men as very physically able and used to enduring hards hips. Strachey mainly typified their character in unfavorable terms. hey seldom forget an Injury; tey are very thievish, and will as closely as the can convey any thin Despite the negative depictions, few worries emerged that they would present a threat to the English. As before, Strachey maintained the patt ern that the beardless natives possessed many qualities similar t legends. They were not to be feared either sexually or imperially as a threat. Yet, the lack of beards within the native population did not make them unimportant i n the appendix of his work Strachey included a so that they might People. 68 Two c opies of the appendix exist in two separate copies of the manuscrip t. beard was listed among the relatively brief list of 66 William Strachey, The Historie of Travell into Virginia Britania (1612) Works issued by the Hakluyt Society (London: Printed for the Hakluyt Society, 1953), xv 67 Ibid., 77 68 Ibid., 174
36 words, consisting of less than one thousand entries in both instances (968 in the first copy ). Interestingly, it was listed both under the English to Indian section and the Indian to English owever 69 Providing both means of accessing the meaning of the word not only would help the English utilize this signifier of difference whe n talking to the Indians, but also to understan d what the Indians meant whe n they utilized the term Through this double listing Strachey illustrated that bot h sides utilized this word frequently enough to necessitate its listing in both languages. Though the dictionary emph asized words to express parts of the body, including such he little istings were typically only from one language to another, not both The differentiation of the fingers for example was onl y provided from English to the N ative Fore 70 Such a dual listing was not provided for other terms, further highlighting the use of the beard as a signifier by both sides. ty. Most parts of the body were generally listed in at least one of the editions of the dictionary. Hence in order to express the physicality of different groups those who had access to this work would find it helpful Notable ho wever, we re the descript ors that were lacking. Alt hough one could differentiate between a beard and the hairs of the head, Strachey offered no 69 Ibid., 177 and 205. 70 Ibid., 183.
37 similar means for distinguishing between differences i n skin color. Although white did have an entry, other descriptors which were utiliz ed skin color red or tawny for example did not. 71 The emphasis of facial hair over skin color which this dictionary provided aligned s own accounts, indeed it a ppeared 72 However skin color was not the sole or primary distinguisher within these accounts. The one enco unter with a bearded native Strachey described was also the most in depth des cription of any o ne individual within his chronicles This depth was not due to e history of Virginia. This exception was also the native Strachey considered the most powerful within th e Indian societies he encountered, the chief Powhatan. I n this portion of his history Strachey utilized the beard as a sign of power, sexuality and masculinity within an Amerindian society while managing to retain English superiority. Within his descript ion only was his rule powerful, but Strachey also described his physical conditio n to be conquered 71 Ibid., 206. 72 See Strachey 70.
38 neighboring tribes either through force or because they submitted to his rule in fear and 73 Instead of a full, thick beard which the English would desire d as the ultimate sign of authority, manliness and health, Powhatan bore ove the other, hairless natives, yet sparse enough for the full bearded Europeans to remain firmly entrenched in both a biological and a divine position few hair s enabled Powhatan to rule over his people, retation. Y conquer his neighboring refused This encounter did not ignore t which the beard expressed in Europe 74 Interestingly, Powhatan did not utilize the beard as the marker of distinction between himself and the Europeans utilized the phrase the bearded ones to refer to the European conquerors, within this account , these 73 Ibid., 56 58 74 Ibid., 61 62.
39 strangers were not hopelessly distinct to Powhatan, who later declared that these strangers, King James and his people, should become one with his people. Hence , the bearded savage viewed the Englis h simply as unknown, but not as a di fferent species of humans or gods. For the Amerindian who most similarly resembled the Europeans in facial characteristics the distinction betwe en the two groups was insignificant Instead, according to Strachey, Powhat an declared that these two 75 s e be ard also aligned with the minimal English fear of him as History describe d Instead of fearing this mighty werowance, Strachey commented on t was particularly perpl exed as to how Powhatan managed to convey such majesty given 76 partially lived up to the s igns which a beard conveyed. He was the epitome of powerful, virile manhood within his culture. He was the sole bearded male, according to Strachey, and coincidentally was the most powerful; a man most of the other tribes feared. Alt hough his virility wa s not contrast ed to that of o ther men, women did flock to side. Yet, unlike other native accounts, Powhatan did not utilize facial hair as an indicator of difference between his people and the English. Though Strachey attributed 75 Ibid., 58. 76 Ibid., 56 62.
40 many powers to thi s chief inferior to those of the English, which parallel ed to his inferior rule. Strache y was not alone in commenting or a beard however. I n Of the Natural Inhabitan ts of Virginia John Smith also provided a physical as he referred to Powhatan as tall and well proportioned. Focus however, quickly shifted to his head, which Smith described as 77 Smith then quickly segued i garment, Smith was quick to not 78 Although established pattern regarding bearded natives. As in Perc it was a n unexpected feature and hence constituted one part of a very brief physical description. Like Har iot the one bearded individual in this group was also a man of some age. Smith continued his description by detailing how Powhatan was ordinarily accompanied by a guard of about forty to fifty of the tallest men. This accompanying detail decreased the t hreat that this chief provided. I nstead of being a fierce warrior who was able to defend himself he 77 John Smith and Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Va.), The Complete Works of Captain John Smith (1580 1631) vol. 1, (Chapel Hill: Pub lished for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Va. by the University of North Carolina Press, 1986) 173. 78 Ibid.
41 required a full time accompaniment of the most physically intimidating men. B oth Strachey and Smith therefore utilized the beard as a sign of power, even within Indian critiqued his wimpy bea rd. Although Powhatan displayed many of the attributes a beard conveyed in early modern Europe he failed to fully live up to its meaning just as he failed to grow a proper beard. Throughout early contact accounts from Hariot and De Bry to Strachey the l ack of a beard was often correlated with the lack of a threat role of power within Native society Though Strachey briefly mentioned the cruel punishments that Powhatan employed on not only his people but also an English settle r, a lack of fear was present throughout his account. In the earliest of accounts from the regularity. These accounts all latched onto the meanings beards represented in Europ e of power, sexuality, masculinity and health in order to diminish the threat that smooth faced natives provided. Hence their settlements proved to be less of a risk for both prospective settlers and investors. These early promoters of the English settleme nts manipulated the messages of the be ard into serving their own self interest s and those of their colony. In Man Transformed John Buwler wid e physical variations written in 1653, Buwler both described and illustrated itants of Virginia Buwler noted that his information came from Captain History of Virginia s their
42 79 The accompanying illustration displayed that this hair removal applied only to facial hair and that the hairs of the head were permitted to remain long and intact. For Englishmen and Europeans familiar with utilizing hairstyles to identify occupation, status and regional background combined with a similar mandate in their recent past for occupational purposes they might recognize this hairstyle in a variety of fash ions. The half beards provided proof that the natural inhabitants of Virginia were physically capable of growing beards, but they instead cho s e to eradicate these hairs. The style in which those chose to do so may have signified a practical purpose similar mandate and made hunting less complicated. Such a style could have proven either work these half beards were neutrally conveyed. Unlike the na tives of Florida or Mexico, who eradicated their beards out of vanity, Buwler gave no reason for the modifications made by the natural inhabitants of Virginia. Other groups who chose to alter their faces to remain beardless Buwler people feared those who did wear beards. 80 In contrast to others within the American continent and other heathen lands the natives of Virginia did not manipulate their beards as improperly as others. However they still failed to manifest t he proper understanding of this sign. 79 J[ohn] B[uwler], Anthropometamorpho sis: man transform'd: or, the artificiall changling historically presented 2nd ed. (London: William Hunt, 1653), 201 80 Ibid., 201 205
43 The natural inhabitants of Virginia were not the only ones who demonstrated a possible improper understanding of the signs available to them. Buwler himself appeared to have taken some liberties in the information he was conveying. Buwler noted on the Smiths Hist. of Of the Natural Inhabitants of Virginia was the matching description with the exc eption of one key detail Smith described these people as varying in size, although In tead of half shaved as Buwler Unli ke Buwler, Smith seemed to indicate that it was the hairs of th e head, not the face, which were partly shaven off. Smit 81 Quick to anger and slow to forget wrongs they however seldom stole fr om one another. Buwler ignore d this part of the description, a head shaven implied the face and n ot the hairs of the head this could h ave le d him to also revealed its importance into the mid seven teen th century as a physical distinguisher. Significantly, the account w hich detailed that the natives did grow beards, if somewhat 81 Smith and Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Va.), The Complete Works of Captain John Smith (1580 1631) 160.
44 improperly, remained neutral whereas the one which depicted the natives as generally beardless offered a negative account of their character was a pattern which was manifested in other physical an d character based descriptions. Alt that in this instance his cited source was written decades prior to that time. As such, Buwler remains neutral in his remarks. Yet, he lacks t he kindness which other writers these accounts events in Virginia altered the Engl Amerindians and as a result the beard was discarded as a useless signifier of difference. After 1622 views towards natives changed drastically, coinciding with massacres and rebellions. From this date forward, according t o Dudley and Novak the to the English Abusive language incr eased in English descriptions of N atives and more often negative images accompanying words with greater frequency. 82 About this time the mention of beards, either among natives that possessed them or their general absence, largely disappeared from travel narratives and ethnographies. One such example of this increased negativity occurred within the tr avel narrative of John Lederer who traveled into the interior of Virginia and the Carolinas between 82 Dudley, The Wild Man Within; an Image in Western Thought from the Renaissance to Romanticism 71.
45 83 For some colonists, both earlier and later, the lack of b eards implied the lack of proper gender divisions in native societies. A letter from an unknown settler, sent in the y difference being that the women allowed their hair to grow long over all the ir heads while the men only had long hair on the left side of their head. 84 The lack of a beard often correlated the Indian male to the female. When settlers made these equivalent s the Indians were typically not described in a way that would be a threat, but rather as a peaceful people. Though this unattributed namely that the lack of physical charact eristics which separated men f rom women equated with a lack of separate gender roles the later account by Lederer was much more negat ive. The early letter focused on the physical similarities whereas Lederer utilized the physical similarities to co nvey a negative character for the en tire Native population. Writers who did not view Indian men as a formidable threat often correlated them with their women. The demarcation of genders was a sign of civility amongst Indian tribes. The degree to which a civilization was considered civilized for the English, depended on their recognition of gender differences, their adherence to a hierarchy based upon these differences and their use of visible signs to outwardly display these differences according to Kupperman. 85 Such an insistence o n the main tenance and 83 John Lederer, The Discoveries of John Lederer March of America f acsimile series (Ann Arbor [Mich.]: University Microfilms, 1966) 18. 84 Barbour, The Jamestown Voyages Under the First Charter, 1606 1609 102 103. 85 Kupperman, Indians and English 18.
46 display of gendered divisions, according to her work, were of heighten ed importance due to English fears of the degeneracy in their own society of these distinctions. With men dressing too elegantly and women in a manner that was too masculine the beard could serve as one clear outward sign of gender division. The earlier letter however elevate d women within native societies and downplay ed the threat which the men pos ed. Although of a threat it did so by degrading the native men. the feminization of Indians and the increased negative views after 1622. After this date beards fall out of all accounts of Natives while the derogatory views continue to mount. Even amongst those who earlier praised the Natives for certain virtues showed a drastic change. For example John Smith in his works changed his descriptions of the native to model and make slaves of the Natives. 86 86 Smith, Travels and Works, II, 579.
47 Chapter Three Conclusion Although Europeans and Amerindians frequently mentioned and portrayed the beard in the early settlement accounts it qui ckly fell out of favor as the sign of difference b etween the two groups This decline coincided with the changing views of the natives and the permanence of the settlement. Though by no means securely guaranteed, English presence in Virginia was on much fi rmer ground by 1622 when the beard quickly disappeared from English descriptions of the natives. The messages which beardless natives conveyed proved to be wrong. People who would massacre a settlement were clearly a threat. The hope of reforming natives to a civilized people according to the English ways became dim. As a sign the beard proved to be too malleable once these views changed. Just as beards could be put on or taken off in the theater, the ability of natives to put on this sign by allowing hai r to grow diminished th e differences between them and the English. Instead, a more permanent and ostensibly more fixed sign was needed and developed Initially the same narratives that desc ribed the bearded natives allude d to their skin color. T hese accou nts typically related that Amerindians were born white but 87 As skin color slowly 87 See Smith and Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsbur g, Va.), The Complete Works of Captain John Smith (1580 1631) 160 for a recounting of how this
48 became the emblem of difference the English views of the natural color of the skin also changed. Addition ally, the changing messages of the beard in early Virginia would have long ranging impacts. Initially, the possibility for beards served as a common thread between the English and Natives. Hope for their conversion to civilized citizens could be visibly se en on the faces of their men who simply needed the proper training through practices such as proper facial hair cultivation. These Natives were not a large threat to the English and did not significantly differ from them. However as Natives proved to be re sistant to such acculturation and worse proved that they were a formidable threat, objectives quickly changed in Virginia as did the views of the natives. The positive associations with the natives facial hair disappeared, and the lack of a beard became a sign that Natives were lower on the rungs of humanity than the English. As Winthrop Jordan noted in White over Black in many ways Indians were more like Negroes than like Englishmen. In addition to the list which Jordan provided: complexion, religion, nat ionality, savagery, bestiality or geographical location, both Natives and Africans shared a common hairlessness, or near hairlessness, of the face. 88 Hence, the changing alteration occurred quickly after birth and Barbour, The Jamestown Voyage s Under the First Charter, 1606 1609 130 applied for protection from mosquitoes in the summer, and as an extra layer of warmth in the winter. 88 Winthrop D Jordan and Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Va.), White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550 1812 (Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, Va., by the University of North Carolina Press, 1968), 89
49 messages of the beard may have affected more than one population within early Virginia. As race relations, particularly in regard to slavery, took on a unique character in Virginia and the Carolinas looking into the lack of a beard as a further sign of debasement for slaves might prove interesting. As racialist logic did not become fully est ablished until the mid eighteenth and into the nineteenth century, other factors could have compounded the Africans plight for equality. Perhaps having already made the association between beardless Natives being a debased species eased the way for Virgini ans, and other E uropean inhabitants throughout the colonies, to later make a similar leap with Africans. Alt hough certainly not solely responsible, the beard may have been yet another quality which eased the transition to slavery based on skin color to eme rge. The use of facial characteristics as a determination of character was not solely restricted to the beard. Instead the characteristics that both sides considered important changed over time. Though the beard was one element of fifteenth and sixteenth century physiognomy the practice of using characteristics, especially those of the face, as a racial division would strongly reappear in late eighteenth and nineteenth century science. Perhaps best known among the practices of physiognomy was phrenology a belief that thirty seven components of human behavior could be assessed through a careful analysis of head size and the strength of features. 89 Like the beard which was a sign of both 89 Thomas Walter Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Universit y Press, 1990) 208 210.
50 physical attributes and behavioral characteristics, phrenology develope d means of proving that women and non whites were inferior as proven by their bodies. 90 For many, the question of the development of racial thought has been haunting. Edmund Morgan provided a succinct summary of one question which has long gone unanswered; that regarding the development of racial hatred in Virginia. As Morgan noted both xenophobia and national consciousness could have lead to the development of racial consciousness, but something more always seemed to be behind the story as well. 91 Alt hough o nly a small portion, I believe that the use of the beard helps us gain one piece of the puzzle of racial development and degradation in early Virginia. For early settlers, who had arguably not fully developed an idea of Natives as a racial other, at least not solely based upon skin color as race may now be understood, the beard or lack thereof conveyed messages that could be either comforting or frightening. At the very least it was demonstrable of otherness. Ultimately, the discourse of the beard and its a pplication within early Virginian contacts coincided with the slow and no n linear development of racial thought. Though many have studied how Indians became red historians have given less attention to what came before such a division. Prior to the racia l thought of the e ighteenth and nineteenth centuries separations of groups remained physical. These separations, like the 90 For more on the gendered divisions of nineteenth century science, including phrenology see Cynthia Eagle Russett, Sexual Science (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989). 91 Edmund Sears Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia Norton pbk. ed. (New York: Norton, 1995), 130
51 beard, could be manipulated to suit the message one wanted to portray. Ironically the beard was utilized as a signifier of similarity and difference, often simultaneously. As some such as De Bry suggested, the beardless natives were not so different from the detailed the beard was absent only by choice and hence could be grown, just as these accounts provided hope to Englishmen engaged in these colonial ventures that the beardless natives could cho o se to become civilized peoples. As these hopes diminished, and natives proved to be less than willing subjects, another less alterable division was necessitated.
52 References Primary B[uwler], J[ohn]. Anthropometamorphosis: man transform'd: or, th e artificiall changling historically presented 2nd ed. London: William Hunt, 1653. Barbour, Philip L. The Jamestown Voyages Under the First Charter, 1606 1609: Documents Relating to the Foundation of Jamestown and the History of the Jamestown Colony up t o the Departure of Captain John Smith, Last President of the Council in Virginia Under the First Charter, Early in October 1609 Works issued by the Hakluyt Society. London: published for the Hakluyt Society [by] Cambridge U.P, 1969. Hariot, Thomas. A Bri efe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia Rosenwald Collection reprint series. New York: Dover Publications, 1972. Lederer, John. The Discoveries of John Lederer March of America facsimile series. Ann Arbor [Mich.]: University Microfilms, 19 66. Smith, John, and Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Va.). The Complete Works of Captain John Smith (1580 1631) Vol. 1. 3 vols. Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, V a. by the University of North Carolina Press, 1986. Strachey, William. The Historie of Travell into Virginia Britania (1612) Works issued by the Hakluyt Society. London: Printed for the Hakluyt Society, 1953.
53 Waterhouse, Edward, and Virginia Company of London. A Declaration of the State of the Colony and Affaires in Virginia With a Relation of the Barbarous Massacre in the Time of Peace and League, Treacherously Executed by the Natiue Infidels Vpon the English, the 22 of March Last. Together w ith the Names of Those That Were Then Massacred; That Their Lawfull Heyres, by This Notice Giuen, May Take Order for the Inheriting of Their Lands and Estates in Virginia. And a Treatise Annexed, Written by That Learned Mathematician Mr. Henry Briggs, of t he Northwest Passage to the South Sea Through the Continent of Virginia, and by Fretum Hudson. Also a Commemoration of Such Worthy Benefactors as Haue Contributed Their Christian Charitie Towards the Aduancement of the Colony. And a Note of the Charges of Necessary Prouisions Fit for Euery Man That Intends to Goe to Virginia. Published by Authoritie Imprinted at London: By G. Eld, for Robert Mylbourne, and a re to be sold at his shop, at the great south doore of Pauls, 1622 Secondary A Centre of Wonders: The Body in Early America Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 2001. Axtell, James. After Columbus: Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North America New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. --. Natives and Newcomers: The Cul tural Origins of North America New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Axtell, James, and American Historical Association. Imagining the Other: First Encounters in North America Washington, D.C: American Historical Association, 1991. Berkhofer, Rober t F. The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 1978. Bernheimer, Richard. Wild Men in the Middle Ages; a Study in Art, Sentiment, and Demonology New York: Octagon Books, 1970. Canny, Nic holas P. Kingdom and Colony: Ireland in the Atlantic World, 1560 1800 Johns Hopkins studies in Atlantic history and culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988. : The William and Mary Quarterly 54, no. 1. 3 (January 1997): 229 252.
54 --. Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo American Frontier, 1500 1676 Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2001. Dudley, Edward J. The Wild Man Within; an Image in Western Thought from the Renaissance to Romanticism Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1972. Fisher, Will. Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture Cambridge studie s in Renaissance literature and culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. --Renaissance Quarterly 54, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 155 187. Sixteenth Century Journal 28, no. 4 (Winter 1997): 1181 1201. Jordan, Winthrop D. and Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Va.). White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550 1812 Chapel Hil l: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, Va., by the University of North Carolina Press, 1968. Kupperman, Karen Ordahl. Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000. --Presentation in the Early The William and Mary Quarterly 54, no. 1. 3 (January 1997): 193 228. --. Settling with the Indians: The Meeting of English and Indian Cultu res in America, 1580 1640 Totowa, N.J: Rowman and Littlefield, 1980. Laqueur, Thomas Walter. Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1990. Lorant, Stefan. The New World; the First Pictures of Ame rica A new, rev. ed. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1965. Morgan, Edmund Sears. American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia Norton pbk. ed. New York: Norton, 1995. Schiebinger, Londa. Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of M odern Science Boston: Beacon Press, 1993.
55 --Eighteenth Century Studies 23, no. 4, Special Issue: The Politics of Difference (Summer 1990): 387 405. Sheehan, Bernard W. Savagism and Civility: Indians and Englishmen in Colonial Virginia Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980. Shoemaker, Nancy. A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth Century North America New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. --The American Historical Review 102, no. 3 (June 1997): 625 644. American The American Historical Review 87, no. 4 (October 1982): 917 953. The William and Mary Quarterly 35, no. 1. Third Series (January 1978): 57 84.
56 Bibliography Arber, Edward. The First T hree English Books on America 1511 1555 A.D New York: Kraus Reprint Co, 1971. Bland, Edward. The Discovery of New Brittaine Ann Arbor [Mich.]: University Microfilms, 1966. De La Warr, Thomas West, and Virginia Company of London. The Relation of the Lord De La Warre Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1970. Gorges, Ferdinando. America Painted to the Life. The True History of the Spaniards Proceedings in the Conquests of the Indians, and of Their Civil Wars ... from Columbus ... to These Later Times As Also, of the Original Undertakings of the Advancement of Plantations into Those Parts; with a Perfect Relation of Our English Discoveries ... from the Year 1628. to 1658. Declaring the Forms of Their Government ... the Commodities of Their Countries, a Description of Their Towns and Havens, the Increase of Their Trading, with the Names of Their Governors and Magistrates ... an Absolute Narrative of the North Parts of America, and of the Discoveries and Plantations ... in Virginia, New England, and Berb adoes ... Now at Last Exposed for the Publick Good, to Stir up the Heroick and Active Spirit of These Times, to Benefit Their Countrey, and Eternize Their Names, by Such Honorable Attempts. For the Readers Clearer Understanding of the Countreys, They Are L ively Described in a Compleat and Exquisite Map London: printed for Nath. Brook, at the Angel in Cornhil, 1658. Hagthorpe, John. Englands Exchequer: Or, A Discourse of the Sea and Navigation Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1974. Hakluyt, Richard. D ivers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America Ann Arbor [Mich.]: University Microfilms, 1966. Hamor, Ralph. A True Discourse of the Present Estate of Virginia Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1971. Johnson, Robert. Nova Britannia Amsterdam: Thea trum Orbis Terrarum, 1969. Johnson, Robert, and Virginia Company of London. The New Life of Virginea Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1971.
57 Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650 1708 New York: Scribner, 1911. Narratives of Early Maryland, 1633 1684 N ew York: Scribner, 1910. Percy, George, and Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. Observations Gathered Out of A Discourse on the Plantation of the Southern Colony in Virginia by the English, 1606 Charlottesville: Published for the As sociation for the Preservation of Virginia Anitquities [by] University Press of Virginia, 1967. Quinn, David B. The Roanoke Voyages, 1584 1590; Documents to Illustrate the English Voyages to North America Under the Patent Granted to Walter Raleigh in 1584 London: Hakluyt Society, 1955. Symonds, William. Virginia: A Sermon Preached at White Chapel Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1968. The English New England Voyages, 1602 1608 London: Hakluyt Society, 1983. Secondary Amerindian Images and the Legacy of Columbus Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992. Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism New York: Harcourt, Br ace, 1951. Canny, Nicholas P. Making Ireland British, 1580 1650 Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Early Images of the Americas: Transfer and Invention Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1993. Empire and Others: British Encounters with Indigenou s Peoples, 1600 1850 Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999. English Plans for North America. The Roanoke Voyages. New England Ventures New York: Arno Press, 1979. Fischer, Kirsten. Suspect Relations: Sex, Race, and Resistance in Colonial North Carolina Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002. Glaser, Lynn. America on Paper: The First Hundred Years Philadelphia, Pa: Associated Antiquaries, 1989.
58 Hart, Jonathan Locke. Representing the New World: The English and French Uses of the Example of Spain New York: Palgrave, 2001. Hecht, Robert A. Continents in Collision: The Impact of Europe on the North American Indian Societies Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1980. Horn, James P. P, and Institute of Early American History and Cultu re (Williamsburg, Va.). Adapting to a New World: English Society in the Seventeenth Century Chesapeake Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, by the University of North Carolina Press, 1994. Marshall, P. J. The Great Map of Mankind: Perceptions of New Worlds in the Age of Enlightenment Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1982. Merritt, Jane T, and Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture. At the Crossroads: Indians an d Empires on a Mid Atlantic Frontier, 1700 1763 Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003. New World Encounters Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. Perdue, Theda. "Mixed Blood" Indians: Racial Construction in the Early South At hens: University of Georgia Press, 2003. Powell, Joseph F. The First Americans: Race, Evolution, and the Origin of Native Americans Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Race, Science and Medicine, 1700 1960 London: Routledge, 1999. Shipman Pat. The Evolution of Racism: Human Differences and the Use and Abuse of Science New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Stearns, Raymond Phineas. Science in the British Colonies of America Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970. Sweet, John Wood. Bodi es Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730 1830 Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. The Body in Parts: Fantasies of Corporeality in Early Modern Europe New York: Routledge, 1997. Wright, Louis Booker. The Elizabethans' Americ a: A Collection of Early Reports by Englishmen on Harvard University Press, 1965.
60 Appendix A Figu res Figure 1: Close Up of Figure 1
61 Figure 2: Close up Image of Figure 2
65 Figure 6: The Explorers and Settlers Thomas Ha riot Sir Richard Greenville Sir Walter Raleigh Sir John Smith
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Barber, Jacqueline Colleen.
Face to face :
b English uses and understanding of the beard in early Virginian contacts
h [electronic resource] /
by Jacqueline Colleen Barber.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 65 pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: Many historians agree that categories of human division underwent a drastic change due to European New World encounters. The shift from religious divisions to ones based on ethnicity and skin color gradually developed in early modern Europe. Hence, before natives became "red," and Europeans "white" a period existed where the differences between these cultures were utilized in a variety of means to prove similarity and difference. One element signifying difference during the early contact period was that of the beard. Hair as an identifier has a long history: through the middle ages, wildness was conveyed by hair and at times non-Christians were legally required to grow beards. Early in the sixteenth century the beard became a popular fad for white, Christian-European men, a change which some scholars have traced to European contact with beardless Amerindians. Within Europe, the beard came to represent more than otherness.A thick beard conveyed images of health, particularly sexual health; the beard came to represent virility and the beard helped to separate men from women and boys. In this paper I argue that the beard assumed a special significance within early English contacts in the Carolinas and Virginia. I examine the changing meanings of the beard and the English adoption of these meanings. I first examine the European background which helped provide the context for their first permanent colonial settlements in the New World. I next delve into travel accounts, ethnographies and artistic portrayals of the Natives in these colonies to examine how and when both sides evoked facial hair as a signifier of difference. This examination will help reveal English views of Natives during a time when their views regarding the Natives' character could affect the success of English colonial ventures.Finally, I examine why the beard failed as a sign of difference between the region's Amerindians and the English. This failure led to the adoption of other means of distinction specifically that of skin color. Hence the beard served as a first stepping stone towards what would become a fully conceptualized racial theory.
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t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.