February 5, 2013

The Oldest Known Photographs of a U.S. President

The first photograph of a sitting United States president was taken of William Henry Harrison on March 4, 1841. The new executive had just delivered his inaugural speech — the outdoor address now most remembered (wrongly) for giving him the pneumonia that would kill him — and he paused, afterward, to pose for a portrait using the new technology of the daguerrotype.

That photograph, much like its subject, had an unexpectedly short tenure. Harrison’s inaugural portrait has since been lost to history — meaning that the oldest surviving photograph we have of an American president depicts a chief executive after his presidency. There are a couple candidates for “oldest.” But they are, regardless, depictions of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, in office from 1825-1829. 

Read more. [Images: AP, Smithsonian, Wikimedia]

  1. anthologyproductions reblogged this from smithsonianmag and added:
    In honor of Presidents’ Day yesterday, here’s the oldest photograph of a US sitting President, William Henry Harrison...
  2. felipe1026 reblogged this from smithsonianmag
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  5. shwattsy reblogged this from smithsonianmag and added:
    daguerreotypes are so cool
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  18. brainpopcorn reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias and added:
    So cool. And, of course, JQA lives on in the modern age through his Twitter feed (@JQAdams_MHS) and the digital efforts...
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  20. beatledaze reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  21. andyandtherobot reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias and added:
    Wow that picture of John Quincy Adams used a really weird Instragram filter…is that a special one you have to pay for?
  22. truth-has-a-liberal-bias reblogged this from pbsthisdayinhistory
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