All this talk about antique images got me thinking along the lines of what was the first photograph of x, y, or z. So I thought that for fun we might periodically ask and explore one of these questions. So today we ask, who was the first American President to be photographed?
This would be sixth American president John Quincy Adams (1767 – 1848). Adams was president from 1825 – 1829 and this wonderful daguerreotype was taken in 1841; so twelve years after he left office. The distinction of being the first American president photographed while in office goes to eleventh president James Polk (1795 – 1849). Polk was president from 1845 – 1849and this photograph was taken shortly before his death in 1849
There are several photographic images of seventh president Andrew Jackson (1767 – 1845). Jackson was president from (1829 – 1837), and my favorite is a daguerreotype taken in 1844/1845, when the president was 78. It is very expressive, although Jackson certainly looks a lot better on the twenty dollar bill.
These may not be people that you ever expected to see in photographs. Their lives just extended into the photographic age, and here they are recorded for posterity by Talbott’s “pencil of nature.”
Finally, it may be worth noting, that presidential photographic firsts continue into the present. The first president whose official portrait was taken with a digital camera was forty-fourth president Barak Obama. This was a mere 167 years after John Quincy Adams posed for his portrait.