On February 14, 1849, a photographer named Matthew B. Brady took a photo of US President James K. Polk in the White House. He was not the first person to photograph the president, as it is believed William Henry Harrison had been photographed in 1841. However Harrison died only 31 days into his term and the photo has been lost.
A photo was recently unearthed of John Quincy Adams in 1843, but Adams had by this point been out of office for almost twenty years. This would count as the earliest photograph of an American president.
Polk left office in 1849 and died shortly after.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
- 1849-02-14 In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes first serving US President to have his photograph taken (by Matthew Brady).
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James Knox Polk