Saturday, April 12, 2014

First-Known Photograph of Presidential Inauguration (1857)

This is an extremely rare photograph of Inauguration of James Buchanan (1791–1868), the 15th President of the United States (1857–1861), at the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on March 4th, 1857. The photo was taken by photographer John Wood in about 4 seconds, so it makes the photo a little spooky and ghost-like. Montgomery C. Meigs (1816-1892), the supervisory engineer of the Capitol expansion and the future quartermaster general of the Union Army wrote: "Wood has been trying some photography process of great speed for the purpose of taking a view of the inauguration. He made a view of the front of the Capitol in which the figures are, many of them, quite distinct."

(Source: Library of Congress, via Ghosts of DC)

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