Only Five U.S. Presidents Were Never Photographed

President James Monroe was the 5th president of the United States of America. He died in 1831, about a decade before the photographic process was standardized. There are photographs of every president after him, beginning with John Quincy Adams, the son of John Adams, the 2nd president. Certainly, this is obscure history, and hard to believe. It is also strange and bizarre.

For me, the growth of photography in the mid-1800’s seemed to end the romantic period of America. Gone were the glorious paintings of our founding fathers, in all their splendor posing bravely next to a fireplace. These romantic classics were to be replaced with creepy black and white photographs of later presidents who looked like they had never washed their hair before, and those early photos of America’s presidents appear as if most of them had a mud-pie on their head. They also appear mean looking and quite disheveled. Life was hard back in those days, and you can see it in their eyes. There was no messing around.

Take for instance, the first president to be photographed, John Quincy Adams. He appears ready to smack the crap out of the photographer with his cane if he doesn’t hurry the hell up: