This Is the Oldest Known Photograph of a U.S. Presidential Inauguration

This is the Oldest Known Photo of a U.S. Presidential Inauguration - James Buchanan 1857

If you tuned in to the 2021 inauguration ceremony, you saw monochromatic outfits with matching face masks, a Starvation Online games-esque ensemble from Woman Gaga, a meme-worthy pose from Bernie Sanders, and so a great deal far more. Like all modern inaugurations, countless photos ended up taken to honor this historic day. It was not constantly so simple to capture the crowds and pleasure of the swearing-in of a new president, however. The first-regarded photograph of a presidential inauguration at the capitol was in 1857 when photographer John Wood captured this historic shot.

Wooden labored for the Architect of the Capitol beneath U.S. Army officer and civil engineer Montgomery C. Meigs, who employed him as a “photographic draftsman.” This function included having photos of design drawings as a way to share them with out needing multiple drafts. The creating was nonetheless below design in 1857 when Meigs was assigned to prepare for the inauguration of James Buchanan. In addition to the most important platform, the civil engineer produced just one for Wooden to consider the photograph of the presidential inauguration for the first time. From his picture, we can see the building progress of the Capitol making. If you search intently at the feet of some onlookers, you will see the short-term wood boards made use of to cover the stone property.

This photograph is an case in point of the moist-plate collodion method—a procedure invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851. It was also only named the collodion method since it associated wetting a glass plate with a mixture of a soluble iodide and a resolution of collodion. The wispy good quality of the photograph is a end result of the prolonged publicity frequently essential to achieve this process. A transportable darkroom would also have been required.

Immediately after having this now-historic impression, Wooden ongoing serving as the photographer for the Architect of the Capitol until finally 1861. He remaining to photograph maps in the Civil War, giving a very similar provider as his shots of architectural drawings for the Capitol. Nevertheless, his biggest legacy is in all probability this photograph of the March 4, 1857 inauguration, which often resurfaces all over the time a new president is sworn in every single 4 many years.

Library of Congress: Web site | Fb | Twitter | YouTube
h/t: [TIME]

All illustrations or photos via Library of Congress.

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