National Portrait Gallery acquires Dolley Madison daguerreotype — the earliest known photograph of a US First Lady | News World

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Art Newspaper, an editorial partner of CNN Style.


The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in Washington, DC, has acquired the earliest known photograph of a US First Lady.

The quarter-plate daguerreotype of former First Lady Dolley Madison, wife of fourth US president James Madison, dates from around 1846. It joins a host of other early photographic portraits in the NPG’s collection, including what is believed to be the earliest photograph of a US president, an 1843 daguerreotype of John Quincy Adams by Philip Haas, which was acquired by the museum in 2017.

The Dolley Madison daguerreotype, made by artist and entrepreneur John Plumbe Jr., shows the trailblazing First Lady when she was in her late seventies. Plumbe, an English immigrant who came to America in 1821,…


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