Is this the earliest Presidential portrait in a newspaper?

February 4, 2021 by  
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We recently discovered the November 23, 1844 issue of the iconic “Illustrated London News” from England, featuring on the front page portraits of James K. Polk and Henry Clay, both candidates for the Presidency.

Knowing this was a very early of a portrait of a President in a newspaper, I did a little digging to see if it might be, in fact, the earliest.

I could not confirm an earlier one. Research did note that the issue of April 19, 1845 of the same newspaper has a print showing the inaugural ceremonies and the procession to the Capitol, but that was 5 months later.

Given that most of the illustrated newspapers would not begin until the mid-19th century (Gleason’s Pictorial began in 1851), none of the more well-known American illustrated periodicals existed in 1844. Even Harper’s New Monthly, which had a wealth of small prints in each issue, did not begin until 1850.

Any collectors out there aware of an earlier print of a U.S. President in a periodical? It would be great to document the earliest, whether it’s this Nov. 23, 1844 issue or another.

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Comments

2 Responses to “Is this the earliest Presidential portrait in a newspaper?”

  1. Paul Sarna on February 4th, 2021 11:53 pm

    This also beat out a New York Herald front page illustration for Andrew Jackson’s funeral in June of 1845, which had a portrait of Jackson at the top of the front page.

  2. GuyHeilenman on February 11th, 2021 10:43 am

    Hello Paul – Thanks for your input. It is always good to hear from you. Guy

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