Is this the earliest Presidential portrait in a newspaper?

February 4, 2021 by · 5 Comments 

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.

The magic of old newspapers, in 1844…

May 24, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

An 1844 issue of the “Adams Sentinel” (Oct. 14th) from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, has an interesting front page item concerning the fascination of reading old newspapers, noting in part: “…few preserve them…brings up the very age, with all its bustle…marks its genius & its spirit more than the most labored description of the historical…” with more (see). An interesting perspective on the value of collecting old newspapers, written 174 years ago.