Historical Figures Who Lived Long Enough to Be Photographed


Through all of our years of history classes in school, we get so used to seeing extravagant paintings of historical figures like George Washington, but it’s crazy to think about the fact that just 27 years after Washington’s death in 1799, the earliest-known photograph was taken! And now nearly two centuries later, none of us could possibly imagine what life would be like without the intricate cameras in our phones. Keep reading to see some historical figure photographs…it’s a must for any history enthusiast!

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States and son of Founding Father John Adams. Historians have described him as “underrated,” although his time in politics was plagued with feelings of inadequacy when compared with his prominent political family. Adams was born in 1767, and this photo was taken in 1843. It’s pretty wild to think about the fact that people born in the 1700s lived long enough to be photographed, isn’t it?

Charles Darwin

Born in 1809, Charles Darwin is without a doubt one of the most famous scientists to have ever lived, and many may not even be aware that actual photos exist of him. Darwin was so influential in science that by the time of his death in 1882, Britannica writes, “evolutionary imagery had spread through all of science, literature, and politics.” This photo is believed to have been taken sometime around 1854.

Uncle Sam

You may not have known that Uncle Sam was a real person! In case you’re unfamiliar, “Uncle Sam” is the famous patriotic character we see on the poster that reads, “I want you for U.S. army.” Born Samuel Wilson in 1766, the real-life Uncle Sam worked as a meat packer in Troy, New York. During the War of 1812, he supplied troops with meat that he shipped in barrels. The barrels contained the branding “U.S.,” short for “United States,” but people often joked that it actually stood for “Uncle Sam.” The trope eventually spread far and wide, and the rest is history (literally). This photo of Wilson was taken sometime in the 1850s, and is the only known photograph of him.

Daniel F. Bakeman

Daniel F. Bakeman (1759-1869) was the last surviving soldier of the Revolutionary War who received a veteran’s pension. This photo of him was taken in 1868 at age 109, one year before his death.

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