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Earliest known photograph of a US First Lady acquired by National Portrait Gallery

·1 min

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG) has acquired a quarter-plate daguerreotype of former First Lady Dolley Madison, the earliest known photograph of a US First Lady. The photograph was taken around 1846 by artist and entrepreneur John Plumbe Jr. It shows Madison in her late seventies. The NPG purchased the daguerreotype for $456,000 at an auction. The artwork joins the NPG’s collection of early photographic portraits, including the earliest photograph of a US president. The acquisition will contribute to telling a more comprehensive American story and highlighting the important role women like Madison have played in the nation’s history.