United States Presidents

U.S. Presidents: their official portraits and other photos showing them as you may not have seen them before. See more...


Technically, John Hanson (who was President of the First Continental Congress) was really the first President of the United States. However, most people call George Washington "the Father of our Country" and name him as the first President. The United States has had 45 Presidents and many of them have been captured in leisure moments through the power of the camera, giving us a look at their more personal side. Today, we see the President dining and golfing and know many of the intimate details of his (or someday her) life.

The first dozen or so presidents, however, are just stiff, formal portraits to most of us. So here are a few details about them and their lives:
  • George Washington's dentures weren't made of wood. They were made of hippopotamus ivory, bone, or animal and human teeth with added lead, brass screws and gold wire. His love of red wine stained the dentures and made them look a little "wood-like".
  • John Adams, when he ran against Thomas Jefferson for President, called Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father" and in an attack ad warned that a Jefferson presidency would result in "Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood and the nation black with crimes." Nice.
  • Thomas Jefferson hated public speaking so much that he only gave two speeches in his presidency, one in each term. He also started a tradition of sending State of the Union speeches as written documents to be read to Congress by a clerk. Shy man.
  • James Madison was the smallest President. He was 5'4" and weighed about 100 pounds.
  • John Quincy Adams (son of President John Adams) was known for skinny dipping in the Potomac River every morning. A reporter took advantage of this and sat on his clothes until he granted her an interview.
  • Andrew Jackson is said to have been involved in around 100 duels, usually because someone said something negative about his wife. In 1806, he was shot in the chest during one of them and in 1813, he took a bullet to the arm in a bar fight with a Senator. He was a notorious hot-head.
  • Martin Van Buren was the first President born in the US. Born in Kinderhook NY, he was called "Old Kinderhook," in his 1840 election campaign and supporters carried around signs supporting "OK". The abbreviation became popular and we use it to this day - except not for Van Buren.
  • John Tyler was hated by almost everyone. He was expelled from his own party during his presidency, all but one person in his Cabinet resigned over his policies, and he was the first president who faced impeachment. One newspaper editor called him a "poor, miserable, despised imbecile" and the New York Times called him "the most unpopular public man that had ever held any office in the United States" in his obituary. When he died, President Lincoln didn't issue a mourning proclamation and flags were not placed at half-mast.
  • Franklin Pierce was unpopular while in office, leading to his own party refusing to renominate him. His reply to being cast out: "There is nothing left to do but get drunk." He was probably serious since he was, indeed, a serious drinker.
  • James Buchanan was the only bachelor to be president. At the time, there was a lot of speculation about his sexuality and his close relationship with Alabama Senator William Rufus King. The two lived together for more than 10 years although they could afford to have their own homes. President Jackson called them "Miss Nancy and Aunt Fancy" behind their backs and when Senator King left for France in 1844, Buchanan wrote: “I am now ‘solitary and alone,’ having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them.”
  • Rutherford Hayes lost the popular vote by 250,000 (47.9% vs his opponent's 50.9%) but won the electoral college by a single vote. He was called, during his presidency, “Rutherfraud” and “His Fraudulency.”

There are other interesting facts about the Presidents included in the following photos: Lincoln won all but one of his 300 wrestling matches; Andrew Johnson made all of his own suits when he was President; Grant couldn't stand the site of blood (although he was a General in the Civil War); Garfield was ambidextrous and could write in Greek with one hand and Latin with the other - at the same time; Cleveland was the legal guardian to his friend's 11-year-old orphaned daughter and 10 years later, they were married at the White House, making her the youngest First Lady ever at the age of 21 . . . We have had some interesting characters as President!


A photo of Lyndon Baines Johnson being sworn in after the assassination of President Kennedy. Taken on Air Force One.
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Sep 5, 1921 - Apr 26, 2007 1921 - 2007
Added Dec 9, 2016 by: Kathy Pinna
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Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, served from 1969 to 1974. Mr. Nixon was the only president to resign from the White House.
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Jan 9, 1913 - Apr 22, 1994 1913 - 1994
Added Jul 31, 2013 by: Chris Rubio
Chris Rubio
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Shaking hands: A photo of Newsman Thomas L. Dycus Jr. - aka Charlie Brown - shaking hands with then actor Ronald Reagan.
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Sep 19, 1930 - Jun 19, 1998 1930 - 1998
Added Mar 31, 2013 by: Barbie Dycus
Barbie Dycus
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Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd President of the United States, serving in the presidential office from March 4th, 1801 - March 4th, 1909. Thomas Jefferson was preceded by John Adams and was succeeded by James Madison. Thomas Jefferson was a founding father of the United States of America, and was a main author of the United States Declaration of Independence. This portrait of Thomas Jefferson was done by Rembrandt in 1800.
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Apr 13, 1743 - Jul 4, 1826 1743 - 1826
A photo of Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin in Yalta for the conference in which they discussed splitting up Germany after its defeat in World War Two. Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Franklin D Roosevelt was the President of the United States, and Joseph Staliin was the Premier of the Soviet Union. The Yalta Conference was held February 4–11, 1945. "The Big Three" discussed how to reorganize Europe after the end of World War Two. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
A photo of Allan Pinkerton, President Lincoln, and Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand
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Feb 12, 1809 - Apr 15, 1865 1809 - 1865
Abraham Lincoln, three-quarter length portrait, seated and holding his spectacles and a pencil
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Feb 12, 1809 - Apr 15, 1865 1809 - 1865
A photo of Presidents Taft and Coolidge with Wm. M. Lewis, [11/7/23]
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Jan 11, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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A photo of President Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou (Henry) Hoover.
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Aug 10, 1874 - Oct 20, 1964 1874 - 1964
Added Jan 11, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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A photo of President James A. Garfield with his daughter.
A photo of President Taft on the phone
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Sep 15, 1857 - Mar 8, 1930 1857 - 1930
A photo of Barbara Pierce, the future Barbara Bush, wife of President George HW Bush, in a graduation photo from finishing school in Charleston, S.C. She and George Bush were married for 73 years - the longest of any presidential couple. She died on April 17 2018, of natural causes, at her home in Houston, Texas at the age of 92.
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Jun 8, 1925 - Apr 17, 2018 1925 - 2018
Added Apr 17, 2018 by: Kathy Pinna
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A photo of future U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush, a Navy pilot in World War 2, at age 18. Two years later, in 1944, his plane was hit and he had to parachute out of the flaming vehicle - he was in a small raft for 4 hours until he was rescued.
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Jun 12, 1924 - Nov 30, 2018 1924 - 2018
A photo of the Abraham Lincoln-Hannibel Hamlin campaign button for the 1860 presidential election. Born in 1809, he was about 51 years of age at the time this photo was taken. While we remember him as having a beard, he only grew the beard shortly before he was elected. On slavery, he said "Whenever I hear anyone arguing over slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."
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Feb 12, 1809 - Apr 15, 1865 1809 - 1865
A photo of a dog show in 1920; Franklin D. Roosevelt & his eldest - daughter, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.
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May 3, 1906 - Dec 1, 1975 1906 - 1975
Elizabeth Keckley- dressmaker to Mary Todd Lincoln. She was born into slavery and became a successful seamstress, civil activist, author and dressmaker to the First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.
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February 1818 - May 26, 1907 1818 - 1907
President Teddy Roosevelt signing the Thanksgiving Proclamation Act in 1902. President Franklin Roosevelt (Teddy was his cousin and Eleanor's uncle) moved Thanksgiving from the last Thursday of November to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939 to give Americans more time to shop for Christmas! The text of the Proclamation: THANKSGIVING DAY – 1902 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – A PROCLAMATION According to the yearly custom of our people, it falls upon the President at this season to appoint a day of festival and thanksgiving to God. Over a century and a quarter has passed since this country took its place among the nations of the earth, and during that time we have had, on the whole, more to be thankful for than has fallen to the lot of any other people. Generation after generation has grown to manhood and passed away. Each has had to bear its peculiar burdens, each to face its special crisis, and each has known cares of grim trial, when the country was menaced by malice domestic or foreign levy, when the hand of the Lord was heavy upon it in drought or flood or pestilence, when in bodily distress and in anguish of soul it paid the penalty of folly and a froward heart. Nevertheless, decade by decade we have struggled onward and upward; we now abundantly enjoy material well-being, and under the favor of the Most High we are striving earnestly to achieve moral and spiritual uplifting. The year that has just closed has been one of peace and of overflowing plenty. Rarely has any people enjoyed greater prosperity than we are now enjoying. For this we render heartfelt thanks to the giver of Good; and we will seek to praise Him, not by words only, but by deeds, by the way in which we do our duty to ourselves and to our fellow-men. Now, wherefore, I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, do hereby designate as a day of general thanksgiving, Thursday, the twenty-seventh of the coming November, and do recommend that throughout the land the people cease from their ordinary occupations, and in their several homes and places of worship render thanks unto Almighty God for the manifold blessings of the past year. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this twenty-ninth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and two, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-seventh. THEODORE ROOSEVELT
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Oct 27, 1858 - Jan 6, 1919 1858 - 1919
The first televised United States presidential debate was held in Chicago on September 26th, 1960 between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon. There were a total of four televised debates between these two candidates however the first debate gathered the most attention with upwards of 70 million viewers. Most Americans believed that Kennedy had won the first presidential debate. Nixon did not prepare well for the televised event. He had campaigned until a few hours before the debate, refused makeup, and was still recovering from a hospital stay, resulting in his appearing ill. In contrast, Kennedy was well rested, prepared and appeared confident and healthy. While the Kennedy / Nixon presidential debate was the first televised debate, there were previous political debates, most notably the 1858 Senate debates between Abraham Lincoln and Senator Stephen A. Douglas.
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Jan 9, 1913 - Apr 22, 1994 1913 - 1994
A photo of the inauguration of Herbert Hoover on March 4, 1929. Hoover served as the 31st President of the United States for one term, until March 4, 1933. The stock market crash in 1929 and the Great Depression were influential in his not winning a second term. Franklin Roosevelt won and began the first of his terms, overturning many of Hoover's economic policies.
Added Jan 11, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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This is a photo of Warren G. Harding, half-length portrait, seated, at Elks' National Home, Bedford, Va. added by Ancient Faces on January 10, 2012. Elected the 29th President of the United States in 1920, Harding was successor to Woodrow Wilson who had spent the last part of his Presidency extremely ill. Harding therefore ran against Wilson (who was not up for re-election) with the slogan "return to normalcy". However, Harding's Presidency was cut short (about 2.5 yrs) by his own illness. He died in August of 1923 and was succeeded by his Vice-President, Calvin Coolidge. After Harding's death, the Teapot Dome scandal and his extra-marital affairs came to light.
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Nov 2, 1865 - Aug 2, 1923 1865 - 1923
President Woodrow Wilson, seated at desk with his wife, Edith Bolling Galt, standing at his side The previous October, Wilson had suffered a stroke and many believe that Edith became the de facto President of the United States. For the next 1.5 years of his presidency, he was partially paralyzed and blind and also suffered brain damage. The French ambassador to the US said that "Wilson was a non-factor in governance. The real power rested with “Mme. President.”
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Oct 15, 1872 - Dec 28, 1961 1872 - 1961
Added Jan 9, 2012 by: Ancient Faces
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Edith Bolling Galt Wilson was the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson and First Lady of the United States. Some referred to her as "the first woman to run the government" for the role she played when her husband suffered prolonged and disabling illness after a stroke in October 1919. She was born Edith Bolling (seen here at age 15) and married a jeweler, Norman Galt, in 1896. In 1908, her first husband died. She married President Woodrow Wilson (he was President when they met) in 1915. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.
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Oct 15, 1872 - Dec 28, 1961 1872 - 1961
Presidential nominee (later President) Jimmy Carter and his brother Billy Carter in 1976. This was in Plains Georgia at Billy's gas station during a campaign trip. Looks like bbq chicken and white bread to me. Does anyone remember "Billy Beer"? Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, O'Halloran, Thomas J., photographer
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Oct 1, 1924 - Unknown 1924 - ?
Added Sep 7, 2011 by: Kathy Pinna
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A photo of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. You can see in this photo the toll the war was taking on the President. I'm not sure what speech this was or the exact date. This is an unpublished photo by Henry T. Garrett.
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Jan 30, 1882 - Apr 12, 1945 1882 - 1945
President Roosevelt's cowboy breakfast in Hugo, Colorado Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Underwood & Underwood, publisher of stereograph
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Oct 27, 1858 - Jan 6, 1919 1858 - 1919
This is a photo of John Fitzgerald Kennedy added by Amanda S. Stevenson on June 7, 2020.
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May 29, 1917 - Nov 22, 1963 1917 - 1963
Added Jun 7, 2020 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
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This is a photo of Dwight D. Eisenhower, for whom Ann Cook Whitman worked added by Amanda S. Stevenson on June 1, 2020.
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Oct 14, 1890 - March 1969 1890 - 1969
Added Jun 1, 2020 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
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Abraham Lincoln and His Son Tad Lincoln.
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Feb 12, 1809 - Apr 15, 1865 1809 - 1865
Added Jan 3, 2013 by: LaFaye Lincoln
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