19th century photographs of the US Government in session prior to 1865. Where are they?

KorbenDallas

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#1
I have mentioned this "little" issue before, so, naturally, just wanted to suggest a combined effort of sorts. When was the earliest known photograph of the United States Government in session taken? I keep on running into nothing but drawings. The best I could come up with was this 1874 (allegedly) photograph of the 43rd US Congress posing on the stairs of the Capitol Building in Washington DC. Stairs are good, but where is anything in session? How about any State Government in session prior to 1865?

Group Photo
1874-43rd-Us_Congress.jpeg

Below is an example of what I keep on finding - drawings, drawings, and more drawings.

In Session
1874 - The United States Senate in session.jpg

KD: May be I'm just not good with locating any photos pertaining to this specific topic. Please see if you can locate any actual photographs of the US Government in Session pertaining to the 19th century. (prior to the end of the Civil War would be ideal, any 19th century "in session"photo would be great)

If you end up running into the same issue I did, what do you think the reason for the absence of such photographs is? Sure it can not be the lack of proper photographic technology. The tech was there between 1840 and 1865. I might have an idea :unsure: what about you?
 

Glumlit

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#2
Just wasted a bunch of time searching for photographs related to the inaugurations of...

William Harrison 1841
John Tyler 1841
James Polk 1845
Zachary Taylor 1849
Millard Fillmore 1850
Franklin Pierce 1853
James Buchanan 1857

Nothing but drawings. But even the drawings don't have flags
 

Magnetic

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#3
Could this lack of evidence be due to disasters from 1812 and so on where so much infra structure and people deaths dislocated the functioning of government? People in the public spotlight love to have themselves photographed, there is something wrong here with the lack of photographic proof.
 

Ice Nine

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#4
Yeah I spent at least an hour looking through photos from the civil war era, well right before too and nothing, anything government related just alot of drawings and pretty much just the same drawings.
 
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#6
hidden_hand.jpg

That hidden hand keeps pooping up​
I have mentioned this "little" issue before, so, naturally, just wanted to suggest a combined effort of sorts. When was the earliest known photograph of the United States Government in session taken? I keep on running into nothing but drawings. The best I could come up with was this 1874 (allegedly) photograph of the 43rd US Congress posing on the stairs of the Capitol Building in Washington DC. Stairs are good, but where is anything in session? How about any State Government in session prior to 1865?

Group Photo
View attachment 11421
Below is an example of what I keep on finding - drawings, drawings, and more drawings.

In Session
View attachment 11422
KD: May be I'm just not good with locating any photos pertaining to this specific topic. Please see if you can locate any actual photographs of the US Government in Session pertaining to the 19th century. (prior to the end of the Civil War would be ideal, any 19th century "in session"photo would be great)

If you end up running into the same issue I did, what do you think the reason for the absence of such photographs is? Sure it can not be the lack of proper photographic technology. The tech was there between 1840 and 1865. I might have an idea :unsure: what about you?
Maybe US history before that time did not exist.
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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#7
Maybe US history before that time did not exist.
Or may be the history of the current world setup did not?

Do we have any 1840-1870 photographs of any working government from any other country in the world? Or any 19th century photo for that matter?
 
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#10
The story writers of our current realm must have been working long and hard to pull this off. Someone paints you a picture and attaches a story to it and presto a fake reality. A slight of hand , a hidden hand and always leaving codes in plain sight. How can we trust anything written today. What I see is a lot things that never made sense, but never dared to question.
 

Searching

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#11
Just wasted a bunch of time searching for photographs related to the inaugurations of...

William Harrison 1841
John Tyler 1841
James Polk 1845
Zachary Taylor 1849
Millard Fillmore 1850
Franklin Pierce 1853
James Buchanan 1857

Nothing but drawings. But even the drawings don't have flags
I just learned John Tyler has 2 living grandsons: President John Tyler Has 2 Living Grandsons

Maybe they have pics. lol.
 

esgee1

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#13
Here are some public domain photos of the United States Government in the 19th century. The latter photos display flags. I thought finding such photos should be easy, but that wasn't the case. Took longer than I would have expected.

I suspect that a lot of 19th century photos of the government may have gotten destroyed over time. Fires and that lot at archives and such and improper storage, which is a shame to lose such valuable pieces of photographic history.

The older photos presented here display damage and wear and tear. I suspect there could be more, hidden away in archives, people's attics or private collections. And haven't been digitized yet for all our viewing pleasure. The following photos I found here:

 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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#14
Interesting how in 1857 they did not like to display US flags.

Inauguration of James Buchanan, President of the United States, at the east front of the U. S....jpg
So far we can not find any working "in session" photograph. Of particular interest would be anything pre-1861:1865, pre-Civil War so to speak.

I'm wondering what year the very first photograph inside the building would be. In the above @Monkwee post we have 1932.

By the way, those are some nice 1889 umbrellas.

1889_umbrella.jpg

Same year when in Seattle they still did not know that wooden structures have a tendency to burn.
 
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#15

esgee1

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#17
My understanding is that prior the US Civil War, our country was more focused on the individual states and their sovereignty. A plural "United States" so to speak. This being in part is what led us into a Civil War, the fight over individual state's sovereignty.

Basically the Federal Government won the Civil War and began consolidating power shifting the focus to a singular "United States". And this could be why the "United States" flag starts showing up in photos of government proceedings (as well as seeing people waving the flag around too).

This could be the explanation we're searching for. Or part of it.
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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#18
They sure did order hundreds of drawings depicting all those things we do not see on the missing photographs. That includes flags and Government in session.

As a plausible explanation, that could definitely work, but that does not explain the absence of the photos.
 

esgee1

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#19
Thank you for the civil discourse. This is such a fascinating topic! I haven't looked through so many fascinating old photographs from the mid 1800s as I have in the last couple of days. Mostly I'm only able to find portrait photos of government servants from this time period. But, here are a few more photos I've come across tonight (lots more can be found here, maybe you will discover something I overlooked) :


 

Monkwee

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#20
Here's some more that i found pretty bizarre/fascinating:

President of the C.S.A. Jefferson Davis' inauguration:
davisinaug-copy.jpg

This is a soldier from the 8th Pennsylvania Reserve Regiment, also known as the 37th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, was an infantry regiment that served as in the Union Army as part of the Pennsylvania Reserves infantry division during the American Civil War.

8threserves.jpg

and this one of (what might be the corpse of) Robert E. Lee, takes the cake for weirdest, is this a painting, photograph or mixture of both?

lee.jpg
 

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