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Every US president's and first lady's official portraits

  • First Lady: Julia Grant

    - Years active: 1869–1877

    Mathew Brady, a renowned Civil War photographer, took the picture that stands as First Lady Julia Grant’s official portrait. Brady, called the father of photojournalism, was the first to document a war at his own personal expense. Grant is buried in New York City’s Grant’s Tomb, next to her husband.

  • President: Rutherford B. Hayes

    - Years active: 1877–1881

    Daniel Huntington composed President Rutherford B. Hayes’ official portrait in 1884, which led to his commission for Chester A. Arthur’s portrait in 1885. A prominent member of The Hudson River School of landscape art early in his career, Huntington turned to portraiture and produced over 1,000 works of art.

  • First Lady: Lucy Hayes

    - Years active: 1877–1881

    First Lady Lucy Hayes, similarly to her husband, was painted by Daniel Huntington for her official White House portrait. Hayes helped complete the presidential and first lady portrait catalog, lobbying Congress to buy an official portrait of Martha Washington. Huntington was the subject of the first one-man exhibition in New York’s art scene.

  • President: James A. Garfield

    - Years active: 1881

    Calvin Curtis painted James A. Garfield’s 38 x 30⅞-inch official White House portrait in 1881. The portrait was presented in March of 1881, during Garfield’s short tenure. Garfield served just four months in office before he was assassinated on July 2, 1881 at a Washington D.C. railway station.

  • First Lady: Lucretia Garfield

    - Years active: 1881

    Civil War photographer Mathew Brady took the official portrait photograph of First Lady Lucretia Garfield. Brady’s work is seen nearly every day by most Americans, as his photograph of Abraham Lincoln was used for the $5 bill. A member of the International Photography Hall of Fame, Brady was the first photographer to completely document a war.

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  • President: Chester A. Arthur

    - Years active: 1881–1885

    Artist Daniel Huntington captured the official portrait of 21st President Chester A. Arthur during the final year of his administration in 1885. Huntington was a renowned New York artist who belonged to the Hudson River School art movement best known for their landscapes. Upon turning to portraiture later in his career, Huntington painted notable figures like poet William Cullen Bryant, and presidents Martin Van Buren and Abraham Lincoln.

  • First Lady: Ellen Arthur

    - Years active: 1881

    First Lady Ellen Arthur’s official photograph was taken between 1857 and 1870, according to the Library of Congress. Arthur caught pneumonia and passed away in 1880, shortly after her husband was elected vice president, and one year before the assassination of President James Garfield.

  • Hostess: Mary Arthur McElroy

    - Years active: 1881–1885

    President Chester Arthur never remarried upon his wife’s death, but his sister, Mary Arthur McElroy, took over hostess duties for the remainder of his presidency. Renowned engraver and publisher John Sartain created the steel engraving of McElroy for her official portrait. Sartain was a close friend of poet Edgar Allan Poe, and his publication, “Sartain’s Union Magazine of Literature and Art,” was the first to publish “The Bells” in 1849.

  • President: Grover Cleveland

    - Years active: 1885–1889/1893–1897

    President Stephen Grover Cleveland, America’s only president to serve two non-consecutive terms, had his 53 ¾ x 42 ⅜-inch oil on canvas portrait painted by Eastman Johnson. Much of Johnson's work focused on Native American communities and well-known leaders from various tribes. Cleveland, also the only president to be married at the White House, lost the presidency to Benjamin Harrison in 1888 before defeating Harrison and returning to the White House in 1893.

  • Hostess: Rose Cleveland

    - Years active: 1885–1886

    Rose Cleveland fulfilled the hostess role for her presidential brother for one year before he wed Frances Folsom in June 1886. She held the role of first lady for the dedication of the Statue of Liberty before pursuing a career in literature.

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