The first president to have his picture taken in the White House was Mecklenburg native James K. Polk. The photographer could have caught him on a better day.
In his diary for February 14, 1849, Polk complained about having to deal with office-seekers all morning: “I have great contempt for such persons and dispose of their applications very summarily. They take up much of my time every day. I yielded to the request of an artist named Brady, of New York, by sitting for my daguerreotype likeness today. I sat in the large dining room.”
Mathew Brady, then 27, would later earn wide fame for his Civil War photos.