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Daguerreotype of President and Mrs. Polk

Daguerreotype of President and Mrs. Polk

Photographer
Bruce White
Credit
James K. Polk Ancestral Home Collection

Daguerreotype of President and Mrs. Polk

The daguerreotype of President and Mrs. Polk was made by John Plumbe’s studio in Washington, D.C., 1848–49. The first lady is wearing a watered silk cloak, covered by a lace shawl. Her headdress sports a tassel framing the left side of her face. Cameos, such as the one seen at her throat here, were a favorite form of jewelry. The Polks, from conservative southern families, assumed their responsibilities with great care. Mrs. Polk banished alcohol and dancing from the President's House, limited entertaining to traditional events, and rigidly observed the Sabbath. Half-plate daguerreotype, approximately 5 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches, probably by John Plumbe, Jr., c 1846.

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