Adams understood the importance of the images and had many portraits made of him. In the 1840s printers used the daguerreotype revealed in France in 1839 to create the original images from which they produced their lithographs in series.
Adams' personal diary is detailed. On 8 and 16 March 1843 he visits the studio of Philip Haas in Washington DC. Each shot lasts half a minute during which the former president retains this austere attitude that suits his political commitment so well.
The three half-plate 5 x 4 inches photos made by Haas in the second session are very successful : the old man sits comfortably in an armchair in front of the painted mural of the workshop, his gaze is straight and the sharpness is excellent. Haas will produce a lithographic edition of one of these images.
The former president had priority against a Vermont representative who was visiting Haas on the same day. Perhaps for apologizing he presented to him one of his photos. Very recently resurfaced in the family of that first owner, it is authenticated as an original by a handwritten dedication note by Adams on the back.
This daguerreotype is estimated $ 150K for sale by Sotheby's in New York on October 5, lot 147. It has been rarely handled and is in very good condition.
This piece is the oldest surviving original photograph of an American president. The original of WH Harrison's magnificent portrait made during his very short presidency in 1841 is lost and was probably scrapped long time ago after making copies.
SOLD for $ 360K including premium