A photo of the 6th U.S. President John Quincy Adams from sometime around 1843. Although this isn’t the oldest photograph of a U.S. President, it may be the oldest surviving photo of one of the earliest U.S. Presidents.
There is a photo of William Henry Harrison from 1841, which is probably the oldest surviving photo of a sitting U.S. President. The photo of Adams above was taken after he was already out of office.
So, in other words, unless I’m misunderstanding the source material above, the 6th President of the United States is the first president we actually have a photograph of, although it was after he was already out of office. There is one other photo of Adams from 1843 that may be older, but not much is known about the photo above, so it’s difficult to know for sure which one is older. See the other photo below, and read more about it here.
Akkadian Word of the Week
ekallum "royal palace (as building and as authority), temple"
The Akkadian word for palace, ekallum, comes from the Sumerian compound logogram É.GAL, which are the first two signs in the cuneiform brick inscription in the top photo (cropped and zoomed in the bottom photo). The É represents the Sumerian word for “house”, and the GAL represents the Sumerian “great” or “large”. As is clear from the sound of the word, the Sumerian É.GAL was loaned into Akkadian as ekallum. Now housed in the British Museum, the clay brick pictured above bears an inscription of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon (r. 680-669 BCE) and lists his patronymic.
Sources: Chicago Assyrian Dictionary E, British Museum.
July 24th 1911: Bingham at Machu Picchu
On this day in 1911, American historian Hiram Bingham III with his Peruvian guides arrived at the Inca site of Machu Picchu in the mountains of Peru. Machu Picchu is a 15th Century Inca estate built for emperor Pachacuti which was abandoned as a result of the Spanish conquest. The site lay largely undisturbed for hundreds of years, with only locals knowing of its existence. However, with Bingham’s arrival at the site it became known to the wider world and was studied scientifically; he is thus attributed with ‘re-discovering’ the erroneously called ‘Lost City of the Incas’. Bingham took artefacts from the site to Yale University for examination and only recently has the university agreed to return them to Peru. In the years since Bingham’s expedition, his grandoise claims of how he trekked through wilderness to find the ‘lost city’ have been discredited and instead it has been stressed how the site was accessible and well known to locals. However he is still renowned as the man who introduced the world to this spectacular sight. Restoration work began soon after Bingham’s expedition and the site has since become a major tourist attraction.
July 22, 1933: Wiley Post completes first solo around-the-world flight in 7 Days
On this day in 1933, American aviator Wiley Post returned to New York after traveling 15,596 miles in the first solo around-the-world flight. The flight lasted 7 days, 18 hours, and 49 minutes, during which time Post made 11 stops for fuel and rest.
Post’s plane, the Winnie Mae (named for his daughter), is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. In 1931, he completed an 8-day around-the-world trip on this plane along with navigator Harold Gatty.
Photo: “Winnie Mae” a Lockheed Vega aircraft of Wiley Post, when it was on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Wikimedia Commons.
History. Vintage Photographs. Classic Art.
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