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U.S. Presidents

Smithsonian Magazine

Cupcake Presidents

Smithsonian Magazine
Pastry artist Zilly Rosen renders Presidents Lincoln and Obama in cupcake form at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Meredith Bragg). Read more at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Inauguration-2009.html

Presidents' Signatures

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Red colorway

Recollecting the Presidents

Smithsonian Magazine

Back in the old days, when the political conventions still chose the Presidential candidates, Smithsonian curator Herbert Collins would cruise the littered aisles and floors, alert for relics to take home to immortality in the Smithsonians collections. Several generations of dedicated curators have gathered such objects for what is today the National Museum of American Historys political history collection. Here reside mementos of the Presidents of the United States beginning with George Washington.

The Smithsonians Presidential connection also includes the immensely popular collection of gowns of the First Ladies, many worn at inaugural balls, which have themselves often been held in Smithsonian buildings. And it was former President John Quincy Adams, elected to the House of Representatives after his single term in the White House, who played a leading role in the creation of the Smithsonian in 1846.

After the Smithsonians own inauguration, people wasted little time bringing Presidential items to the Institution. But the accumulation of relics has not always been evenly spread across those who served. In the case of some Presidents, like Washington and Lincoln, the collections are strong. On the other hand, Chester A. Arthurs list includes a fishing reel, a cartoon and little else.

When the Smithsonian decided to honor the Presidency during the 2000 election year with The American Presidency, a major exhibition at the National Museum of American History, planners studied the holdings to see what objects they could use to shape such a show. But this is the Smithsonian, after all, and museum exhibits and storerooms yielded a cornucopia of astonishingly varied Presidential artifacts. Meanwhile, the Smithsonian Institution Press weighed in with an impressive catalog also entitled The American Presidency, and a traveling exhibition from the collections of the National Portrait Gallery presented Presidential Portraits.

So, long after this years election is history, people will still be able to go to the Smithsonian and see the Real Stuff of the Presidents. We came to realize that doing an exhibition on the American Presidency is a humbling experience, says Harry Rubenstein, who, with Spencer Crew and Lonnie Bunch, oversaw the preparation of the show, but thanks to our rich collections, we have been able to offer a unique view of the office and the individuals who occupied it.

Future exhibitions at the museum will be much aided by a recent $80 million gift. The donation was made by California philanthropist Kenneth E. Behring.

Presidents and invention

National Museum of American History

United States Presidents

National Museum of American History

Portfolio of Eight Presidents

National Portrait Gallery

Portfolio of Eight Presidents

National Portrait Gallery

Portfolio of Eight Presidents

National Portrait Gallery

Presidents of the United States

National Museum of American History

Portfolio of Eight Presidents

National Portrait Gallery

The Hall of Presidents

Smithsonian Magazine
Senior historian Sid Hart discusses the highlights of the National Portrait Gallerys Hall of Presidents. (Filmed and Edited by Ryan Reed / Produced by Beth Py-Lieberman, Megan Gambino and Jesse Rhodes). Read more at http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/aroundthemall/2009/02/tour-the-portrait-gallerys-hall-of-presidents-on-presidents-day/

Party with the Presidents

National Portrait Gallery
Children standing with large-headed president mascots wearing baseball jerseys

Portfolio of Eight Presidents

National Portrait Gallery

Portfolio of Eight Presidents

National Portrait Gallery

Passion for the Presidents

National Portrait Gallery
A group of women standing in a semi-circle and smiling at the camera

The Presidents House, Washington

National Museum of American History
Identified as the President’s House, this early view of the White House is a black and white line engraving depicting a Greek Revival-style building with two stories and a lower level. The image, a view during the Jackson presidency, features the South Portico and curved paths framed by brick walls.

During this period much attention was given to the grounds, walks, shrubbery, and flower gardens, which were the pride of the president, the White House gardener John Ousley, and city gardener Jemmy Mahler. The White House was popularly known as President’s House, President’s Mansion, or President’s Palace during the period. It was formally named the Executive Mansion from 1810 until 1901 until Theodore Roosevelt established the name White House–Washington. This print is similar to prints of British and European palaces and estates, proclaiming a national pride in the home of the American president. The print would have been published in a view book with other like engravings and purchased as a gift, commemorative, or souvenir of Washington by an affluent member of society.

The publishing company Carter, Andrews & Co. was based out of Lancaster Massachusetts. Established in the 1830’s, the original drawing appears to have been created by H. Brown during this period but may have been published later.

Portfolio of Eight Presidents

National Portrait Gallery

(Dr. Miles) Our Presidents

National Museum of American History

Our Three Great Presidents

National Museum of American History
After Lincoln’s assassination, prints depicting George Washington and Abraham Lincoln together became popular, the former imagined as the father of the nation, the latter as its savior. This print also celebrates Grant for the role he played in preserving the national unity Washington had fought to establish a little less than a century before. Printed in 1872, it was likely produced to promote the General’s campaign for re-election that year, which he easily won.

James B. Duff was a Pittsburgh lithographer active in the second half of the 19th century. During the Civil War, he was severely injured while fighting in the Pennsylvania 39th Infantry Regiment during the Battle of Chancellorsville. After his recovery, he became a lithographer and established the firm Duff & Wettach with Edward Wettach in 1872. In the 1880s, he worked for Duff Manufacturing of Pittsburgh, which fabricated mechanical products. In the 1890s, he was employed by the US Postal Service.

Presidents of the United States

National Portrait Gallery

Poking Fun at the Presidents

Smithsonian Magazine

Picturing the Presidents (Full Episode)

Smithsonian Channel
Citizens have the power to elect a president, but even after the election, artists have the power to commemorate or condemn them. From the Show: Picturing the Presidents http://bit.ly/2CO6z3G Watch more of Smithsonian Channel's full episodes on http://tv.youtube.com
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