The Edmondson Blog

The Oldest People Ever Photographed

Mary Buckingham died in 1851, aged 101, so was born in 1750. This photograph was taken on her 100th birthday in 1850.

William Richardson, shown here with his wife, Jane, was born in 1773. He was press-ganged into the Navy in 1795 and served in HMS Bellerophon at the Battle of the Nile under Nelson where he was wounded by wooden splinters from cannon fire. On returning to England to recuperate, the stagecoach he was travelling on was stopped by a press-gang and he only escaped being re-pressed because he was riding inside. His colleagues who were riding outside were not so lucky.

John Quincy Adams was born on 11th July, 1767, and went on to become the sixth President of the United States from March 4, 1825 to March 4, 1829. He was the son of the second President John Adams and his wife Abigail. This is one of the two known photographs of him.

Robert Morvinson was a carrier and shoemaker from Stallingborough, Lincolnshire. This photo of him was taken in 1857 when he was age 82, so he was born in 1775, making him one of the earliest born people ever to be photographed. He was born when the United States was still a British colony, and Bonnie Prince Charlie was still alive.

It was rare to see people smile in early photos, partly becasue the exposure was several minutes long and so the subject would have a hidden clamp around their neck to keep their head still, but also because it was generally considered unfashionable and bad mannered to smile because so many people had such bad teeth.

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