Earliest-born people to be photographed


The earliest-born person to be photographed was probably John Adams, who was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on 22 January 1745, the son of Captain Thomas Adams and Lydia Chadwick. A shoemaker, he died on 26 February 1849, in Harford, Pennsylvania, aged 104, having made himself a new pair of shoes in his final year. A photographic copy of a daguerreotype (the whereabouts of the original being unknown) is in the possession of the Susquehanna County Historical Society. This image is from Taylor (2013).


a popular contender at present appears to be Hannah Stilley Gorby (born about 1746, died 1840–1850). The original daguerreotype has been missing for some years, but this copy was printed in Alva Gorby’s 1936 book The Gorby Family, History and Genealogy. NB most public member trees on Ancestry give her year of death as 1840, which would mean the individual in the photograph is almost certainly not Hannah Stilley Gorby. Alva Gorby’s book merely says it is “not known” where she died or was buried; although the portrait is indeed reproduced, it is not referred to in the text as a daguerreotype (though it certainly looks photographic).
If it wasn’t Hannah Stilley Gorby, the earliest-born photographed woman so far located is Elizabeth Cutler (23 December 1753 – May 1849), of Holliston, Massachusetts, of whom a daguerreotype in the possession of the New England Historic Genealogical Society is reproduced in Taylor.