James Polk

Matthew Brady’s New York Photo Studio

Polk became the first sitting president to have photographs taken by Mathew Brady in his New York City Studio.

Abraham Lincoln

Plymouth Church

Lincoln’s Pew at Plymouth Church

In February 1860, Lincoln, who had not yet announced his presidential candidacy, was invited to speak at Plymouth Church, in Brooklyn Heights. At the last moment, the Young Men’s Republican Union moved the speech to the Great Hall of Cooper Union, possibly due to a fear that not enough people would come out to Brooklyn to hear Lincoln speak. Many view the speech as the moment at which Lincoln secured the Republican nomination. Despite the change in venue, Lincoln still visited the church the day before his speech, and the pew in which he sat is marked by a silver plaque. Returning to the city three weeks later, Lincoln again worshiped at the church, making it (according to the church) the only one in the city which Lincoln attended.

Before giving his rousing speech, Lincoln stopped by Brady’s New York City studio where he was photographed by Brady for the first time