The first sitting American president who formally posed for a photograph was William Henry Harrison in 1841. It may have been his top accomplishment — he died a month into his presidency.

Since Harrison, studio photographers and White House cameramen have searched and positioned themselves for the perfect, candid poses of the commander in chief.

Twenty-one years after Harrison sat for the inaugural presidential portrait, Fort Whipple was constructed on the hills overlooking Washington, D.C., and the Potomac River. Whipple eventually became Fort Myer and cameras would soon find presidents when they visited the home of the Signal Corps and 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

There is a rich presidential photographic history of chief executives and first families on Fort Myer. William Howard Taft watched the Wright Military Flyer from the rear seat of an automobile, Woodrow Wilson rallied the doughboys on Summerall Field, Ike greeted Mamie on General’s Row, and George Herbert Walker Bush participated in a toast at Patton Hall.

And cameras recorded all those events on Fort Myer.

Five other photographs of presidents or their Family members are included on this page.

Pentagram Staff Writer Jim Dresbach can be reached at