The Portraits

The Portraits

Make thousands of new acquaintances! Featuring scientists, statesmen, and film stars, glimpsed through rare nineteenth-century daguerreotypes or year-old digital video, the National Portrait Gallery collections bring you face to face with America. Get to know us better. Browse, search, explore, and visit.

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Collection Highlights

  • First Ladies

    The National Portrait Gallery is well-known for our collection of presidential portraits, but we also have a comprehensive collection of the nation's first ladies...

  • Presidential Portraits

    The nation's only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House, this exhibition lies at the heart of the Portrait Gallery's mission to tell the American story through the individuals who have shaped it.

  • Time Magazine Collection

    An extensive collection of cover art from Time magazine.

  • Grant and Lee

    The rivalry between generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee is one of the most memorable in American military history. Lee was a polished and seemingly invincible Confederate commander who encountered Grant, a rough-hewn upstart, in the Virginia campaigns of 1864 and 1865. Grant and Lee both stand alone as genuine world historical individuals in their impact on America, but they are also are the product of their relationship to each other.

  • Miniatures

    Portrait miniatures are small, engaging, painted likenesses usually created as love tokens or personal mementoes. They were very popular during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. By the 1840s, with the rise of photographic processes, small portraits were often made in that medium as well. In the later nineteenth century, portrait miniatures, often painted by women, experienced a great revival.

  • Daguerreotypes

    Highlights from the Gallery's remarkable collection of daguerreotypes, the earliest practical form of photography.

  • One Life: The Mask of Lincoln

    In the two-hundredth year since his birth, Abraham Lincoln remains as much a puzzle as he was to his contemporaries. That he came from nothing and was an obscure figure, almost to the moment of his nomination for the presidency, only adds to his mystery. His essential nature remains elusive, despite our best efforts to reveal the "real" Lincoln. Perhaps, though, that very mysteriousness is the key to his character and personality.

  • Women's Suffrage

    The seed for the first Woman's Rights Convention was planted in 1840, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton met Lucretia Mott at the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, the conference that refused to seat Mott and other women delegates from America because of their sex. Stanton, the young bride of an antislavery agent, and Mott, a Quaker preacher and veteran of reform, talked then of calling a convention to address the condition of women. Eight years later, it came about as a spontaneous event.