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Colonel Harlan Sanders

Yousuf Karsh, 23 Dec 1908 - 13 Jul 2002
Harland Sanders, 9 Sep 1890 - 16 Dec 1980
Gelatin silver print
Image: 34 × 26.8 cm (13 3/8 × 10 9/16")
Sheet: 42.9 × 35.6 cm (16 7/8 × 14")
Mount: 48.3 × 40.7 cm (19 × 16")
Mat (Karsh exhibit): 71.1 × 55.9 cm (28 × 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of Yousuf Karsh
Object number
Exhibition Label
Harland Sanders perfected his signature fried chicken in 1939 while operating a gas station, motel, and roadside café in rural Corbin, Kentucky. Traditional fried chicken took as long as thirty minutes to cook, but Sanders discovered he could produce a juicy, flavorful product in as little as eight to nine minutes by using one of the newly introduced pressure cookers. His distinctive chicken remained the café’s principal attraction until 1956, when Sanders sold the business after learning that a new interstate highway would bypass Corbin by seven miles. Armed with pressure cookers and his secret blend of “eleven herbs and spices,” the sixty-six-year-old Sanders took to the road to build a franchise network for his unique “Kentucky Fried Chicken.” He met with phenomenal success. In 1964, when Sanders sold the majority of his holdings for $2 million, there were 900 Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in the United States, Canada, England, and Japan.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection