John Wood was the U.S. government’s first official photographer. He took the photograph of Lincoln's First Inauguration as well as the inauguration of James Buchanan in 1857, thought to be the first known photograph of a Presidential inauguration. Wood made the 1857 exposure in four seconds.
Wood was hired in May 1856 by Montgomery C. Meigs, the Architect of the Capitol, to take photographs of building projects in the Washington D.C. area. Wood was a "photographic draftsman" for the U.S. Capitol expansion project from 1856 to 1861, mostly taking photographs of architectural drawings.
Wood went on to be a Civil War photographer, contributing to Alexander Gardner's book Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War along with James F. Gibson. He also photographed maps during the war for General George McClellan.
According to Roy Meredith’s Mr. Lincoln’s Cameraman, Matthew Brady himself personally accompanied General George B. McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign into Virginia at the beginning of April 1862, departing Fortress Monroe with Gibson, David B. Woodbury, and John Wood, plus two mobile darkrooms. Photographer George Barnard was also sent along by Gardner, who had been managing Brady's Washington studio.
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- "Journal Entry of Montgomery C. Meigs, February 17, 1857, written in shorthand by Meigs". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
- "Here's the first known photo of a US Presidential Inauguration". DPReview. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
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- "John Wood (active 1850s-1870s)". Salt Prints at Harvard. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
- "Titian Ramsay Peale: Washington, D.C., in collodion". National Museum of American History. 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
- Gugliotta, Guy (2012-02-28). Freedom's Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-1-4299-6922-2.
- O'Harrow, Robert (2017-10-24). The Quartermaster: Montgomery C. Meigs, Lincoln's General, Master Builder of the Union Army. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4516-7193-3.
- "Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War. Images by Photographer". Welcome | Rare and Manuscript Collections. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
- Meredith, Roy (1946). Mr. Lincoln's Camera Man: Mathew B. Brady. Charles Scribner's Sons.
- "Fort Moultrie, SC, Personages".
- Ruminski, Jarret (1970). A Terrible Fascination:' Civil War Photography and the Advent of Photographic Realism. Youngstown State University, M.A. in History Thesis.
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