See what the US presidents looked like before they were leaders

It's hard to picture what American presidents were like before they left their marks on domestic and foreign policy.

But we've collected old photos of US presidents to give a little taste of who they once were.

Naturally, not every president is on the list since photography wasn't widely used during the United States' earlier history.

The photos are listed in reverse chronological order, starting with current US President Donald Trump:

US Presidents when they were young
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US Presidents when they were young

US President Donald Trump as a child.

The President captioned the photo 'Who knew this innocent kid would grow into a monster? #TBT#Trump'

Photo Credit: Donald Trump/Instagram

Barack Obama with his grandparents, Stanley Armour Dunham and Madelyn Dunham, in New York in the 1980s.

Photo Credit: Obama for America

George W Bush dons his Yale cap on campus. 

Photo Credit: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

A young Bill Clinton sits astride a pony near his childhood home of Hope, Arkansas.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jeff Mitchell

George H. W. Bush, captain of the Yale baseball team, in 1947.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/George Bush Presidential Library and Museum/Handout 

Ronald Reagan, then a 27-year old actor, in 1938.

Photo Credit: John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

A wee Jimmy Carter lays on the ground.

Photo Credit Getty

Gerald Ford on the University of Michigan football team, 1933. The team won two national championships and his teammates voted him MVP. A fellow football player remarked that his teammates "felt he was one guy who could stay and fight for a losing cause."

Photo Credit: Wikimedia via Gerald R. Ford Library

Richard Nixon played the violin in his high school orchestra.


He could also play saxophone, accordion, and piano. Later when president, he presented Duke Ellington with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on the musician's birthday, and then both played and sang 'Happy Birthday' for him.

You can see a clip of Nixon playing "Happy Birthday" for Ellington here.

Source: History.comThe White House Historical Association

Photo Credit: Getty 

Lyndon B. Johnson at his family home in the Texas hill country near Stonewall, Texas, 1915.

After finishing a year of college, he taught at a primarily Mexican-American school in southern Texas. Recalling the experience after he signed the Higher Education Act of 1965, he said, "I shall never forget the faces of the boys and the girls in that little Welhausen Mexican School, and I remember even yet the pain of realizing and knowing then that college was closed to practically every one of those children because they were too poor."

Source:"Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

John F. Kennedy is third from left, standing with the Harvard Swim Team.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A young Dwight D Eisenhower (1890 - 1969) on his graduation from West Point Military Academy in New York. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Postcard photo of Harry S. Truman taken in France during World War I. On the other side of the postcard it said, "Given to John A. Hatfield in France in 1918 - returned to Harry S. Truman in January, 1962."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Franklin Delano Roosevelt playing with a bow and arrow circa 1890.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A portrait of the young Herbert Hoover, ca. 1897.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Calvin Coolidge, then-Governor of Massachusetts, preparing to milk a cow, circa 1920.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States, as he appeared at age 21 in 1886. He then owned a newspaper, the Marion Star.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A young Woodrow Wilson. Wilson's diplomatic actions during and after WWI have left their mark on virtually all US foreign policy from the end of that war to today.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Theodore Roosevelt ranching and hunting in the Dakota Territory in 1885.

When he was younger, TR had a weak heart and was advised by a doctor from going up the stairs too quickly. "Doctor," he replied, "I'm going to do all the things you tell me not to do. If I've got to live the sort of life you have described, I don't care how short it is."

Source: "Real Life at the White House: Two Hundred Years of Daily Life at America's Most Famous Residence."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

William Howard Taft's class photo from Yale College, 1878.

Not only did Taft become president, but he was also later the Chief Justice, which makes him the only person to hold the highest seat in both the executive and judicial branches of US government.


Photo Credit: Wikimedia via Yale University

William McKinley, aged 15, circa 1858. He enlisted in the Union Army as a private after the Civil War began, and ended with the rank of brevet major.

Source: "Real Life at the White House: Two Hundred Years of Daily Life at America's Most Famous Residence."

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

An early and undated photograph of Grover Cleveland. He's the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Benjamin Harrison, probably photographed during his college years, circa 1850.

His grandfather, William Henry Harrison, was elected president (although he died from pneumonia 31 days into office) and his great-grandfather, Benjamin Harrison V, was one of the Founding Fathers.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Chester Arthur, then a young lawyer, before his marriage to Ellen Herndon in 1859.

A few years earlier, he successfully represented a black woman, Elizabeth Jennings Graham, who was denied a seat on a streetcar in New York City due to her race. This helped lead to the desegregation of all New York transit systems in 1865.


Photo Credit: Wikimedia

James A. Garfield, circa 1847. His father died when he was two years old, and so he earned money for school by driving canal boat teams.

Source: The White House

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife on their wedding day, December 30, 1852.

 Later, he was nominated to run for Congress while he was still in the Army during the Civil War. He accepted, but would not campaign, saying: "An officer fit for duty who at this crisis would abandon his post to electioneer... ought to be scalped."

Source: The White House

Photo Credit: Wikimedia



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