Mathew B. Brady (Mathew B. Brady)

Mathew B. Brady

Photographer. He was born in Warren City, New York. He had studied painting before being attracted to the photographic process of Louis Daguerre. He opened a portrait studio in New York during the 1840s, utilizing the improved daguerreotype. Eventually he also set up a studio in Washington D.C., where his cameras caught the images of most of the famous people of the era. At the beginning of the Civil War he was determined to accompany the troops into the field and record the scenes of camps and battlefields utilizing the newer wet-plate process. Clad in his linen duster and straw hat, he set off with his darkroom wagon following the Union army to Manassas, Virginia. Caught up in the Federal rout at First Bull Run, he managed to salvage the plates he had exposed on the battlefield. From there on with his eyesight failing, he relied on his corps of assistants, most notably Alexander Gardner, Timothy O’Sullivan, and James F. Gibson, to cover the war. He did however accompany his teams into the field frequently, as is evidenced by the numerous exposures in which he is included. Work in the field could also prove dangerous as he came under fire with his crews at Fredericksburg and Petersburg. Many of his assistants resented the lack of credit and either joined other firms or set up their own. After the war, he added to his collection of war pictures, but was not financially successful. Ruined by his efforts, he sold his historic collection of over 5,000 negatives to the United States government for $25,000. Plagued by illness and near-poverty in his later years, he died in a charity hospital in New York City. Today the Brady Collection, preserved in the Library of Congress, is one of this country’s national treasures. (bio by: Ugaalltheway)  Family links:  Spouse:  Julia A Handy Brady (1823 – 1887)* *Calculated relationship


  • May, 18, 1822
  • USA


  • January, 01, 1896
  • USA


  • Congressional Cemetery
  • USA

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