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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Mathew B. Brady

Other: Brady's Daguerreotype Gallery 
Other: Brady's Gallery 
Other: M.B. Brady 
Other: Mathew Brady 
Other: Matthew B. Brady 
Other: Matthew Brady 
Joint: Mathew Brady's Studio 
Dates:  1823 - 1896, 15 January
Born:  US, NY, Warren County
Died:  US. NY, New York
Active:  US
American photographer best known for portraits of famous contemporary Americans and his photographs of the American Civil War.
His obituary in the New York Times (Jan 19, 1896, p.3) read:
Death of MATTHEW B. BRAD [sic]
The Famous Photographer of War Times
Succumbs to Misfortunes at the
Presbyterian Hospital
Matthew B. Brady, the famous war photographer, died at the Presbyterian Hospital Wednesday night, alone and unnoticed. The hospital books state that he died from Bright's disease, but his death was really due to the misfortunes which have befallen him in recent years. He was seventy-two years old.
Matthew Brady has a double claim to remembrance. He was one of the earliest and for many years the leading photographer of this country.
When the Prince of Wales visited the United States, in 1860, as a slim and handsome youth of nineteen Mr. Brady photographed him. A copy of this photograph was forwarded two years ago to the Prince who acknowledged the receipt in kindly terms.
Bayard Taylor spoke of Mr. Brady in the days before the war as the "court photographer."
During the war Mr. Brady engaged a number of photographers who took upward of 30,000 pictures of battle scenes, showing famous battlefields as they appeared before and after some of the greatest conflicts of the war. Nearly every important paper and illustrated magazine published during war times made use of these photographs.
He hoped the Government would purchase the complete collection, and, although the War Department took the bulk of them, the photographer was never repaid for the time and money he spent.
When he became old and nearly blind, and finally had the additional misfortune to meet with a carriage accident. Mr. Brady became practically dependent on the kindness of his friends.
He was a veteran of the Seventh Regiment, and was cared for by members of that organization and the Artist's Fund Society. It was through their efforts that he was admitted to the Presbyterian Hospital.
Among those whose photographs Mr. Brady took were Webster, Clay, Calhoun, Benton, the two Van Burens, Lincoln, Seward, Chase, "Dolly" Madison, Mrs. Hamilton, Mrs. Polk and Harriet Lane. 
Stereographs project 
Business locations 
Washington, DC, US 
New York City, NY, US 
[4-6] *"Publisher"; "Brady's Album Gallery"; "Brady's Photographic Gallery"; located cor. of Broadway & Tenth Sts., NY, 44-55; 352 Pennsylvania Ave, DC, 48-66. Early & important worker in dags., later became largely or wholly manager and entrepreneur. Opened first studio in NY, 44; opened first studio in Washington, 48 but closed within a year; left George Cook to manage his studio in NY so he could travel throughout Europe for a year, 51; hired Alexander Gardner, 55; reopened Gallery in Washington, 59 and sent Gardner to manage; financial troubles began in early 60s, filed for bankruptcy, 64; remainder of his long life was a series of financial reversals and personal tragedies. While he has often been regarded as a stereo photographer, no stereoviews bearing his imprint have actually been reported. It's therefore unclear whether he personally made any stereos, or indeed photos of any kind except dags in the early days of his career. Many researchers believe that he relied entirely on studio operators or staff photogs in the field starting as early as the middle 50s. James F. Gibson, Timothy O'Sullivan, Alexander Gardner & son James, William F. Powell, David Know, J. Reedie, Stanley Morrow, H. Moulton, Samuel C. Chester and Louis Landy all worked for him at some time. The Anthony Co. provided him supplies on credit to produce a group of civil war views, in return for which they had certain publication rights and issued many hundreds both in stereo and CDV formats. Although commonly known as the "Brady series of war views", it was certainly composed mostly and likely entirely of images made by others. B. 23, D. 1/15/96. For more info. see NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICA, edited by Martha A. Sandweiss. 
T.K. Treadwell & William C. Darrah (Compiled by), Wolfgang, Sell (Updated by), 11/28/2003, Photographers of the United States of America, (National Stereoscopic Association)
Credit: National Stereoscopic Association with corrections and additions by Alan Griffiths and others.
NOTE: You are probably here because you have a stereograph to identify. Please email good quality copies of the front and back to so we can create reference collections for all.

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Further research

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Mathew Brady 
1870 (ca)
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Exhibitions on this website

19th century personalities and studios
ThumbnailMathew B. Brady - Brady's Daguerrean Gallery 
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Theme: War
ThumbnailAmerican Civil War (1861-1865) 
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Visual indexes

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Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer. Go to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online ( has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
 Go to website
The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA has a biography on this photographer. [Scroll down the page on this website as the biography may not be immediately visible.] Go to website
The International Photographers Hall of Fame has provided a biography. Go to website

Internet resources

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Mathew Brady - negatives ... 
Mathew Brady - stereo views ... 
Matthew Brady‘s Portraits ... 
"Still Taking Pictures" An late-in-life interview with Mathew Brady. From The World of 1891. ... 
From The World (New York; 12 April 1891) page 26. An extensively annotated version of this text is published in The Daguerreian Annual 1992, pp. 109-117. 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.60 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.76-77 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Mathew B. Brady.] 
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.92-93 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.242 
• Newhall, Beaumont 1982 The History of Photography - Fifth Edition (London: Secker & Warburg) [One or more photographs by Mathew B. Brady are included in this classic history.] 


Photographic collections are a useful means of examining large numbers of photographs by a single photographer on-line. 

In the 1990 survey of 535 American photographic collections Mathew B. Brady was represented in 96 of the collections. Source: Andrew H. Eskind & Greg Drake (eds.) 1990 Index to American Photographic Collections [Second Enlarged Edition] (Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall & Co.) 


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