A Guide to the Mathew Brady Photographs, ca. 1860s
Mathew B. Brady (ca. 1823 - 1896) was a pioneer photojournalist, most famous for documenting the Civil War. Brady was born in New York to parents who had immigrated from Ireland. He studied photography under Samuel F. B. Morse, who had introduced photography to America. He opened a photography studio in New York in 1845, and in 1849 he moved to Washington, D.C. and opened a studio there, where he photographed several U. S. presidents and many politicians. During the Civil War he trained and employed 23 men to travel and photograph the events of the war; he also took many portraits of both Union and Confederate army officers. After the war, the popularity of Brady's images declined drastically and he was forced into bankruptcy, although in 1875 Congress purchased his negatives for $25,000. He died in 1896 and was buried in Washington, D.C.
Fourteen photographic prints, approximately 2 x 3 and 8.5 x 6.75 inches, depict Union and Confederate army officers and soldiers, ca. 1860s and scenes from the United States Civil War. Many photographs are unidentified; labelled images include photographs of General Ward Burnett, General Rufus King, and Major General Philip Sheridan. Other portraits possibly include a Union Cavalry sergeant, Francis W. Pickens, and P. G. T. Beauregard. Locations depicted in the collection include the ruins of the Confederate Arsenal at Richmond, Virginia, and General Lee's headquarters at Gettysburg.
Researchers should note that due to the number of photographers who worked for Brady's studio, it is impossible to definitively attribute work produced by the studio to a particular photographer.
Mathew Brady Photographs, ca. 1860s, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
This collection was processed by archives staff, October 2008. Additions and Revisions made by Amy Bowman, December 2011.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s " History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light " project, 2009-2011.
Detailed description of the Matthew Brady Photographs