Brady, Mathew

Brady, Mathew (B.)

(1823–96) photographer; born in Lake George, New York. Studying daguerreotype photography as a teenager, he got an early start, opening his own New York City studio in 1844 where he did portraits of famous Americans. In 1847 he opened a second studio in Washington, D.C.; he published The Gallery of Illustrious Americans in 1850. Esteemed by Lincoln, he was the first photographer permitted to film at the Battle of Bull Run in 1861 where he was wounded. Assisted by Alexander Gardner and Tim O'Sullivan, he spent $100,000 to deploy teams of photographers who documented, with bulky silver nitrate plate cameras, the major engagements in the Civil War (1861–65). His images of individuals, groups, and battle scenes were widely reproduced, although Brady did not take many of the pictures attributed to him. Plagued by poor vision, he was forced to sell his war negatives to settle his debts in 1865; he died in poverty.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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