Mathew Brady

Mathew B. Brady (1822 - 1896)

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Mr. Mathew B. Brady
Born in Warren County, New York, United Statesmap
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in E Street Baptist Church, Washington, District of Columbiamap
Died in New York, New York, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 26 Oct 2009
This page has been accessed 10,345 times.

Categories: Notables | Photographers.

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Mathew Brady was a photographer, publisher, and historian. He was known for his portraits of famous people and his vast photographic record of the US Civil War. He practically invented documentary photography and photojournalism, and he contributed to our understanding of the Civil War.

He was born on 1822 in Warren County, New York. The exact place and year are not known. There is little information about his parents or family. His entire childhood is almost a mystery.

He spent most of his childhood in Saratoga Springs. There he met William Page, a painter, who was the student of Samuel F.B. Morse.

On 1839, Brady and Page took a trip to New York City but nothing is known for his activity there until 1843.

Later on he met Morse and became the student of the famous inventor. Morse had recently introduced photography to America.

Morse taught him how to create daguerreotypes. A year later Mathew open up his own studio called "Daguerreian Miniature Gallery." He opened his portrait studio on Broadway in New York City in 1844.

The Daguerreian Miniature Gallery was so successful that he won medals every year from the American Institute of Photography for his good work.

One of his famous sayings was that, "the camera is the eye of history." As he kept that in mind he started to create a lot of portraits which he named The Gallery of Illustrious Americans.

Later on he opened another studio in Washington D.C., so that he could photograph the president and other government leaders.

His book was published in 1850 but it was a failure.

In 1851 he traveled to England to expand his daguerreotypes works, which won him some more praise.

When he returned to America he opened another studio in New York.

Time caught up with him. Brady was getting old and his vision started to fail. For all his work he relied on his assistant Alexander Gardner.

When the US Civil War started, Brady decided to make a photographic record of it. The project was big and bold. He used all his fortune to organize teams of photographers and spread them all over the army. When the war was over, the project had cost him a fortune and left him in debt.

Today the record that he made is divided and is placed in two places, National Archives and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

He never regained his fortune and as he was preparing to lecture about the Civil War in New York, he got sick. He was put in the Presbyterian Hospital for care but never got better. Mathew Brady died on January 15, 1896.

Many of the most famous people are in Mathew Brady's portraits, including presidents, political leaders, businessmen, writers, military generals and more. He became one of the first people to document history with the camera. He didn't become famous with he pictures until after his death because he didn't have the money to develop all of them since he spent it all on equipment.


1855 resided NY City ward 5 ED 1 - 33 yrs old born Ireland occupation daguerreotypist, resided 32 yrs NY city [? ]naturalized US citizen with wife Juliet 28 years born Virginia she resided NY city 10 yrs


" Missing Historical Marker Revives Debate Over Photographer’s Birthplace" by Paul Post "New York Times" August 14, 2015, on page A23 of the New York edition


See also:

US Census, 1850, Southport, Richmond, New York (Staten Island); Matthew B Brady with Julia Brady (and below them her brother Robert Handy and his wife Virginia)

"New York, State Census, 1855," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 August 2015), New York > New York City, Ward 5, E.D. 1 > image 22 of 65; count clerk offices, New York.


C Handy, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.

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Memories: 1

On 30 Oct 2009 Allison Ross wrote:


1) I had to go. A spirit in my feet said 'Go,' and I went.

2)No one will ever know what I went through to secure those negatives. The world can never appreciate it. It changed the whole course of my life.

3)Results are uncertain even among the more experienced photographers.

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No known carriers of Mathew's ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Images: 4

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On 8 Jul 2014 at 10:39 GMT C Handy wrote:

Brady-1298 and Brady-4 appear to represent the same person because: Same birthdate, location, death date, location, same profession.

On 30 Oct 2009 at 03:23 GMT Allison Ross wrote:


1)"About Mathew Brady." 2003. Web. 29 Oct. 2009. <>.

2)Armstrong, Jennifer. Photo by Brady : A Picture of the Civil War. Simon & Schuster Adult, 2005. Print.

3)Garrison,, Webb B. Brady's Civil War. Globe Pequot, 2000. Print.

4)"Mathew Brady." 2009. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <>.

5)McMahan, Robert. "Mathew B. Brady Biography." 2001. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <>.

Mathew is 19 degrees from Walter Morrison, 30 degrees from Alison Wilkins and 15 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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