Mathew Brady
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Mathew B. Brady (1822 - 1896)

Mr. Mathew B. Brady
Born in Irelandmap [uncertain]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 1849 in E Street Baptist Church, Washington, District of Columbiamap
Died at age 73 in New York, New York, United Statesmap
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Profile last modified | Created 26 Oct 2009
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Notables Project
Mathew Brady is Notable.

Mathew Brady was a photgrapher whose Civil War photographs have earned him the nickname "the father of photojournalism".

He was born circa 1822 or 1823 in either Warren County, New York or Ireland (he appears in the 1850 US Census with birthplace given as "Ireland", and again in the 1855 New York state census with a birthplace of "Ireland").

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.

In 1839, Brady went to New York City with Page, who introduced him to Samuel Morse (who in addition to his work on the telegraph introduced photography to America), and Morse taught Brady the art of "daguerreotypy", as it was then called.

In 1844 Brady opened the "Daguerrian Miniature Gallery" on Broadway, and his work met with notable success, earning awards from the American Institute of Photography.

Brady is known for sayinng, "the camera is the eye of history"; with that in mind, he either took photographs himself or collected them from others for his "Gallery of Illustrious Americans" (this included travelling to Tennessee in 1845 to photograph President Andrew Jackson at his home, the Hermitage, shortly before Jackson's death; Brady's portrait of Jackson is the oldest surviving photgraph of an American president).

In the late 1840's Brady opened a studio in Washington DC in order to be close to the seat of government and have the opportunity to photograph the president, members of the cabinet, and Congress; it was here that he met Juliet Handy, who he married in 1849.

In 1851, Brady and his wife travelled to England to show his works at the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace, where his daguerreotypes won three medals.

When he returned to America he opened another studio on Broadway in New York, dividing his time between Manhattan and his studio in Washington.

Brady's eyesight, never good (he wore tinted spectacles), began to fail and he relied increasingly on assistants.

When the US Civil War started, Brady decided to make a photographic record of it, investing over a hundred thousand dollars of his own money in outfitting teams of photographers to follow the Army; he did little of the work himself (the most significant photos taken by Brady himself are those of Robert E Lee after the surrender at Appomattox). By the end of the war the public had little appetite for images of the conflict, and Brady found himself unable to discharge his debts and left bankrupt.

He never regained his fortune, and as he was preparing to lecture about the Civil War in New York, he was struck by a streetcar while crossing Broadway. He was admitted to Presbyterian Hospital for care but never recovered. Mathew Brady died on January 15, 1896, and was buried in his late wife's family plot in Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC.


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[1]


  1. "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.

See also:


C Handy, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.

Memories: 1
Enter a personal reminiscence or story.

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.

posted 30 Oct 2009 by Allison Ross
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Comments: 2

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

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. <>.

posted by Allison Ross

This week's featured connections are French Notables: Mathew is 13 degrees from Napoléon I Bonaparte, 16 degrees from Gilbert du Motier de La Fayette, 22 degrees from Sarah Bernhardt, 32 degrees from Charlemagne Carolingian, 22 degrees from Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, 14 degrees from Pierre Curie, 27 degrees from Simone de Beauvoir, 17 degrees from Philippe Denis de Keredern de Trobriand, 17 degrees from Camille de Polignac, 16 degrees from Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, 17 degrees from Claude Monet and 21 degrees from Aurore Dupin de Francueil on our single family tree. Login to see how you relate to 33 million family members.