Mathew Brady Biography

Photographer (c. 1822–1896)
Mathew Brady was a 19th-century photographer best known for his Civil War photography and portraits.


Mathew Brady was a photographer and is best known for his work during the Civil War, including the iconic photo of Abraham Lincoln found on the American $5 bill. Little is known about his immediate family, besides the fact they were Irish. Records of his birth remain a a mystery with some sources stating he was born in 1822 or 1823, near Lake George, New York. However, early census records indicate he was born in Ireland. It is speculated he may have changed this information because of anti-Irish sentiment during the mid-19th century. Brady did however, grow up in Johnsburg, New York. He attended the daguerreian studio and classroom established by Samuel F.B. Morse. Brady opened his first daguerreotype studio in New York City in 1844 and photographed many famous people of his day including presidents and generals. He hired a staff of photographers to document the American Civil War, but the project--though it resulted in the most iconic images of the conflict--ruined him financially. Brady, dubbed the “father of photojournalism” died in a charity ward in 1896.


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