Mathew Brady Facts

Mathew Brady Facts
Mathew Brady was an Irish-American photographer of the nineteenth century who was notable for documenting the American Civil War with photograph. Using the new medium of photography, Brady did portraits of most of the notable Union officers during the war, as well as several Confederate officers. Brady used the somewhat cumbersome and expensive daguerreotype technique of photography, which caught the image of plates. He invested over $100,000 in over 10,000 to take photographs during the war in the hopes that the government would be the images, but instead Brady was left bankrupt when the government refused to buy them. Brady was born Matthew B. Brady on May 18, 1822 to Andrew and Julie Brady in either Warren County, New York or Ireland. A natural artist and painter, Brady studied painting under some notable artists, including Samuel Morse, the inventor of the "Morse Code." It was through Morse that Brady was first introduced to daguerreotype photography in the 1840s. Brady married Julia Handy in 1850.
Interesting Mathew Brady Facts:
Brady claimed that he didn't know what middle initial "B" in his name stood for.
He spent most of his youth in Saratoga Springs, New York, which is where he met painter William Page, who was one of Morse's students.
Besides being a natural artist, Brady had a keen business sense and was able to parlay his knowledge of and talent for photography into a small fortune before the war. He opened a studio and gallery in New York City in 1844.
Irish census records indicate that the was born in Ireland, so some historians believe he later said he was born in the United States to avoid anti-immigrant discrimination.
Brady showed the photo portraits of his most famous subjects, which included former President Andrew Jackson and writer Edgar Allen Poe, at his studio.
After doing quite nicely with his New York studio, Brady opened up a Washington studio in 1850.
After photographing Union soldiers headed to war and selling the pictures to their families, Brady decided that he would document the entire war. President Lincoln allowed to give Brady nearly complete access behind the lines, but he would have to pay for the venture out of his own pockets.
Americans were first introduced to gritty and violent reality of the Civil War, and war in general, when Brady opened the exhibition, The Dead of Antietam, at his New York gallery in 1862.
Brady took the photograph of President Abraham Lincoln found on the $5 bill.
By the time the Civil War broke out, Brady's eyesight had been failing so he hired a number of assistants and photographers. Many of the iconic images of his that survived from the war were actually taken by some of this employees.
Out of a sense of sympathy and respect for his role in the Civil War, Congress awarded Brady a $25,000 grant in 1875, but it was not enough to get him out of debt.
Brady died in New York City on January 15, 1896 at the age of seventy-three. He had been recently hit by a streetcar, which contributed to his demise.


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