Brady, Mathew B.

Mathew B. Brady (1823/1834–1896), the father of photojournalism in America. While portraiture was the centerpiece of Brady’s early work, he is best known for his studio’s work documenting the American Civil War.

For someone whose work depended entirely on sunlight, Brady lived his life largely in the shadows of history. According to historians, he left either three or zero letters written in his own hand, no diary, papers, or any other sort of written record of his experiences, thoughts, or observations. If it could not be said with silver nitrate on a piece of glass, he was essentially mute. Furthermore, he personally was responsible for shooting only a fraction of all the thousands of Daguerreotypes and glass plates he left behind.

Early Years

Brady’s birthplace and year have ...

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