Mathew Brady’s Portraits


Mathew B. Brady, the great nineteenth-century American photographer, is admired for his photographic portraits as much as for his visual documentation of the American Civil War. It seems to me remarkable, for example, that Brady succeeded in photographing eighteen of the nineteen American presidents from John Quincy Adams (the sixth) through Grover Cleveland (the twenty-fourth). And Brady could hardly be blamed for having missed William Henry Harrison (the nineth), who had died in office when Brady was nineteen years old and had yet to open a professional studio.

Below are some portraits by Brady that I found among the many digitized images recently released by the U.S. National Archives. [1]

References and Notes

    [1] The U.S. National Archives has digitized over 6,000 images from the series Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes (National Archives's Local Identifier 111-B). These images are slowly being uploaded to Flickr. Images from the National Archives are identified below by their U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier, e.g., 111-B-1903.

    [2] The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery has an online exhibit of Mathew Brady’s Portraits.

    [3] See “Tennessee Celeste Claflin” in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; but you must judge whether the information I cited from this article is reliable.

William Day (22 December 2012)