National Archives: Matthew Brady Civil War Photographs

While Mathew Brady’s exact birthdate is unknown (circa 1822 – 1824), this year marks the beginning of the commemoration of Brady’s 200th birthday.

National Archives, Photographing the Civil War

During the Civil War, Brady and his associates–notably Alexander Gardner, George Barnard, and Timothy O’Sullivan–traveled throughout the eastern part of the country and produced several thousand photographs, capturing the effects of the War through photographs of people, towns, and battlefields. Additionally, Brady kept studios in Washington, DC, and New York City, where many influential politicians and war heroes sat for portraits. To read more click here

This series consists of several thousand glass plates (and modern derivative copies including prints, duplicate negatives, interpositives, and microfilm) which were produced by the photographer Mathew Brady and his associates. Brady (1823-1896) was one of the earliest practitioners of daguerreotype in the United States and soon became a prolific portrait photographer. In his New York and Washington, DC studios, he and his assistants photographed many of the luminaries of the 1850s and 1860s.

With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Brady endeavored to record the progress of the war with his camera. He and his associates, notably Alexander Gardner, George Barnard, and Timothy O’Sullivan, traveled throughout the eastern part of the country and photographed many of the battlefields, towns, and people touched by the war. In addition, Brady photographed many of the distinguished political and military personalities who found time to stop by his Washington, DC studio. The result was a collection of some 12,000 images (possibly more) which comprises a rich visual document of the Civil War period.

30 thoughts on “National Archives: Matthew Brady Civil War Photographs”

    1. GP, It is incredible. There was a restaurant in DC that used to have these pictures enlarged as part of their decor. Always fascinating to see DC during the Civil War. DC has changed, the government less so 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Amazing photos especially the group shot on the steamer. I think subjects had to be still for a period of seconds at least for the image to be sharp. That wasn’t a problem with Brady’s battlefield photos of Civil War dead.

    Liked by 1 person

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