Mathew B. Brady (American National Biography)

C. Zoe Smith, "Brady, Mathew B.," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
Acknowledged throughout history textbooks and popular literature as the photographer of the Civil War, Brady was rather the mastermind and businessman behind this documentation, having actually taken very few of the images for which he is known. According to Alan Trachtenberg ("Brady's Portraits," p. 231), "He was the stage-manager of the first phase of photography in America: neither an innovator nor a great artist, not even for most of his career a practicing photographer, nevertheless he epitomized the entire photographic enterprise in antebellum America." It was not until 1949 that Alexander Gardner, for example, received credit for a portrait of Abraham Lincoln previously known as Brady's. In preparing for the Ansco Centennial Civil War Exhibition, researchers found other work previously credited to Brady that was taken by Gardner and his older brother James, Timothy O'Sullivan, D. B. Woodbury, Guy Fox, and other assistants…. Although he may not have done much of the actual photographing, Brady had the stature, the political connections, the financial resources, the equipment, and the employees to carry out his grand scheme of documenting the war between the states.
    How to Cite This Page: "Mathew B. Brady (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,