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Americans of 1840s

In 1844, Mathew Brady opened a photography studio at the corner of Broadway and Fulton Street in New York. By 1845, he began to exhibit his portraits of famous Americans, including the likes of Senator Daniel Webster and poet Edgar Allan Poe. In 1849, he opened a studio at 625 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Brady's early images were daguerreotypes, and he won many awards for his work.

In 1850, Brady produced The Gallery of Illustrious Americans, a portrait collection of prominent contemporary figures. The album, which featured noteworthy images including the elderly Andrew Jackson at the Hermitage, was not financially rewarding but invited increased attention to Brady's work.

When the Civil War started, he used a mobile studio and darkroom enabled vivid battlefield photographs. Thousands of war scenes were captured, as well as portraits of generals and politicians on both sides of the conflict, though most of these were taken by his assistants, rather than by Brady himself. After the war, these pictures went out of fashion, and the government did not purchase the master-copies as he had anticipated. Brady's fortunes declined sharply, and he died in debt.
[Henry Peters Gray, half-length portrait, head three-quarters to left]
443 Media in collectionpage 1 of 5
[Walter Restored Jones, half-length portrait, nearly in profile to left]

[Walter Restored Jones, half-length portrait, nearly in profile to lef...

Founder of Atlantic Mutual Marine Insurance Co., of New York City.

[Richard Yates, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly left]

[Richard Yates, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly left]

Whig Congressman from Illinois, 1851-1855; Republican Governor of Illinois, 1861-1865; Republican Senator from Illinois, 1865-1871.

[Stephen Arnold Douglas, head-and-shoulders portrait, slightly to left]

[Stephen Arnold Douglas, head-and-shoulders portrait, slightly to left...

Democratic Congressman from Illinois, 1843-1847; Senator, 1847-1861.

[Solomon Weathersbee Downs, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left]
[Colonel William Gates, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to the right, in military uniform]

[Colonel William Gates, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to...

Colonel, U.S. Army; Governor of Tampico, Mexico, 1846-1848.

[Ezra Bartlett French, half-length portrait, facing front]

[Ezra Bartlett French, half-length portrait, facing front]

Republican Congressman from Maine, 1859-1861.

[Aaron Vanderpoel, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left, with side whiskers]

[Aaron Vanderpoel, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left, w...

Democratic Congressman from New York, 1833-1837, 1839-1841.

[Shepherd Knapp, half-length portrait, slightly to right, eyes front]

[Shepherd Knapp, half-length portrait, slightly to right, eyes front]

Leather merchant and later a banker in New York City.

[Xavier Donald MacLeod, half-length portrait, nearly facing front, with mustache and spectacles]
[Joseph Vance, half-length portrait, slightly to the left]

[Joseph Vance, half-length portrait, slightly to the left]

Democratic Congressman from Ohio, 1822-1835; Governor, 1836-1838; Whig Congressman, 1843-1847.

[Pliny Earle, three-quarters to left]
[Unidentified man, about 40 years of age, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to the right, facing front]

[Unidentified man, about 40 years of age, head-and-shoulders portrait,...

Photo possibly shows Thaddeus Hyatt. (Source: Frederick Rock, 2011)

[Samuel G. Goodrich, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to the right]

[Samuel G. Goodrich, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to th...

Author, editor, publisher, known as Peter Parley.

[Caleb Lyon, head-and shoulders portrait, three-quarters to the left, with beard]

[Caleb Lyon, head-and shoulders portrait, three-quarters to the left, ...

Independent Congressman from New York, 1853-1855; Governor of Idaho Territory, 1864-1865.

[Rufus Blakeman, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the right, facing front, hands folded in lap]

[Rufus Blakeman, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the right, fa...

Doctor and president of Fairfield County Medical Association, Greenfield, Connecticut.