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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 4 of 5
[Azariah C. Flagg, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left]

[Azariah C. Flagg, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left]

Editor of the Plattsburg, N.Y. Republican; financial advisor to the N.Y. state Democratic party; comptroller of N.Y. state and New York City.

[Azariah C. Flagg, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left]

[Azariah C. Flagg, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left]

Editor of the Plattsburg, N.Y. Republican; financial advisor to the N.Y. state Democratic party; comptroller of N.Y. state and New York City.

[Horace Mann, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to right]

[Horace Mann, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to right]

Whig and Free Soil Congressman from Massachusetts, 1848-1853; President of Antioch College.

[Horace Mann, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to right]

[Horace Mann, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to right]

Whig and Free Soil Congressman from Massachusetts, 1848-1853; President of Antioch College.

[Horace Mann, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to right]

[Horace Mann, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to right]

Whig and Free Soil Congressman from Massachusetts, 1848-1853; President of Antioch College.

[Horace Mann, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to right]

[Horace Mann, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to right]

Whig and Free Soil Congressman from Massachusetts, 1848-1853; President of Antioch College.

[Henry S. Foote, half-length portrait, slightly to the right]

[Henry S. Foote, half-length portrait, slightly to the right]

Democratic Senator from Mississippi, 1847-1852; Governor of Mississippi, 1852-1854; Superindentent of the U.S. Mint at New Orleans.

[Henry S. Foote, half-length portrait, slightly to the right]

[Henry S. Foote, half-length portrait, slightly to the right]

Democratic Senator from Mississippi, 1847-1852; Governor of Mississippi, 1852-1854; Superindentent of the U.S. Mint at New Orleans.

[John Francis, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the right]

[John Francis, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the right]

Physician; editor of the American Medical and Philosophical Register; first president of the New York Academy of Medicine; historian and author.

[John Francis, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the right]

[John Francis, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the right]

Physician; editor of the American Medical and Philosophical Register; first president of the New York Academy of Medicine; historian and author.

[Horace Greeley, full-length portrait, three-quarters to the right, seated in chair, wearing tall hat, folded newspaper in lap, carpet on floor]

[Horace Greeley, full-length portrait, three-quarters to the right, se...

Photograph shows Horace Greeley, journalist, publisher of the New York Tribune.

[Horace Greeley, full-length portrait, three-quarters to the right, seated in chair, wearing tall hat, folded newspaper in lap, carpet on floor]

[Horace Greeley, full-length portrait, three-quarters to the right, se...

Photograph shows Horace Greeley, journalist, publisher of the New York Tribune.

[Horace Greeley, full-length portrait, three-quarters to the right, seated in chair, wearing tall hat, folded newspaper in lap, carpet on floor]

[Horace Greeley, full-length portrait, three-quarters to the right, se...

Photograph shows Horace Greeley, journalist, publisher of the New York Tribune.

[Amos Kendall, half-length portrait, three-quarters to left]

[Amos Kendall, half-length portrait, three-quarters to left]

Postmaster General of the United States.

[Amos Kendall, half-length portrait, three-quarters to left]

[Amos Kendall, half-length portrait, three-quarters to left]

Postmaster General of the United States.

[Amos Kendall, half-length portrait, three-quarters to left]

[Amos Kendall, half-length portrait, three-quarters to left]

Postmaster General of the United States.

[Henry Grinnell, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to the left]

[Henry Grinnell, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to the le...

Merchant; backer of polar expeditions; first President of the American Geographical Society.

[Henry Grinnell, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to the left]

[Henry Grinnell, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to the le...

Merchant; backer of polar expeditions; first President of the American Geographical Society.

[C.C. Clay, half-length portrait, head slightly to the right]

[C.C. Clay, half-length portrait, head slightly to the right]

Lawyer; Democratic Congressman from Alabama (Senator, 1853-1861); Confederate Senate, 1861-1863

[C.C. Clay, half-length portrait, head slightly to the right]

[C.C. Clay, half-length portrait, head slightly to the right]

Lawyer; Democratic Congressman from Alabama (Senator, 1853-1861); Confederate Senate, 1861-1863

[C.C. Clay, half-length portrait, head slightly to the right]

[C.C. Clay, half-length portrait, head slightly to the right]

Lawyer; Democratic Congressman from Alabama (Senator, 1853-1861); Confederate Senate, 1861-1863

[William King Sebastian, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left, eyes front]
[William King Sebastian, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left, eyes front]
[John J. Crittendon, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front]

[John J. Crittendon, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front]

Whig Senator from Kentucky, 1817-1819, 1835-1841, 1842-1848, 1855-1661; U.S. Attorney-General, 1841-1842, 1850-1853; Governor of Kentucky, 1848-1850.

[John J. Crittendon, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front]

[John J. Crittendon, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front]

Whig Senator from Kentucky, 1817-1819, 1835-1841, 1842-1848, 1855-1661; U.S. Attorney-General, 1841-1842, 1850-1853; Governor of Kentucky, 1848-1850.

[Unidentified woman, about 30 years of age, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left, wearing bonnet]

[Unidentified woman, about 30 years of age, half-length portrait, thre...

Possibly Mrs. Haggerty, sister of Mathew Brady (Source: National Portrait Gallery website, 2012).

[Unidentified woman, about 30 years of age, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left, wearing bonnet]

[Unidentified woman, about 30 years of age, half-length portrait, thre...

Possibly Mrs. Haggerty, sister of Mathew Brady (Source: National Portrait Gallery website, 2012).

Hon. Henry Clay / lith. of Endicott.

Hon. Henry Clay / lith. of Endicott.

Full-length portrait, standing, facing left.

[Zachary Taylor, half-length portrait, head in profile to the right]

[Zachary Taylor, half-length portrait, head in profile to the right]

Twelfth President of the United States; Commander in Mexican War, 1845-1846.

[Zachary Taylor, half-length portrait, head in profile to the right]

[Zachary Taylor, half-length portrait, head in profile to the right]

Twelfth President of the United States; Commander in Mexican War, 1845-1846.

[Hannibal Hamlin, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly to left]

[Hannibal Hamlin, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly to left...

Democratic Congressman from Maine, 1843-1847; Senator, 1848-1857; Governor of Maine, 1857; Republican Senator from Maine, 1857-1861, 1869-1881; Vice President of U.S., 1861-1865.

[Hannibal Hamlin, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly to left]

[Hannibal Hamlin, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly to left...

Democratic Congressman from Maine, 1843-1847; Senator, 1848-1857; Governor of Maine, 1857; Republican Senator from Maine, 1857-1861, 1869-1881; Vice President of U.S., 1861-1865.

[Hannibal Hamlin, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly to left]

[Hannibal Hamlin, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly to left...

Democratic Congressman from Maine, 1843-1847; Senator, 1848-1857; Governor of Maine, 1857; Republican Senator from Maine, 1857-1861, 1869-1881; Vice President of U.S., 1861-1865.

[John M. Clayton, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left]

[John M. Clayton, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left]

Whig Senator from Delaware, 1829-1836, 1845-1849, 1853-1856; U.S. Secretary of State, 1849-1850.

[John M. Clayton, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left]

[John M. Clayton, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left]

Whig Senator from Delaware, 1829-1836, 1845-1849, 1853-1856; U.S. Secretary of State, 1849-1850.

[George Edmund Badger, half-length portrait, facing three-quarters to left]

[George Edmund Badger, half-length portrait, facing three-quarters to ...

Whig Senator from North Carolina, 1846-1855; U.S. Secretary of the Navy, 1841.

[George Edmund Badger, half-length portrait, facing three-quarters to left]

[George Edmund Badger, half-length portrait, facing three-quarters to ...

Whig Senator from North Carolina, 1846-1855; U.S. Secretary of the Navy, 1841.

[William Ballard Preston, half-length portrait, nearly facing front]

[William Ballard Preston, half-length portrait, nearly facing front]

Whig Congressman from Virginia, 1847-1849; Secretary of the Navy, 1849-1850.

[William Ballard Preston, half-length portrait, nearly facing front]

[William Ballard Preston, half-length portrait, nearly facing front]

Whig Congressman from Virginia, 1847-1849; Secretary of the Navy, 1849-1850.

[Mary Woodburn Greeley, half-length portrait of a woman, slightly to the right, facing front, wearing spectacles]

[Mary Woodburn Greeley, half-length portrait of a woman, slightly to t...

Wife of Zaccheus Greeley, mother of Horace Greeley.

[Mary Woodburn Greeley, half-length portrait of a woman, slightly to the right, facing front, wearing spectacles]

[Mary Woodburn Greeley, half-length portrait of a woman, slightly to t...

Wife of Zaccheus Greeley, mother of Horace Greeley.

[Joseph Story, half-length portrait, facing front]

[Joseph Story, half-length portrait, facing front]

Republican Congressman from Massachusetts, 1808-1809; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1811-1845; Acting Chief Justice, 1835-1836, 1844; Professor of law, Harvard University, 1829-1845.

[Joseph Story, half-length portrait, facing front]

[Joseph Story, half-length portrait, facing front]

Republican Congressman from Massachusetts, 1808-1809; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1811-1845; Acting Chief Justice, 1835-1836, 1844; Professor of law, Harvard University, 1829-1845.

[Benjamin Fitzpatrick, half-length portrait, slightly to left]

[Benjamin Fitzpatrick, half-length portrait, slightly to left]

Democratic Senator from Alabama, 1848-1861; Governor, 1842-1846; Vice-Presidential nominee, 1860.

[Benjamin Fitzpatrick, half-length portrait, slightly to left]

[Benjamin Fitzpatrick, half-length portrait, slightly to left]

Democratic Senator from Alabama, 1848-1861; Governor, 1842-1846; Vice-Presidential nominee, 1860.

[Edwards Amasa Park, half-length portrait, three-quarters to right]

[Edwards Amasa Park, half-length portrait, three-quarters to right]

Professor of Christian theology, Andover (Mass.) Seminary

[Edwards Amasa Park, half-length portrait, three-quarters to right]

[Edwards Amasa Park, half-length portrait, three-quarters to right]

Professor of Christian theology, Andover (Mass.) Seminary

[Albert Gallatin, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, with walking stick]

[Albert Gallatin, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, with walk...

Senator from Pennsylvania, 1793; Congressman, 1795-1801; Secretary of the Treasury, 1801-1813; U.S. Minister to France, 1816-1823; President of the National Bank of New York, 1831-1839; First President of the A... more

[Albert Gallatin, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, with walking stick]

[Albert Gallatin, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, with walk...

Senator from Pennsylvania, 1793; Congressman, 1795-1801; Secretary of the Treasury, 1801-1813; U.S. Minister to France, 1816-1823; President of the National Bank of New York, 1831-1839; First President of the A... more

[George Perkins Marsh family. Marsh seated beside a table with tablecloth, on the left, his head turned to the right, wearing spectacles, his wife seated on the right, her hand on his, her head slightly to the left, both holding papers; Caroline's sister, Lucy Crane, standing behind and between them, her hands on her brother-in-law's shoulder, her head three-quarters to the right]

[George Perkins Marsh family. Marsh seated beside a table with tablecl...

George Perkins Marsh was a Whig Congressman from Vermont, 1843-1849, U.S. Minister to Turkey and Italy. Caroline Crane Marsh: Marsh's second wife, writer. Lucy Crane: sister of Caroline Crane Marsh.

[George Perkins Marsh family. Marsh seated beside a table with tablecloth, on the left, his head turned to the right, wearing spectacles, his wife seated on the right, her hand on his, her head slightly to the left, both holding papers; Caroline's sister, Lucy Crane, standing behind and between them, her hands on her brother-in-law's shoulder, her head three-quarters to the right]

[George Perkins Marsh family. Marsh seated beside a table with tablecl...

George Perkins Marsh was a Whig Congressman from Vermont, 1843-1849, U.S. Minister to Turkey and Italy. Caroline Crane Marsh: Marsh's second wife, writer. Lucy Crane: sister of Caroline Crane Marsh.

[George Perkins Marsh family. Marsh seated beside a table with tablecloth, on the left, his head turned to the right, wearing spectacles, his wife seated on the right, her hand on his, her head slightly to the left, both holding papers; Caroline's sister, Lucy Crane, standing behind and between them, her hands on her brother-in-law's shoulder, her head three-quarters to the right]

[George Perkins Marsh family. Marsh seated beside a table with tablecl...

George Perkins Marsh was a Whig Congressman from Vermont, 1843-1849, U.S. Minister to Turkey and Italy. Caroline Crane Marsh: Marsh's second wife, writer. Lucy Crane: sister of Caroline Crane Marsh.

[John Bell, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly left, eyes front]

[John Bell, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly left, eyes fr...

Whig Congressman from Tennessee, 1827-1841; Secretary of War, 1841; Senator, 1847-1859.

[John Bell, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly left, eyes front]

[John Bell, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly left, eyes fr...

Whig Congressman from Tennessee, 1827-1841; Secretary of War, 1841; Senator, 1847-1859.