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Son of Irish immigrants, moved to New York at age 17, and in 1844 he managed to have his own photo studio in that city, opening in 1845 a series of portraits of famous American portraits. In 1849 Brady opened another studio, but this time in Washington D.C., where he met Juliette Handy, his wife from 1851. Brady used the daguerreotype for portraits, winning several awards for his work.
Brady endeavored to document the American Civil War with a large photographic team, so he invested a large sum of money, among other expenses to hire more than 20 photographers who traveled the entire country: Alexander Gardner, James Gardner, Timothy H. O’Sullivan, William Pywell, George N. Barnard and eighteen other men. Generally, Brady was in Washington D.C. organizing everything From the ’50s, Brady loses his sight little by little.
In 1863, Brady made an exhibition of photographs of the Battle of Antietam, in his gallery in New York, entitled “The Death of Antietam.” Many of the images in that gallery were photographs of corpses, the first time the reality of the war was shown first hand.
Seal of Abraham Lincoln based on Brady’s photo.
Brady made many portraits of Union officers, including Ulysses S. Grant, Nathaniel Banks, Carlos Buell, Ambrose Burnside, Benjamin Butler, George Custer, David Farragut, John Gibbon, Winfield Hancock, Samuel P. Heintzelman, Joseph Hooker. , Oliver Howard, David Hunter, John Logan, Irvin McDowell, George McClellan, James McPherson, George Meade, David Dixon Porter, William Rosecrans, John Schofield, William Sherman, Daniel Sickles, Henry Warner Slocum, George Stoneman, Edwin V. Sumner, George Thomas, Emory Upton, James Wadsworth, and Lew Wallace. He also photographed the Confederates: P.G.T. Beauregard, Stonewall Jackson, Lord Lyons, James Henry Hammond and Robert E. Lee. He also had the opportunity to photograph Abraham Lincoln several times, and some were used to issue stamps.
Brady spent more than 100 000 dollars to create 10 000 photographs. He tried to sell them to the government of the United States, but he refused, and Brady had to sell his studio in New York and go bankrupt. Congress paid him 25 000 dollars in 1875, but he was already in a deep crisis.
Depressed by his financial situation and devastated by the death of his wife in 1887, Brady became an alcoholic and died at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York. His funeral was financed by the veterans of the Seventh Infantry of New York and was buried in the Cemetery of the Congress of Washington.
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