In 1860, the celebrated American photographer Mathew Brady (1822-1896) opened his fourth and last New York studio at 785 Broadway, near Tenth Street. He named it the National Portrait Gallery and it was here in 1862 that Brady exhibited photographs of the Battle of Antietam. Brady advertised the exhibition as “The Dead of Antietam,” and it was the first time the bodies of contemporary dead soldiers were seen by the general public. An extended biography of Brady can be found at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/cwphtml/cwbrady.html
Many of Brady’s commercial prints can be found in this photography album in the graphic arts collection. It holds a collection of studio portraits, primarily during the American Civil War, along with a visiting card for Charles Lamson, which might be a clue to the original owner. Several CDVs bear the imprint “Brady’s National Photographic Portrait Galleries” or “published by E. & H.T. Anthony from photographic negative in Brady’s National Portrait Gallery.”
There are individual portraits of Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet members: Hannibal Hamlin, Vice President; William Seward, Secretary of State; Salmon P. Chase, U.S. Treasury Secretary; Edwin M. Stanton, Attorney General (1860-1861), Secretary of War; Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy; Montgomery Blair, Postmaster-General; and Edward Bates, Attorney General (1861-1864).
Also included are portraits of Union generals Ulysses S. Grant; Ambrose Burnside; Nathaniel P. Banks; Winfield Scott; Joseph Hooker; Edwin Vose Sumner; Benjamin Franklin Butler; and Daniel E. Sickles. Some of the other individuals identified includes portraits of Jefferson Davis, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry Ward Beecher, and Richard Cobden.
In particular, three photographs are by Chas. Paxson, N.Y. and J.E. McClees, Philadelphia with the verso caption: “The nett proceeds from the sale of these photographs will be devoted to the education of Colored people in the department of the Gulf, now under the command of Maj. Gen. Banks.” One photograph bear captions: “Rebecca, A slave girl from New Orleans”; one is titled: “Charley, A slave boy from New Orleans.”
The photographers represented in the album include Mathew Brady; Chas. Paxson, NY; J.E. McClees, Philadelphia; Charles Fredericks; Hargrave & Gubelman, NY; LeRoy’s Gem Gallery, Newburgh, NY; W. Notman, Montreal; D. Appleton & Co., NY; Geo. G. Rockwood & Co., NY; Golder & Robinson’s Ferrotype Rooms; H.S. Myer, Yonkers, NY; Brasier & Co., Brooklyn; Johnston Brothers, NY; Faris, 751 Broadway; W. Kurtz; Sarony, NY; New Orleans Photographic Gallery, A.A. Turner, photo.; Tourtin, Paris; Norman May, Malvern; Scidmore, Gloversville, NY; Martin Jacolette, South Kensington.