Mathew B. Brady (1822-1896)
Mathew Brady was born in Warren County, New York and was the father of photojournalism. He was the greatest American photo-historian of the 19th century, and undoubtedly Abraham Lincoln's favorite photographer. Nobody in the history of photography could claim to have taken more photographs of important historical personalities during the 19th century than Mathew Brady.
Mathew Brady was the first to undertake the photographic documentation of the American Civil War. Brady was almost killed at Bull Run, VA. He got lost for three days and eventually wound up in Washington D.C., nearly dead from starvation. Film maker Ken Burns who is famous for his television series "The Civil War" (1990), said his Civil War series could not have been made if it were not for Mathew Brady's photographs. He called them the backbone of the series. As a matter of fact, the reason the Civil War is so much more popular than the Revolutionary war is because we can actually witness the war and its heroes through photographs.
Mathew Brady lived the last few months of his life in a rooming house, all alone, sick, and destitute. He was left penniless and unappreciated even though he devoted his whole life to preserving and perpetuating the history of his country. Towards the end of Brady's life he once said about the photographs he took: "No one will ever know what they cost me; some of them almost cost me my life."
At five o'clock on January 15, 1896, Mathew Brady The Great died; alone and forgotten.
His beautiful photographs, and even greater, his love for life and his country will live forever in the hearts and minds of millions of people all over the world for all times to come.
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