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Letter Docketed by Mathew Brady, Civil War Photographer
(MATHEW B. BRADY) (1822-1896). American Photographer, Famous For Civil War Photographs.
May 18, 1865-Dated Civil War Period, Autograph Letter Signed, "E. L. Cook," 3 pages, measuring 5" x 8" with Docket on its verso handwritten by Mathew B. Brady, reading: "EL Cook - May 18, 1865", Choice Very Fine. Here, Mr. Cook writes to Brady, reading in part:
"Mr. Fredricks will be home on the 23rd and I hope you will do all you can before that time as he has written me often about that matter and I have done the best I could to make matters easy for you. The whole amt. you have paid so far is on a/c $200.00. interest $30.00. $230.00. The interest for 3 months is $35. His partner tried hard to prevent his loaning the money and it was only owing to my urgent request that he did loan it so that I feel as sorry as you do about the matter. ... Please write me at once and at least try and pay up the interest due. You know that I will do all I can to make things easy with my uncle for you. He will arrive here on the 23d...".
As the Civil War came to an end, the interest in battlefield photographs waned and Brady suffered a number of financial setbacks, as is illustrated within the content of this letter. After the war, his 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.
Mathew B. Brady (May 18, 1822 - January 15, 1896) was one of the first American photographers, best known for his scenes of the Civil War.
He studied under inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, who pioneered the daguerreotype technique in America. Brady opened his own studio in New York in 1844, and photographed Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, among other celebrities. When the Civil War started, his use of a mobile studio and darkroom enabled vivid battlefield photographs that brought home the reality of war to the public. 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.