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Mathew B. Brady was born in 1823, the son of Irish immigrants who had settled near Saratoga Springs, New York.

Brady was a celebrated photgraphic portrait artist who contributed a number of technical and aesthetic enhancements to the photographer's art. While photography was still in its infancy, Brady sensed its emerging importance to the historian's work. After photographing a broad range of the most prominent Americans, he went on to photograph the Civil War. Although he has been accused of claiming more than his share of credit for some of these contributions, Brady is sometimes thought of as the century's most important photographer and the man who invented photojournalism.

He shot important portraits of Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allen Poe and other political and cultural heroes who helped shape the American identity; Midgets, Siamese twins and other human curiosities from P.T. Barnum's "Greatest Show on Earth"; Civil War generals Lee and Grant in regal uniforms; the Union fleet and the ironclad battleships Monitor and Merrimack; vast fields littered with the corpses of men and horses under grey skies in the aftermath of battle. If our visual sense of that era's passion and drama can be attributed to any one person, it would be Mathew Brady.

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