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University Archives

Lot 28

Abraham Lincoln CDV by Mathew Brady

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Abraham Lincoln CDV by Mathew Brady


Description: Abraham Lincoln CDV by Mathew Brady

A carte de visite of 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) produced by the photographic studio of Mathew Brady (1822-1896). The sepia-colored albumen photograph is laid down on a cream stock mount labeled "Brady" at lower left and "New York" at lower right. The backstamp reads "Brady's / National Photographic / Portrait Galleries, / Broadway & Tenth Street. / New York, / No. 352 Pennsylvania Av. Washington D.C." The photograph is mostly intact, with a minor repair to each of the top corners, and a possible area of discrete infill along the bottom edge near center. Expected wear to the stock card including edge darkening and scuffs, else very good to near fine. 2.375" x 4."

This portrait sitting took place on January 8, 1864, during one of the at least three separate occasions that Mathew Brady photographed President Lincoln in his Washington, D.C. studio that year. Lincoln sat for over fifty official portraits from his lawyering days on the court circuit until his assassination; he understood the importance of creating a dignified public profile. Lincoln joked after his first photo shoot with Brady in 1860 that the photographer’s portrait helped secure his Republican nomination as president. Brady's images of Lincoln are among the most iconic.

Mathew Brady's name is synonymous with Civil War-era photography, both because of the candid images of battle fields and camp life that he and his assistants captured, but also because of his portraits of significant historical players, like Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. Brady’s photography business boomed from taking carte de visite images of departing soldiers at the onset of the Civil War. In 1861, Lincoln granted the photographer permission to tour battlefields and encampments to document the war experience. Brady spent an estimated $100,000 of his own money taking approximately 10,000 Civil War-related negatives. The photographer was bitterly disappointed when the federal government did not buy his collection after the war, and his heavy investment in the project led to his subsequent bankruptcy.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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