This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

New Art Form

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February 27, 1860: Mathew Brady Photographs Candidate Lincoln

On this day in 1860, Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln poses for the first of several portraits by noted Civil War-era photographer Mathew Brady. Days later, the photograph is published on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar with the caption, Hon. Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, Republican Candidate for President.

The Harper Photo

The Harper Photo

A relatively new art form, the photograph (or daguerreotype) showed an unusually beardless Lincoln just moments before he delivered an address at Cooper Union that day. The address, in which he articulated his reasons for opposing slavery in the new territories, received wild applause and garnered strong support for his candidacy among New Yorkers.

Lincoln was re-introduced to Brady a year after his election. The president shook Brady’s hand and said Mr. Brady and the Cooper Institute made me president. Brady went on to photograph Lincoln several more times before Lincoln’s death in 1865. Brady also snapped photos of first lady Mary Todd Lincoln and two of Lincoln’s sons.

LINCOLN Abraham Lincoln by Matthew Brady, 1864

Lincoln's punk rock era

Lincoln’s punk rock era

Brady’s works also include shots of President Zachary Taylor at his inauguration in 1849, President Millard Fillmore in 1850 and Confederate President Jefferson Davis in 1861. After Brady’s wife approached Mrs. Grant on behalf of her husband, General Ulysses S. Grant agreed to let Brady tag along with the Union Army during the Civil War. Many of his resulting works now reside in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.

Lincoln was not the first presidential candidate, or president, to be photographed–that honor went to John Quincy Adams in 1843.

Small collection of Brady’s photos:

George Custer

George Custer

Nat Turner

Nat Turner

Actress Clara Web

Actress Clara Web

Burnside (ah, sideburns?)

Burnside (ah, sideburns?)

Walt Whiteman

Walt Whiteman

P T Barnum and Ernestine de Faiber (Barnum looks a bit creepy)

P T Barnum and Ernestine de Faiber (Barnum looks a bit creepy)

Touch Clouds Movement

Touch Clouds Movement

Victoria Woodhull (leader of Woman's Suffrage)

Victoria Woodhull (leader of Woman’s Suffrage)

Mark Twain (center) with friends George Townsent and David Gray

Mark Twain (center) with friends George Townsent and David Gray

Sherman

Sherman

President Grant

President Grant

Mathew Brady

Mathew Brady

 

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