Ken Burns Classroom

Mathew Brady

Ken Burns Film: The Civil War

Collections: Civil War and Reconstruction (1861-1877)

Subject: US History

Grade Level: 6-12

Matthew Brady
Matthew Brady


One of the first Americans to become proficient at photography, Mathew Brady earned eternal fame – and poverty – for documenting the carnage of the Civil War. By 1854, he was already photographing famous people in his studios.

During the Civil War, his staff of 10 photographers developed their plates on battlefield wagons. Unable to interest the U.S. government in purchasing his products, however, Brady lost his $100,000 investment and died nearly penniless.

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