The Museum Collection

Brady Portrait of Poe

ID #:
Creator: Matthew Brady
Date: ca. 1860
Format: albumen print carte-de-visite
Source: Gift of Miss Belle Fitzpatrick
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Publisher: Matthew Brady
Place of Publication: New York
Publish Date: 1860s


Photographer Mathew Brady is best known today for his Civil War photographs and portraits of Lincoln, but he achieved a great deal of success during his lifetime as a celebrity portraitist. His portraits of Daniel Webster and other famous Americans were mass produced as copy photographs. When the demand for portraits of Poe grew, several years after the author's death, Brady produced this portrait to sell from his studio. The inscription attached to the back of this photograph states that it was given by Poe's sister, Rosalie Poe, to a woman named Mrs. English, whose niece gave it to the Poe Museum. At the time, it was one of only two known copies of the Brady portrait.
There is no evidence that Poe and Brady ever met, but Brady frequently claimed that he had taken this photograph in 1845 in New York. When compared with the Cornwell daguerreotype, it is obvious that Brady's photo is only a reversed and altered copy of the earlier image.