Major General John Adams Dix


John Adams Dix (1798–1879) was a U.S. senator and Union general in the American Civil War. Born in Boscawen, New Hampshire, he joined the army at the age of 15 to take part in the War of 1812. He fought in the battles at Chrysler’s Field in 1813 and Niagara, also known as Lundy’s Lane, in 1814. While still in the military, he studied law and was admitted to the District of Columbia bar. In 1828 Dix left the army to work in New York and pursue a political career. A Jacksonian Democrat, he served as adjutant general and secretary of state of New York State, and later as postmaster general and secretary of the treasury of the United States. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, he was appointed major general and commanded the Department of Maryland, Fort Monroe, and the Department of the East. His greatest achievement of the war was negotiating the Dix-Hill Cartel on July 22, 1862, which arranged for prisoner exchanges with the Confederate authorities. After the war he served as minister to France and as governor of New York. The image is from an album of mostly Civil War-era portraits by the famous American photographer Matthew Brady (circa 1823‒96) that belonged to Emperor Pedro II of Brazil (1825‒91), a collector of photography as well as a photographer himself. The album was a gift to the emperor from Edward Anthony (1818‒88), another early American photographer who, in partnership with his brother, owned a company that in the 1850s became the leading seller of photographic supplies in the United States. Dom Pedro may have acquired the album during a trip to the United States in 1876 when he, along with President Ulysses S. Grant, opened the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Brady was born in upstate New York, the son of immigrants from Ireland. Best known for his photographs documenting the battles of the American Civil War, he began his career in 1844 when he opened a daguerreotype portrait studio at the corner of Broadway and Fulton Streets in New York City. Over the course of the next several decades, Brady produced portraits of leading American public figures, many of which were published as engravings in magazines and newspapers. In 1858 he opened a branch in Washington, DC. The album, which also contains a small number of non-photographic prints, is part of the Thereza Christina Maria Collection at the National Library of Brazil. The collection is composed of 21,742 photos assembled by Emperor Pedro II throughout his life and donated by him to the national library. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects. It documents the achievements of Brazil and Brazilians in the 19th century and also includes many photographs of Europe, Africa, and North America.

Last updated: March 22, 2016