December 29, 2015

William H. Seward

William H. Seward (1801‒72) was a prominent New York politician who served as secretary of state to Abraham Lincoln and emerged as Lincoln’s closest cabinet adviser. A graduate of Union College, he studied law and was admitted to the bar but soon entered politics, serving first in the New York state senate. A member of the Whig Party, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, in which he served 1849‒61. By the late 1850s, he was the most prominent figure in the newly formed Republican Party. As secretary of state during the Civil War, he succeeded in heading off recognition of the Confederate States of America by the European powers. He remained in office after Lincoln’s death and, as secretary of state to President Andrew Johnson, negotiated the purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire. 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.

Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase

Salmon P. Chase (1808‒73) was secretary of the treasury in the administration of President Abraham Lincoln. Born in New Hampshire, as a child he was sent to live with an uncle in Ohio after the death of his father. Chase was a deeply religious man who throughout his life sought to reconcile his personal and political ambitions with his faith and sense of obligation to society. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1826, he studied law in Washington, DC, but then returned to Ohio where he developed a successful law career. He became involved with the American Sunday School Union, defended the rights of former slaves in the courts, worked to establish the Free Soil Party, and in 1849 was elected to the U.S. Senate from Ohio by a combination of Free Soil and Democratic votes. In 1855 he was elected governor of Ohio on the ticket of the newly established Republican Party. The following year he played a prominent role in organizing the national Republican Party. As secretary of the treasury, Chase’s great achievement was to organize the financing of the Civil War, which he did through reforms that included the introduction of paper money and the establishment of a national banking system. He resigned his position in June 1864, but later that year Lincoln appointed him chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In that capacity Chase presided over the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson and was involved in important decisions relating to Reconstruction. 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.

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton

Edwin McMasters Stanton (1814‒69) was secretary of war from 1862 to 1868. Born in Steubenville, Ohio, he completed one year at Kenyon College before being forced to leave for financial reasons. He studied law with a local attorney and became a successful lawyer, practicing in Steubenville, Pittsburgh, and eventually Washington, DC, where he served for a time as attorney general in the administration of President James Buchanan. Following the resignation of Lincoln’s first secretary of war, Simon Cameron, Stanton was appointed to the post. He proved to be an administrative genius who cleaned up procurement scandals left over from Cameron and ensured the equipping and provisioning of the vast Union war establishment. Stanton stayed on in his post into the Reconstruction era, but he fell out with President Andrew Johnson over what Stanton saw as the latter’s excessively lenient policies toward the former Confederate states. 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.

Secretary of the Interior Caleb B. Smith

Caleb B. Smith (1808‒64) was President Abraham Lincoln’s first secretary of the interior. He was born in Boston but at a young age moved with his parents to Cincinnati. After studying law in Ohio, as a young man he left the state for Indiana, where he was admitted to the bar, practiced law, and became active in politics. He was elected to five terms in the Indiana House of Representatives (1833‒42), followed by four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1843‒49). A member of the Whig and later the Republican Party, Smith played a major role in securing the support of the Indiana delegation for Lincoln at the 1860 Republican convention in Chicago and helped to win the state for Lincoln in the November general election. Smith’s appointment to the cabinet reflected the role that Indiana and he personally had played in electing Lincoln. Smith headed the Department of Interior until December 1862, when he resigned and was appointed by Lincoln to a federal judgeship. 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.

Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles (1802‒78) was secretary of the navy in the cabinet of President Abraham Lincoln.  Born in Glastonbury, Connecticut, the son of a merchant and shipbuilder, Welles studied law but never practiced.  He worked as a journalist for the Hartford Times and Weekly Advertizer and in 1825 he was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly. A longtime Democrat, he broke with his party over the issue of slavery and helped to found the Hartford Evening Press to promote the Republican Party and its principles.  When Welles took office in March 1861, the U.S. Navy consisted of a mere 45 ships, of which only 12 were ready for service. Over the course of the next four years the navy purchased or had constructed 313 vessels, and bought or leased another 184 ships. By blockading the Confederate coast, cooperating with the army to capture New Orleans, and working with the army to gain control of such important inland waterways as the Cumberland, Tennessee, and ultimately the Mississippi rivers, the Navy under Welles made a major contribution to winning the war for the North. 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.

Postmaster General Montgomery Blair

Montgomery Blair (1813‒83) was postmaster general in the cabinet of President Abraham Lincoln. Born and educated in Kentucky, he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1836 but soon left the army to study law. He moved to Saint Louis, Missouri, where he practiced law with his brother and where his father was an influential newspaper editor. In 1842‒43 he served as the mayor of Saint Louis. In 1853 he moved to Washington, DC, where he and his large family lived for a time in Blair House, across from the White House. The members of the Blair family were prominent border state exponents of a view that opposed slavery, but they did not espouse rapid abolition or full equality for blacks. In 1856 Blair represented the defendant in the infamous Dred Scott case before the United States Supreme Court, arguing unsuccessfully that Scott was entitled to his freedom by virtue of his residence in free territory. As a member of the cabinet, Blair was a staunch Unionist who stood alone in counseling Lincoln that he must not abandon Fort Sumter, lest the South be confirmed in its view that the North would not fight to preserve the Union. Blair threatened to resign if the fort was not reinforced. 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.