LOEWENTHEIL PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTION, COURTESY OF “19TH CENTURY RARE BOOK & PHOTOGRAPH SHOP” & THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
Mathew B. Brady used this portrait camera in his Washington, D.C., gallery in the early 1860s. The camera and its brass barrel lens and original tripod appear on the photographer’s bankruptcy filing in April 1873. For a century, the camera was in the famous Meserve Collection of Civil War photographs and ephemera and was lent by the Meserve family to Time Magazine in 1957 to be used to photograph President Dwight David Eisenhower in a pose similar to one by Brady of President Lincoln. Although it cannot be known for sure, it is enticing to consider that this camera may have been the one used by Brady and his corps of photographers to create their historic portraits of Lincoln.