Anonymous Gentleman, by Brady’s Washington DC studio

Anonymous Gentleman, by Brady
Anonymous Gentleman, by Brady

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you know by now of my interest in images by Mathew Brady’s Washington DC studio. Here is another gem, in near perfect original condition. The sitter is anonymous.

I’ve seen enough of Brady’s CDVs now that I’ve noticed a pattern in the labeling – if you want to tell which studio produced the image, first look at the front – if it says Washington or New York on the front, that’s a 100 % guarantee of where it was taken. If it is not labeled on the front, look at the photographer’s imprint on the verso. The studio that produced it will be listed first: a Washington DC portrait will say “No. 352 Pennsylvania Av., Washington DC & New York”, whereas a New York portrait will say “Broadway & 10th Street, New York, & 352 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC”. Strangely, the Washington DC ones often list only “New York” as the second address, if they list it at all (I have seen it all three ways,”Broadway & 10th”, “New York” and no second address), but the New York ones seem to always list the full “352 Pennsylvania Avenue” as the second address. This of course does not take into account the E&HT Anthony CDVs, which do not list any Brady studio address, but rather state “Published by E & HT Anthony, 501 Broadway, New York” very prominently, and then include the following variations:

  • From Photographic Negative by Brady
  • From Photographic Negative in Brady’s National Portrait Gallery
  • Manufacturers of Photographic Albums
  • No Brady attribution or mention of photographic albums

I guess it makes sense for Anthony to plug the albums on the backs of CDVs, but they made a full range of photographic supplies from albums to chemistry and cameras. The name lived on in various forms for well over a century – they merged with Scovill around the turn of the 20th century and formed Ansco (ANthony & SCOvill), which then partnered with Agfa in the US to become Agfa-Ansco.

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