• Civil War Photographer Matthew Brady, in Financial Straits, Asked to Pay Debt -- Docketed by Brady

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    MATTHEW B. BRADY was a highly successful photographer who won awards from the American Institute and a medal at the Crystal Palace exhibit. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he used his money to train a team to photograph it.  He was on the scene at Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and Petersburg.

     

    E.L. COOK was the nephew of CHARLES D. FREDERICKS, a contemporary of Brady’s, who operated Frederick’s Photographic Temple of Art, the largest and most stylish gallery in New York City.  In 1859, Fredericks was introduced to cartes de visite.

     

    2 ½ pp, 5 x 8, ALS by Cook to Brady and docketed by Brady, “E.L. Cook/May 18, 1865, regarding financial matters.  As the Civil War concluded, the interest of battlefield photographs waned and Brady suffered a number of financial setbacks.  This letter to Brady clearly illustrates his dire financial circumstances as Cook is seeking payment from Brady.

     

    Cook writes, in part, “Dear Brady…Mr. Fredericks will be home on the 23 and I hope you will do all you can before that time as he has written me often about the matter and I have done the best I can to make matters easy for you.  The whole amt. you have paid so far is $200.00, interest $30.00. $230. The interest for 3 months is $35. His partner tried hard to prevent his loaning the money and it was only owing to my urgent request that he did loan it, so that I feel as sorry as you do about the matter.  I heard that you were coming in town or would have written you before. I have been on the go all of my time seeing my old customers and trying to get them back in which I have been tolerably successful. If you came on come in and you will find me in…Please write me at once and at least try and pay the interest due. You know I will do all I can to make things easy with my uncle for you.  He will arrive here on the 23rd.  Hastily and truly your friend E.L. Cook”

     

    Folds, toning, one small stain at the bottom left.

     

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