Peter Force

Mathew B. Brady (American, near Lake George, New York 1823?–1896 New York)

ca. 1858
Salted paper print from glass negative
Image: 34.4 × 27.2 cm (13 9/16 × 10 11/16 in.) Mount: 50.4 × 47.3 cm (19 13/16 × 18 5/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Joseph M. Cohen Gift, 2005
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Early on, Brady set himself the task of photographing the nation's leading figures: presidents and military men, business leaders and stars of the stage, writers and artists. Each photograph of a man or woman of mark, displayed in the studio's reception room, attracted new clients and bore witness to the skill, art, and social standing of "Brady of Broadway" as much as it did to the taste and station of the sitter.
    Peter Force (1790-1868), depicted here with wild hair and a somber expression, surrounded by papers and books, was established as a printer in Washington, D. C., where he quickly became immersed in local politics, serving as president of both the city council and the board of aldermen and as mayor from 1836 to 1840. Though his political career was formidable, Force was best known for his work American Archives, in which he intended to publish early American documents relating to colonial and American history through 1789. Although the project was discontinued before completion, the nine volumes ultimately published covered the years between 1774 and 1776 and are considered an indispensable resource to scholars of the Revolution.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on mount, recto BC below print: "Peter Force"

  • Provenance

    [Rinhart Galleries, Inc., Colebrook, Connecticut]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, July 19, 1985

  • See also