As a midshipman in the United States Navy, Mathew Fontaine Maury sailed to Europe, South America, and around the globe, he also served as an astronomer on an expedition to the South Seas. In 1842, named superintendent of the Depot of Charts and Instruments, Maury supervised the Naval Observatory, beginning extensive meteorological research that identified short, efficient transatlantic routes. In 1855, his textbook The Physical Geography of the Sea established oceanography as a new field for research. Maury also promoted the growth of American commerce, advising
Cyrus Field on the course for a transatlantic telegraph cable.
A loyal Virginian, Maury became a commander in the Confederate navy in 1861, and the following year he went to England, where he used his international reputation to secure support for the Confederacy. Brady photographed Maury in Washington around 1860, when he was one of the nation's most distinguished scientists.
Matthew Fontaine Maury
1806 - 1873
Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print
(carte de visite), circa 1860
8.5 x 5.3 cm (3 3/8 x 2 3/16 inches)
National Portrait Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C.