Abraham Bogardus was born on a farm in Dutchess County New York, on November 29, 1822.
In 1837 Mr Bogardus came to New York City.
In early 1846 Bogardus was schooled in Daguerrean photography by George W. Prosch. Bogardus, a tall slim man, proved to be an apt scholar, and in two weeks he was pronounced efficient and on the third week he opened a gallery. His first gallery was located near Barclay, at 217 Greenwich Street, New York. Through his gallery, Bogardus was visited by and he photographed many distinguished Americans.
In 1849, the success of Abraham Bodarus business enabled him to open a branch gallery at 126 Washington Street, Newark, N.J.
In 1865 he photographed many civil war veterans and heroes. Among them are Gens. Kilpatrick, Burnside, Schofield, Butterfield, Dix, and Anderson. In April 1865, Bogardius photographed Samuel Downing, a veteran of the Revolutionary war, when he was 104 years old.
In, 1869 Mr Bogardus was elected the first president of the National Photographic Association and served by continuous re-election for six or seven years.
On Jan 1st 1872, The specialties of Messrs Daniel and David Bendann combined with those of Bogardus to establish one of the greatest photographic firms in this country. The partnership lasted only 2 years.
On May 16, 1872, Bogardus photographed Horace Greeley. Greeley acknowledged Bogardus' proficiency in a letter which contained, "'Your imperial photograph, just received, is considered by my friends and regarded by me as one of the best, probably the very best, ever yet made. of yours truly, Horace Greeley.
Bogardus took a photograph of Gen. Hancock that was such an excellent image, it was chosen for the engraving on the new two-dollar bill.
In 1880 Mr. Bogardus photographed J. M. Matthews, who was one of the passengers on the steamboat, John Fitch when she labored painfully away from the Battery amid the jeers of a ribald crowd, in order to see whether a vessel really could be propelled by steam.
In 1884 Bogardus was listed as Abraham Bogardus & Co., 872 Broadway (at corner of 18th St.), New York. It was at this time that Bogardus placed an ad to sell his business and retire.
In 1885, Bogardus took the picture of A. R. Norton, an editor of Dallas, Texas. Mr. Norton's hair reached his waist, as did his beard, while his moustache was long enough to wrap about his ears. He had made a vow, during the Henry Clay campaign that he would never again cut his hair or shave until Mr. Clay was President.
In 1887 Abraham Bogardus retired from photography.
In 1889 Abraham Bogardus was the president of the Photographers and Artists Mutual Benefit Association. The Association was established to establishing a graded scale of prices that will be fair and equitable, due to the practice of some photographers pricing below the cost of production in order to drive their neighbors out of the business.
Abraham Bogardus died on March 22, 1908, at the age of 86.
During his life, Bogardus's maintained a scrap and signature book of his customers. Some of the important photographic sittings were of presidents, James A Garfield, Hayes, Senators Hoar, Anthony, and Cameron; Governerors John C New Ex Governor Cornell of New York Governor Hoyt of Pennsylvania Governor Foster of Ohio Governor Kinkead of Nevada Governor Colquitt of Georgia Governor Hoyt of Wyoming, Admirals Porter and Farragut; Richard A. Proctor, the astronomer; Chang, the Chinese of penns giant; Tom Thumb and wife, Henry Ward Beecher. Joseph Cook, Ole Bull, Professor Morse, Professor Proctor, Professor Newbury, William Cullen Bryant, Mayor Hewitt, Wendell Phillips, James G. Blaine, Bayard Taylor, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, P. T. Barnum, Robert G. Ingersoll, Thurlow Weed, General Hancock, Capt. F. Lahrbush, who said he was 107 years old when his picture was taken in 1870; Eng and Chang Bunker, the Siamese twins, and Paul B. Du Chaillu, the famous traveler, and William H. Vanderbilt, the railroad mogul heir. Bernard Fiery, a murderer, was photographed in the Tombs three days before he was hanged. He was brought out of his cell and placed in a bar of sunlight that fell through a grated window.
Abraham Bogardus has probably photographed more distinguished Americans than any other daguerrian photographer of the 1800s. He was considered one of the best in the world. His in-depth understanding of the art and trade has afforded him to keep up with the many changes in the early period of photographic discovery.
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