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Catalog Data

Alexander Gardner, 17 Oct 1821 - 1882  Search this
Mathew Brady Studio, active 1844 - 1894  Search this
Rose O'Neal Greenhow, 1815 - 1 Oct 1864  Search this
Albumen silver print
Image/Sheet: 8.7 x 5.6 cm (3 7/16 x 2 3/16")
Mount: 10.1 x 6.1 cm (4 x 2 3/8")
Mat: 45.7 × 35.6 cm (18 × 14")
Exhibition Label:
Born Port Tobacco, Maryland
Rose O’Neal Greenhow (c. 1815–1864) was the Confederacy’s most celebrated female spy at the start of the Civil War. A popular widow and hostess in Washington, D.C., she moved easily in the social circles of the nation’s capital. When hostilities commenced in the spring of 1861, few were better connected than she. An ardent Southern sympathizer, Greenhow used her ample charms and guile to pass along information on the defenses of Washington and Union troop movements to Confederate officials.
She is credited with alerting Southern rebels just prior to the Battle of Manassas. Her clandestine activities were so successful that noted detective Allan Pinkerton surveilled her. Although he put Greenhow under house arrest and ultimately had her jailed, she was always considered a security risk, given her extensive social connections.
This photograph of Greenhow with her daughter Rose was taken at the Old Capitol Prison by Alexander Gardner for Mathew Brady’s studio.
Exterior  Search this
Photographic format\Carte-de-visite  Search this
Rose O'Neal Greenhow: Female  Search this
Rose O'Neal Greenhow: Literature\Writer  Search this
Rose O'Neal Greenhow: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Secessionist  Search this
Rose O'Neal Greenhow: Military\Spy\Confederate  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
American Origins
On View:
NPG, East Gallery 112
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery