Mathew Brady, new namesake of Tulsa's Brady Street, has no link to city; archivist says he 'fits in'

TULSA - During Thursday night's Tulsa City Council meeting, the fate of Brady Street was determined as people from within the community and around the world took notice of the controversial vote.

The street, named after Tulsa founder and KKK member Wyatt Tate Brady, was changed to M.B. Brady Street, with an honorary title of Reconciliation Way, with a 7-1 vote.

RELATED: Council votes to change Brady name (  STORY: Who is Tate Brady? (

City Councilors, led by District 4's Blake Ewing, directed the new name honor Mathew B. Brady, a famous Civil War photographer known loosely as the father of photojournalism.

But it doesn't appear the man, who formally photographed 18 presidents in his career and whose photographs largely shape our understanding of the nation's bloodiest war, has any connection to Tulsa.

Ian Swart, an archivist at the Tulsa Historical Society, handles nearly 50,000 photos a day while studying the city's history. He says he hasn't come across a Mathew Brady photo.

"As far as Tulsa of any sort, of little settlement or village or railroad or anything through here, there wasn't anything of that sort."

But even though Tulsa's newest Brady doesn't have a direct link to the city, Swart believes his legacy "totally fits in with the Arts District."

"He was national known figure and was instrumental in the early process of photography in the United States," he said.

Scott Moore, owner of Brady District restaurant Hey Mambo, says he would have preferred to keep the original name, but says it's time to move forward.

"They came up with a strange compromise, but I think it's the right one," he said. "They picked a good Brady. He's an artist, photographer. I don't mind it."

The re-naming process, which should be completed within the next few months, is expected to cost up to $10,000, but will be covered by private funds, according to city officials.

Print this article Back to Top