Benjamin Harris Brewster was born in Salem County, New Jersey, on October 13, 1816. He graduated from Princeton College in 1834. In the same year he entered as a student in the law office of Eli K. Price of Philadelphia and in 1838 was admitted to the bar. In 1846 Brewster was appointed commissioner, by President Polk, to adjudicate the claims of the Cherokee Indians against the United States Government. He was appointed attorney general of the State of Pennsylvania in 1867 by Governor Geary. President Arthur appointed Brewster Attorney General of the United States on December 19, 1881, and he held that office until the accession of Grover Cleveland to the Presidency in 1885. He died in Philadelphia on April 4, 1888.
Uhle was born in Chemnitz, Saxony, and was brought to the United States by his parents in 1851. He received his first instructions in art from his father, attended the Pennsylvania Academy at age fifteen and studied the "old Masters" in Munich and Paris. He became interested in photography and devoted the years between 1867 and 1875 to this new medium. In 1877 Uhle opened a studio in Philadelphia and was constantly employed in painting portraits.
Uhle's portrait of Attorney General Brewster was painted in 1884.