Brady himself composed the photograph, having Lincoln pose with his hand resting upon books.
Following standard practice of the day, Brady sold prints of the photograph. As the technology did not yet exist to print photographs in newspapers or magazines, engravings based on the photograph were produced and circulated.
This particular engraving is obviously based on the photograph Brady took on the day of the address at Cooper Union.
For many Americans, engravings such as this would be the first image they would see of the man who would become the next president.
After Lincoln won the election of 1860, a similar engraving based on the Brady portrait would appear on the issue of Harpers Weekly dated November 10, 1860.