Edwin Thomas Booth was born November 13, 1833 – died June 7, 1893.  Booth was a famous 19th century American actor. He was born near Bel Air, Maryland into the British-American theatrical Booth family. Some theatre historians call him the greatest American actor and Hamlet of the 19th century. In his early appearances he usually performed alongside his father, making his stage debut as Tressel in Richard III in Boston in 1849. Two years later, Edwin had his first starring role, standing in for his supposedly ailing father as Richard. After his father’s death in 1852, Booth went on a worldwide tour, visiting Australia and Hawaii, and finally gaining acclaim of his own during an engagement in Sacramento, California in 1856. Before his brother murdered the president, Edwin had appeared with his two brothers John Wilkes and Junius Brutus Booth Jr. in Julius Caesar in 1864. John Wilkes played Marc Antony, Edwin played Brutus, and Junius played Cassius. It was a benefit show and the first and last time that the brothers would appear together on the same stage. From 1863 to 1867, Booth managed the Winter Garden Theater in New York City, mostly staging Shakespearean tragedies. In 1865, Booth purchased the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. After Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, the infamy associated with the Booth name forced Booth to abandon the stage for many months, a period dramatized in the 1955 Richard Burton movie Prince of Players, which was adapted from the biography of the same name by Eleanor Ruggles. He made his return to the stage at the Winter Garden in January 1866, playing the lead in Hamlet. Hamlet would eventually become Booth’s signature role. In 1867, a fire damaged the Winter Garden Theatre, resulting in the building’s subsequent demolition. Booth then built the Booth Theatre (completed in 1869) and continued a renowned acting career. The panic of 1873 caused the bankruptcy of the Booth Theatre in 1874. After the bankruptcy, Booth went on another worldwide tour, eventually regaining his fortune. Booth was married to Mary Devlin from 1860 to 1863, the year of her death. He later remarried, wedding Mary McVicker in 1869, and becoming a widower again in 1881. In 1869, Edwin acquired his brother John’s body after repeatedly writing to the president begging for it. The president finally released the remains, and Edwin had them buried, unmarked, in the family plot at Green Mount Cemetery near Baltimore. In 1888 Booth founded the Players in New York, a club for actors and others associated with the arts, and dedicated his home to it. His final performance was, fittingly, in his signature role of Hamlet, in 1891 at the Brooklyn Academy. He died in 1893 at the Players, and was buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery next to his first wife, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Original Edwin Booth Autograph, Signed on Cut Paper. Written on Paper: Edwin Booth and what looks like Mar ’82. Regular Price – $ 600.00 / Sale Price – $ 399.00.

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