Specializing in Authentic Civil War Artifacts
  • Edwin Booth Cabinet Card and Autograph Letter Signed Quote

    There is only 1 item left in stock.

    Edwin Booth Cabinet Card and Autograph Letter Signed Quote, Dated May 1880. This is a handsome Cabinet Card of Edwin Booth (1833–93), one of America's first great actors. Brother to John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln's assassin. The cabinet card features a Booth seated with his hand positioned inside his waist-coat.  This pose is often thought to be stately or gentlemanly. This very rare and very attractive, Cabinet Card Photo of Edwin Booth and is in excellent condition. The photograph itself is clean and crisp and exhibits sharp focus, strong contrast and rich tonality.  Also included in this framed piece is a handwritten quotation and signature of Booth. Edwin Booth's signature is simply stunning and also in excellent condition. The autograph is dark and bold.  The quotation reads:  

    "He prayeth best who loveth best / all things, both great and small; / For the dead God that loveth us / He made and loveth all. /  Edwin Booth May 1880". 

    This quotation was made famous by Samuel Taylor Coleridge an English poet, literary critic, philosopher and theologian who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He wrote the poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as the major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on William Shakespeare, was highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. Coleridge coined many familiar words and phrases, including suspension of disbelief. He was a major influence on Ralph Waldo Emerson and American transcendentalism.

    Nicely framed and ready for display.  Frame measures 10 1/4" x 17 3/8". 

    Edwin Thomas Booth (November 13, 1833 – June 7, 1893) was a 19th-century American actor who toured throughout America and the major capitals of Europe, performing Shakespearean plays. In 1869 he founded Booth's Theatre in New York, a spectacular theatre that was quite modern for its time.  Some theatrical historians consider him the greatest American actor, and the greatest Prince Hamlet, of the 19th century.  His achievements are often overshadowed by his relationship with his brother, John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

    Booth was born in Bel Air, Maryland, into the English American theatrical Booth family.  He was the illegitimate son of another famous actor, Junius Brutus Booth, an Englishman, who named Edwin after Edwin Forrest and Thomas Flynn, two of Junius' colleagues.  He was the older brother of John Wilkes Booth, himself a successful actor who gained notoriety as the assassin of President Lincoln.

    Nora Titone, in her book My Thoughts Be Bloody, recounts how the shame and ambition of Junius Brutus Booth's three illegitimate actor sons, Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. (who never achieved the stage stardom of his two younger actor brothers), Edwin Booth, and John Wilkes Booth, spurred them to strive, as rivals, for achievement and acclaim—Edwin, a Unionist, and John Wilkes, a Confederate and the assassin of Abraham Lincoln.

    In early appearances, Booth usually performed alongside his father, making his stage debut as Tressel or Tressil in Colley Cibber's version of Richard III in Boston in 1849. His first appearance in New York City was in the character of Wilford in The Iron Chest, which he played at the National Theatre in Chatham Street, on the 27th of September 1850. A year later, on the illness of the father, the son took his place in the character of Richard III.

    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 assassinated Lincoln, 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 performance, and the only time that the three brothers appeared together on the same stage.  The funds were used to erect a statue of William Shakespeare that still stands in Central Park just south of the Promenade. Immediately afterwards, Edwin Booth began a production of Hamlet on the same stage, which came to be known as the "hundred nights Hamlet", setting a record that lasted until John Barrymore broke the record in 1922, playing the title character for 101 performances.

    From 1863 to 1867, Booth managed the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City, mostly staging Shakespearean tragedies. In 1863, he bought the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia.

    After John Wilkes Booth's assassination of President Lincoln in April 1865, the infamy associated with the Booth name forced Edwin Booth to abandon the stage for many months. Edwin, who had been feuding with John Wilkes before the assassination, disowned him afterward, refusing to have John's name spoken in his house.  He made his return to the stage at the Winter Garden Theatre in January 1866, playing the title role in Hamlet, which would eventually become his signature role.

    In 1867, a fire damaged the Winter Garden Theatre, resulting in the building's subsequent demolition. Afterwards, Booth built his own theatre, an elaborate structure called Booth's Theatre in Manhattan, which opened on February 3, 1869, with a production of Romeo and Juliet starring Booth as Romeo, and Mary McVicker as Juliet. Elaborate productions followed, but the theatre never became a profitable or even stable financial venture. The panic of 1873 caused the final bankruptcy of Booth's 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. They had one daughter, Edwina, born on December 9, 1861, in London. He later remarried, wedding his acting partner Mary McVicker in 1869, and became a widower again in 1881.

     In 1869, Edwin acquired his brother John's body after repeatedly writing to President Andrew Johnson pleading for it. Johnson finally released the remains, and Edwin had them buried, unmarked, in the family plot at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore.

    In 1888, Booth founded The Players, a private club for performing, literary, and visual artists and their supporters, and dedicated his home on Gramercy Park to it.

    His final performance was, fittingly, in his signature role of Hamlet, in 1891 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

    Edwin Booth had a small stroke (1891) which precipitated his decline. In April, 1893 he suffered another stroke and died June 7, 1893 in his apartment in The Players clubhouse. He was buried next to his first wife at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His bedroom in the club has been kept untouched since his death. The New York Times reported his sad departure.

    Edwin Booth saved Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert, from serious injury or even death. The incident occurred on a train platform in Jersey City, New Jersey. The exact date of the incident is uncertain, but it is believed to have taken place in late 1864 or early 1865. Robert Lincoln recalled the incident in a 1909 letter to Richard Watson Gilder, editor of The Century Magazine.

    The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the car. The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body. There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.

    Booth did not know the identity of the man whose life he had saved until some months later, when he received a letter from a friend, Colonel Adam Badeau, who was an officer on the staff of General Ulysses S. Grant. Badeau had heard the story from Robert Lincoln, who had since joined the Union Army and was also serving on Grant's staff. In the letter, Badeau gave his compliments to Booth for the heroic deed. The fact that he had saved the life of Abraham Lincoln's son was said to have been of some comfort to Edwin Booth following his brother's assassination of the president.

     Edwin's acting style was distinctly different from that of his father. While the senior Booth was, like his contemporaries Edmund Kean and William Charles Macready, strong and bombastic, favoring characters such as Richard III, Edwin played more naturalistically, with a quiet, more thoughtful delivery, tailored to roles like Hamlet.

    A number of modern dramatizations have been made of Edwin Booth's life, on both stage and screen. One of the best known is the 1955 film Prince of Players written by Moss Hart, based loosely on the popular book of that name by Eleanor Ruggles. It was directed by Philip Dunne and stars Richard Burton and Raymond Massey as Edwin and Junius Brutus Booth, Sr., with Charles Bickford and Eva Le Gallienne, who plays Gertrude to Burton's Hamlet. The film depicts events in Booth's life well before, and then surrounding, the assassination of Lincoln by Booth's younger brother.

    A very rare and very beautiful, Cabinet Card Photograph and Signature of Edwin Booth acclaimed American Stage Actor and brother of the Assassin of President Abraham Lincoln - and a fantastic addition to any collection!

    Inventory Number: DOC 120