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Edwin Booth (1833-1893) with his daughter, Edwina


One of the leading tragedians of the nineteenth-century American stage, Edwin Booth was born into a family of actors and first played minor parts in productions featuring his father, Junius Brutus Booth. After honing his craft in stock companies on the West Coast, Edwin Booth returned east in 1857, where a series of triumphant appearances rapidly established his reputation, launching a long and critically acclaimed career. Unfortunately, Booth’s success in the theater was frequently punctuated by profound personal tragedy. In 1863, the untimely death of his beloved wife left him to care for their young daughter, Edwina. Two years later his brother’s assassination of Abraham Lincoln drove Edwin Booth into temporary retirement. His career revived very successfully, however, when he returned to the stage in 1866, and by 1869 Booth had opened his own handsomely appointed theater in New York City.


Mathew Brady Studio (active 18441883)
Albumen silver print
Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

 

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