Sunday, November 26, 2006
At the left of this writing is Edwin Booth, the famous actor and brother of the man at the right John Wilkes Booth, the presidential assassin of Abraham Lincoln. On this date in 1864, Edwin Booth portrayed Hamlet at the old Winter Garden Theatre in New York City in what is known today as the finest performance of the piece in dramatic history. How sad that in one family, there can be three brothers and a father who are incredible actors and one who will fail and die because of his hatred of Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States. I learn that John Wilkes actually performed a play at Ford's Theatre for Abraham Lincoln in 1863 even directing a line at Lincoln, himself. Lincoln was so impressed by John Wilkes Booth that he had asked to meet him-- and Booth refused. Another little tidbit about Edwin Booth. He actually saved the life of Robert Todd Lincoln, Abe's only surviving son from serious injury and death by saving him from falling between two cars of a passenger train in 1864-- just one year before the other Booth killed Lincoln and had plotted to kill William Seward, and Vice President Andrew Johnson. American history can be absolutely fascinating. Another tidbit, Booth actually had the opportunity to kill Lincoln at his second inaugural address-- he was that close-- but failed to do so. Edwin actually begged Andrew Johnson for the remains of his brother John Wilkes. It was years before his request was honored! American History continues to fascinate me! But more of this story later!