Edwin Booth

A Biography and Performance History

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About the Book

The great nineteenth-century stage actor Edwin Booth began his long career in 1849 as a young teenager, following in his father’s footsteps. This biography traces his life and career as a tragic actor, including his childhood; his early acting tours of California, Australia and Hawaii; his rise to fame as a touring star; his two marriages; his relationship with his brother John Wilkes Booth; his disastrous management of Booth’s Theatre in New York City; and his death in 1891. The book includes an extensive performance history detailing every known Edwin Booth performance during his more than 30 years on the stage, with reviews and other supplementary materials.

About the Author(s)

Arthur W. Bloom has served as a professor and academic administrator at Loyola University Chicago, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles and Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He lives in Chalfont, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Arthur W. Bloom
Format: hardcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 360
Bibliographic Info: 18 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7289-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0146-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments   vi

Introduction   1

Part I: Biography

One. 1833–1849: “Born to the stage”   5

Two. 1849–1852: “A long legged stripling …

awkward as a young duck”   11

Three. 1852–1856: “Full of promise … and Bowery rant”   17

Four. Professional and Family Life, 1856–1860   29

Five. 1857–1860: Booth, Mary Devlin and Adam Badeau   36

Six. America and England, 1860–1862: “At a larger circumference”   50

Seven. 1862–1863: “Tell Molly I’m coming”   61

Eight. 1863–1865: “If it goes a year, keep it up!”   68

Nine. Edwin and John Wilkes Booth: “Life’s too

short to spend in grieving”   74

Ten. 1865–1867: “Something to keep us above the surf”   89

Eleven. Mary McVicker: “The best actress we’ve had for a century”   93

Twelve. Booth’s Theatre, 1867–1869: “A temple to art”   98

Thirteen. Booth’s Theatre, 1869–1871: “The currency of good

intentions is not bankable money”   103

Fourteen. Booth’s Theatre, 1871–1883: “So much for high-old-art”   106

Fifteen. Family Life, 1870–1880: “My house has been a hospital”   112

Sixteen. England, 1880–1881: “The verdict of foreigners”   119

Seventeen. 1881–1882: The Death of Mary McVicker   124

Eighteen. Europe, 1882–1883: “The most important

engagement of my life”   128

Nineteen. 1883–1886: Touring and Family Life   135

Twenty. The 1886-1887 Season: “It is time to harvest all I can”   142

Twenty-One. 1887–1888: Booth and Barrett   149

Twenty-Two. “The Booth and Barrett Social Company”   156

Twenty-Three. 1888–1889: The Second Booth and Barrett Tour   161

Twenty-Four. 1889–1890: Touring with Modjeska   166

Twenty-Five. 1890–1893: Illness, Last Tour and Death   170

Part II: Performance History   177

Notes   297

Bibliography   344

Index   347

Book Reviews & Awards

“work of impressive biographical scholarship and a strongly recommended addition”—Midwest Book Review.