Overshadowed in history by his infamous younger brother John Wilkes Booth, stage actor Edwin Booth (d.1893) overcame tremendous controversy to be remembered as the greatest American actor of his day. Born into the famous Booth family of actors, Edwin was a celebrated Shakespearean performer most noted for his portrayal of Hamlet. He founded the Players Club and Booth’s Theater in New York City and also owned the Walnut Theater in Philadelphia. When his younger sibling John Wilkes assassinated Abraham Lincoln, Edwin was forced to give up the stage for an extended period, but eventually resumed his profession to great acclaim. Coincidentally, he is credited with saving the life of Lincoln’s son Robert in a mishap on a train platform in Jersey City.
Here he is seen in a sturdy 10x13 cabinet photo, signed (“8-9”) with the date inscription “1892” and a salutation. Though Booth’s signature appears in a lightly stained area at bottom that continues up the right edge, the autograph remains bold and clearly identifiable. While smaller sized period CDVs of Booth are attainable in nice condition, this large format photo can be considered a remarkable example, as typically large cabinet photos have broken corners and/or large sections of surface loss. Not so in this case, as this prime piece remains complete and intact with a sturdy backer and only one unobtrusive surface crack in the field and other than the noted light staining on the perimeter, the obverse is clean and very pleasing. Full photo LOA from JSA.