American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Edwin Booth as Hamlet

Edwin Booth (1833-1893) as Hamlet
Edwin Booth (1833-1893) as Hamlet
Edwin Booth (1833-1893) as Hamlet
LC-DIG-ppmsca-13465 - LC-USZC4-4701
New York: J. Gurney & Son, ca. 1870
Prints & Photographs Division (3, 3.1)

"Booth, to a majority of us, is Hamlet," stated a reviewer in 1870, around the time these photographs were taken. Between November 1864 and March 1865, Edwin Booth played Hamlet for 100 consecutive nights in New York City. Thereafter, he was identified with the part, for which his slight, dark looks, musical voice, and dignified bearing suited him. A member of a famous acting family, Edwin was the brother of John Wilkes Booth (1838-1865), the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. His farewell stage appearance was as Hamlet in 1891 at the Academy of Music in Brooklyn. Some theatre historians consider him the greatest American actor of the nineteenth century.

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