Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Booths in Cincinnati

As was I flipping through a recently-acquired copy of The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia by Edward Steers Jr, I found an interesting tidbit on pages 65 and 66.

In an entry about Junius (Jun) Brutus Booth Jr. older brother of John Wilkes Booth, Steers notes: "At the time of the assassination, Jun was appearing at the Pike Opera House in Cincinnati. Like his brother Edwin, he hid in his room from angry crowds that might have hanged him if they found him."

This interesting tidbit, which might be a good idea for further research for me to do to see if any local newspapers at the time realized he was in the area, reminded me of a note I had found in previous research about the Siege of Cincinnati, a Cincinnati Enquirer article of November 13, 1862 had an announcement in the Amusements section:

Booth at the National: - The great French drama of the Corsican Brothers will be presented this evening, Mr. J. Wilkes Booth appearing in the double of "Fabian" and "Louis," supported by the entire company. The announcement of this thrilling drama alone should crowd the "Old Drury." Mr. Booth's engagement is rapidly drawing to a close, and consequently but a few nights more are granted in which to see the splendid acting of the young tragedian.

Given that this was only a few weeks after the announcement of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln and Booth's disdain for emancipation, I do have to wonder what non-acting thoughts were going through his head at this time.

A similar announcement appeared in the November 19, 1862 Enquirer, and then on November 14, 1863, the paper reported:

National Theater - Mr. J. Wilkes Booth will appear to-night for the second and last time in his great impersonation of "Richard III."  This is Mr. Booth's masterpiece. No actor now upon the stage can render the character of the hump-backed tyrant with equal affect. In short, Booth out-Richards Richard. The piece will be produced in superb style, and none should fail to see it. Mr. Booth's engagement closes to-morrow night.


  1. interesting! have you read "Manhunt" by James L Swanson? or "My Thoughts be Bloody" by Nina Titone? Both are great books on the subject

  2. I've heard god hings about " Manhunt" but have not read it yet. I'll have to keep the other one in mind too


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