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Author Topic: Edwin Booth and the Trial  (Read 238 times)
Nan
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« on: March 05, 2012, 03:19:11 PM »

I just read in Bryan's The Great American Myth that Powell's attorney, W.E. Doster subpoenaed Edwin Booth as a potential witness for the defense at the Conspiracy Trial but, in the end, Edwin did not take the stand.  Supposedly Doster had hoped Edwin could testify as to John's "influence over weaker minds" but then decided against it after Edwin told him that "he knew less of his brother than anyone, and had nothing to do with him for years."  Prior to reading this, I didn't know that Edwin was considered as a defense witness but I'm intrigued about what his testimony may have revealed, not about the crime itself, but about his complex relationship with John.  Were any other Booth relatives interviewed by either the prosecution or defense for possible testimony at the trial?  Does any other information (personal letters, etc.) exist as to how the family coped with the tragedy, at the time of the trial and later on?

I'm just curious.... have historians been allowed full access to Edwin's personal correspondence stored at the Players or are some off-limits?  In her talk at the last Surratt conference, Nora Titone briefly described gaining access to the Players for her research but I can't remember the specifics.     
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Nan
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2012, 03:43:37 PM »

     Junius, Jr., Joseph Booth and John S. Clarke all gave formal statements during their imprisonments. They are all in Asia's book, as edited by Terry Alford.  They all say pretty much the same thing - they had infrequent contact with him, didn't share his political views and were loyal to the Union.

     There is also some letters between them and to/from friends detailing how devastating this was to the Booth family. Clarke asked Asia for a divorce and Edwin quit acting for 7 months. What was interesting was Edwin's advise to Asia - "Think no more of him as your brother - for he is dead to us now, as soon as he must be to all the world."
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 03:48:20 PM by BoothBuff » Logged
Nan
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2012, 04:36:41 PM »

Thanks for the info, Joe.  Very complex and interesting family, the Booths.  In spite of his advice to Asia, I think it is touching that Edwin kept a picture of John above the bedside table in his room at the Players for the rest of his life.
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Nan
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