- Created: Wednesday, 15 May 2013 20:45
- Written by Joe
He was a famous 19th-century American actor who toured throughout America and the major capitals of Europe, performingShakespearean plays. In 1869 he founded Booth's Theatre in New York, a spectacular theatre that was quite modern for its time. Some theatrical historians consider him the greatest American actor, and the greatest Hamlet, of the 19th century.
However, he is usually remembered today as the brother of John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated PresidentAbraham Lincoln.
What makes him interesting is that Edwin Booth saved Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert, from serious injury or even death. The incident occurred on a train platform in Jersey City, New Jersey. The exact date of the incident is uncertain, but it is believed to have taken place in late 1864 or early 1865, shortly before Edwin's brother, John Wilkes Booth, assassinated President Lincoln.
History Fact: Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on: April 15, 1865
Robert Lincoln recalled the incident in a 1909 letter to Richard Watson Gilder, editor of The Century Magazine.
The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the car. The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body. There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.
Booth did not know the identity of the man whose life he had saved until some months later, when he received a letter from a friend who found out that the guy who he had saved was Edwin.
The fact that he had saved the life of Abraham Lincoln's son was said to have been of some comfort to Edwin Booth following his brother's assassination of the president.
Edwin Booth: This week's historical badass