Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Edwin Booth to Walt Whitman, 28 August 1884

Date: August 28, 1884

Whitman Archive ID: loc.05827

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953), 1:46. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Nicole Gray, and Ed Folsom

Aug. 28th, '84.

Walt Whitman, Esq.
Dear Sir—

I have tried in vain to obtain a good portrait of my father for you and am reduced to this last extremity1—I must send you a book (which you need not read) containing poor copies of the good portraits that are in some secure, forgotten place among my traps—stored in garret or cellar of my new house where all things are at sixes and sevens.

The one as Richard is from a copper plate, taken in England about 1820; the frontispiece is from a daguerreotype taken in Albany 1848—the original is excellent; Posthumus is from an engraving—taken very early in his career at Covent Garden—which I never saw. I am sorry that I can find none better than these poor reproductions. They give his face before and after his nose was broken, but are badly printed. I trust they will be of service to you.

Very truly yours,
Edwin Booth.

Edwin Thomas Booth (1833–1893) was an American actor, famous for performing Shakespeare in the U.S. and Europe, the son of actor Junius Brutus Booth (1796–1852), and the brother of Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth (1838–1865), also an actor. He was the owner of Booth's Theatre in New York.


1. See Whitman's letter to Booth from August 21, 1884, asking for "a good characteristic portrait of your father either in citizen's costume, or, (if very good) in one of his dramatic characters." [back]


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