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One of the great actors of the 19th century, Edwin Booth, spent a short time in Dorchester in a house at 386 Washington Street next to Mother's Rest, later known as the Cutler house. Son of another great actor Junius Brutus Booth and brother of John Wilkes Booth, Edwin Booth was born on his father's farm in Maryland on November 13, 1833. He married Mary Devlin on July 7, 1860. In late 1862 when the Booths returned from England where a daughter had been born, they traveled Boston where Edwin planned a season on the stage. Booth then planned to go to New York in February, but Mary fell ill and could not accompany him. When her doctor recommended that she spend the winter in a quiet place, they found the house in Dorchester. Her doctor, Erasmus Miller, known for his treatment of consumptive cases, lived near by.
In January 1863 Edwin and Mary saw John Wilkes Booth in The Apostle in Boston. They seemed to enjoy the house on Washington Street. "Its windows at the back overlooked a snow-covered slope unduating down toward Dorchester Bay; you could see ice-skimmed water from the bedroom window." Later while Edwin was in New York, John Wilkes Booth visited Mary in Dorchester. In February Mary became fatally ill and died on the 21st just before Edwin could reach her bedside. After a short time he gave up the Dorchester house and moved to 107 East Seventeenth Street in New York City. Booth died June 8, 1893.
Information from: Prince of Players: Edwin Booth by Eleanor Ruggles. New York: W.W. Norton, 1953.
Other books about Booth:
Grossman, Edwina Booth. Edwin Booth: Recollections by his Daughter. New York: The Century Co., 1894.
Skinner, Otis. The Last Tragedian: Booth Tells his Own Story. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1939.
Winter, William. The Life and Art of Edwin Booth. New York: Macmillan, 1893.
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Created: August 22, 2003 Modified: April 25, 2011