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1863 John Wilkes Booth Theatrical Broadside
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $2,370
Rare theatrical broadside heralding the appearance of John Wilkes Booth in the title role of Shakespeare's Richard III at the Arch Street Theatre on Monday, March 2, 1863, in Philadelphia. In part:
First Night of the Engagement of the Young American Tragedian, Mr. John Wilkes Booth! When he will make his First Appearance in Philadelphia, in his Great Character of the Duke of Gloster in Shakspere's [sic] RICHARD III - A part in which he has been received, in the Principal Cities of the Union, with the most Enthusiastic Favor, by Intelligent and Crowded Audiences...Tuesday, Mr. Booth will appear as Raphael, in the Marble Heart. Wednesday, he will repeat his Great Character of Richard III. Thursday, Pescara, or the Apostate.
Also listed on the broadside are the other members of the cast, the time of the performance, and the admission prices. Had John Wilkes Booth not assassinated Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865, his name today would still be known by many on account of his successful theatrical career. Born into one of the most prominent acting families of his day, Booth distinguished himself on stage at an early age, and in 1857, at the age of nineteen, spent a whole season at the Arch Street Theatre as a member of its stock company. Interestingly, this broadside makes note that Booth will appear later in the week as Raphael in The Marble Heart. In the fall of 1863 Booth reprised that role at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D. C., where his performance was viewed by Lincoln. Little did either party know that the next time they met at that theatre history would be forever altered. It is not known how many theatrical broadsides featuring John Wilkes Booth have survived today, but the number is certainly very small. This is the only example we have ever seen. The broadside (9.5 x 22.25 inches), printed on thin paper stock, displays tears in each of the corners, which were obviously the result of the piece having once been nailed or tacked to a wall and then later torn away. Other flaws commensurate with its age and former use include a small hole at the top center, a horizontal fold, minor creases, tiny edge tears, and a few small, light stains. In Very Good condition overall. Mounted and framed to total dimensions of 17.5 x 30 inches. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000. SOLD FOR $2,370
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