John Wilkes Booth’s Other Victim

When William Withers, Jr., stepped up to the conductor’s podium at Ford’s Theatre that April evening, he believed the greatest triumph of his career was just a few minutes away

April 14, 1865, was an important day for William Withers, Jr. He was the orchestra leader at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., and that evening he was going to perform his song “Honor to Our Soldiers” for Abraham Lincoln. The President had accepted an invitation by the management of the theater to see the actress Laura Keene in Our American Cousin; Keene herself was to lead the audience and cast in singing Withers’s tribute to Lincoln. Read more »


Or, How to Write a Smash Hit the First Time You Try

On a certain day in December, 1913, I went up to the ornate courthouse of the Appellate Division, on Madison Square, to join a numerous company of youths who, like myself, had survived the bar examinations and the scrutiny of the Character Committee of the Bar Association, and were now being admitted to the practice of law in the state of New York. Aged twenty-one, I had been employed for more than five years in a large law office.Read more »