Faces From The Past—IV

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At the end only Edwin and a brother, Joseph, remained of Junius Brutus Booth’s ten children. Edwin was not yet sixty when he died, but his face and figure were those of an old, old man, weary of “this hell of misery to which we have been doomed,” looking forward to death as “the greatest boon the Almighty has granted us.” It came, at last, in 1893, but there was one final scene to be played out.

Ford’s Theater in Washington, confiscated after Lincoln’s assassination, had been converted into a government office building. On the same day, by a nearly incredible coincidence, at almost the same hour that Edwin Booth’s coffin was being carried from the church in New York to the “Dead March” from Saul, three floors of Ford’s Theater collapsed, killing more than twenty people.

Richard M. Ketchum