The primary subject of this collection of family papers is the life of Edwin Booth, one of the most famous American actors of the 19th century. However, it has not been titled the Edwin Booth Papers because the bulk of the collection would more accurately be described as the papers of his daughter and biographer, Edwina Booth Grossman. There is also a small amount of material on other family members including Booth's father, the actor Junius Brutus Booth, his brother, the notorious John Wilkes Booth, and other relatives with less impact on history.
Content: The collection contains correspondence, writings, clippings, photographs, personal ephemera, programs, printed material and a few speeches. The primary focus of the collection is on the actor Edwin Booth. While there is some professional correspondence with colleagues and letters from Booth's first wife, Mary Devlin Booth, the bulk of the correspondence consists of his letters to his daughter Edwina from 1867 until his death in 1893. Most of these include her transcriptions made in preparation for her book, Edwin Booth: Recollections by His Daughter Edwina Booth Grossman and Letters to Her and to His Friends, a published edition of a selection of edited letters to his family and friends. The writings include Edwina Booth Grossman's reminiscences of her father, the clippings document Booth's theatrical career, the printed material is mainly about Booth and the photographs are of Booth as well as of his immediate family members and descendants.
Biographical/historical: Edwin Booth, the focus of this collection of family papers, was one of the most famous American actors of the 19th century. Other family members represented in this collection are his first wife, Mary Devlin Booth, their daughter and his biographer, Edwina Booth Grossman and her husband, Ignatius R. Grossman. There is only a small amount of material on Booth's father, the actor Junius Brutus Booth Sr. and his acting brothers, Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. and John Wilkes Booth, most famous as the man who assassinated President Lincoln.
Content: The collection is also of interest for the light it sheds on family life and social relations in the 19th century and for the times when the larger world intrudes as in a Civil War soldier's account of a battle, transcribed in a letter to Mary Devlin Booth. There are, however, no clippings documenting the Lincoln assassination.