BOOTH, John Wilkes, Actor and assassin. A remarkable collection of documents, a rare printed poetic eulogy, photographs and A UNIQUE LOCK OF HAIR from Booth, all of which belonged to the daughter of Booth's brother Edwin (1833-1893), Mrs. I.R. Edwina Booth Grossman.
AN AUTHENTICATED LOCK OF BOOTH'S HAIR, TAKEN FROM JOHN WILKES BOOTH ON BOARD THE U.S.S. MONTAUK, AND OTHER ARTIFACTS FROM THE BOOTH FAMILY
BOOTH. A lock of hair, contained in a small folded paper packet marked in a contemporary hand, "J. Wilkes Booth," (possibly that of William Crowninshield, Captain of the Montauk), and enclosed in an envelope marked in Mrs. Grossman's hand, "KEEP-Lock of Hair 'J.W.B.'/sent by Mrs. Crowninshield. The lock of hair (reddish-brown in color) measures roughly 90mm long. The bindle holding the hair is 75 x 75 mm. The envelope is 72 x 110 mm. [With:] CROWNINSHIELD, Mary. Autograph note signed, n.p., n.d., 1 page, 12o. Describing the enclosed lock: "J. Wilkes Booth's hair cut by my brother William, on board the U.S.S. Montauk at Washington, D.C. - My brother being in command of that vessel - when his body was brought on board that vessel - Mary R. Crowninshield." After his death at Garrett's farm, Booth's body had been transferred on board the U.S.S. monitor Montauk.
Letters: GROSSMAN, Edwina Booth, daughter of Edwin, niece of John Wilkes Booth. Autograph letter signed (retained copy), to R.W. Gilder, Editor of The Century magazine, Washington, D.C., 10 February 1909. Marked "Copy", 4 pp., 8o. A remarkable letter, describing the Booth family's terrible inheritance: "...It may interest you to know that I found among my dear father's private papers an envelope containing a lock of hair with a note [see preceding]...I am grateful that my beloved father is spared the anguish which the approaching Centenary of Abraham Lincoln would more asuredly [sic] have awakened in him. Although the tragedy of those awful days is scarcely within my own recollection, it has brought sorrow even into the third generation...I am also 'sitting within the shadow'....I once asked my father if he had seen his brother's body and he emphatically replied that he had sent his brother Joseph to Washington on that ghastly errand...My father has also told me that he had never set foot in Washington since the day he was summoned by the authorities and courteously detained but a short time while giving testimony under oath as to his ignorance or knowledge of his brother's crime..." -- GILDER, Richard Watson. Typed letter signed to Mrs. I.R. (Edwina) Grossman, New York, 13 February 1909. 1½ pp., 4o. Gilder responds to Mrs. Grossman's letter regarding a proposed article: "...This article embodies your father's letter...with the omissions suggested by you, and we reprint the statement of your father's rescuing Robert Lincoln; and still more to the point I must tell you that I have obtained from Mr. [Robert Todd] Lincoln his memory of that extraordinary occasion..."
Photographs: [BOOTH, John Wilkes]. Cabinet photograph of Booth, ¾-length standing, wearing long coat, with hat and gloves in his left hand, riding crop in his right. Very rare in cabinet size. -- [BOOTH]. GARDNER, Alexander, Photographer. Carte-de-visite photograph showing Booth holding his gold-handled whip. -- [BOOTH]. Carte-de-visite photograph of Booth, ¾-length, standing, profile with the imprint "C.D. Fredericks & Co., New York" on verso. -- [BOOTH]. Carte-de-visite photograph of Booth wearing a topcoat and cape with lamb's wool collar, facing ¼ to the left, imprint "C.D. Fredericks & Co., N.Y." on front and back. On verso, in the hand of Mrs. Grossman, "J. Wilkes Booth" in ink. -- [BOOTH]. Carte-de-visite photograph of Booth sitting in an ornate high-backed Victorian chair, elbow to chin, with an open book in his lap, imprinted front and back "Case & Getchell, Boston". Signed in ink on verso, "J. Wilkes Booth" in the hand of Mrs. Grossman. Rare.
Broadside verse: [BOOTH]. A small broadside "A Great Poem," by an unnamed Texan, eulogizing Booth, printed on thin tan paper. 1 page, 8vo. In the prologue, the writer, who says he is from Texas, compares Sherman's March to the Sea to Attila the Hun's raids across Europe and says that Booth killed Lincoln "to avenge the many wrongs and crimes he had permitted his soldiers to commit upon the Southern people." In two stanzas of the poem, Booth is referred to as "Brutus," a name commonly used among Booth apologists.