According to one historian, "No actor of his time so completely filled the eye, the ear and the mind with the ideal of romantic tragedy as Edwin Booth." Another called his acting
"a spell from which you can not escape." The son of Shakespearean actor Junius Brutus Booth, and named for Edwin Forrest. Edwin Booth had little in common with his forebears. Where they had been loud and bombastic, Booth used a subtle, psychological approach to character. In 1863, he brought modern Shakespeare to the American stage, using full, accurate scripts for the first time. That year he performed Hamlet for one hundred consecutive nights, setting a record that stood until 1923. After his brother John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln, Edwin Booth retired from the stage, but his audience soon welcomed him back. Booth had married actress Mary Devlin in 1860,
and she died in 1863, leaving him with a two-year-old daughter, Edwina.

Edwin and Edwina Booth posed for Brady around 1864.

Edwin Booth 1833 - 1893
& his daughter, Edwina 1861 - 1938

Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print
(carte de visite), 1864, 8.6 x 5.3 cm
(3 3/8 x 2 1/8 inches)
National Portrait Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C.