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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 14, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EST

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is subjective. it's my opinion but it's how i interpret facts and that we are living history today. >> you would say that a number of the primary factors that influenced your thinking are derived from your being part of and been influenced by globalization, being part of a tribe commodore also, as a understand, you are also you're own background in terms of your education being exposed to multi-cultural circumstances. would you say that's sort of the foundation on which your book is derived from and you're very being? >> the only thing i would add to that is i have been exposed to different types of education. my grandmother and my mother and my teachers have given me a different set of education from
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what i would label a western education. western education was individualism and responsibility, a sense of adventure, not just at venture in going all over the world but that venture in for instance into the unknown science of reason. that's what i associate with the west. my teachers educated me in loyalty for the klan, tradition, and loyalty to god and the hereafter and the profit mohammed and following his example. ..
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in john wilkes assassination of president abraham lincoln at port theatre on april 14, 1865. nora titone presents her book at the abe lincoln museum in springfield, illinois.ram is the program is one hour. >> good evening. in ford's theatre one t april for teen, 1865, is stamped and national memory. there was1 the gunshot, the act
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or, jumping from balcony tom aly stage a lincoln fatally hit, slumped in a chair, rage at the union victory and hatred for lincoln drove john wilkes booth to pull the trigger. the story has been told many times. but there is more to the story of john wilkes booth and the assassination of lincoln than the familiar facts we all know. it is a story largely unexplored , a story had been in private letters, diaries, memoirs and manuscripts. and it is the story of a remarkable and dysfunctional teatro family, the booths. but above all, it is the story of john wilkes and the man who was his rival and competitor,
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his older brother, edwin. edwin booth's name is forgotten now, buried by his brothers and from his steed. but a century ago, she was the actor kane, the greatest most influential start of the american stage. four years older than john wilkes, edwin was a dramatic genius, a prodigy who earned colossal national fame before the civil war began. during the war, edwin booth owned his own theatre on broadway where he could earn in a week the civil war equivalent of $200,000 he gave generously of those profit to the union war effort. he called himself corporal edwin
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booth. he called his act tears the federal dramatic quarter and together they raised thousands church are the performances of shakespeare for the widows and orphans of u.s. soldiers and from military hospitals. but the crowning moment in the wartime career of this feature out it got there was when he was summoned to washington to give command performances for his beloved president lincoln on a special occasion, the third anniversary of lincoln's inaugural. for six nights in 1864 at the national theatre, by special arrangement with lincoln and the first lady, edwin booth played hamlet, mcbeth and other shakespeare plays to deafening ovation. this was john wilkes booth with the older brother.
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so how could it have happened? one brother come the 19th century's most notorious assassin and the other a loyal supporter of the union and that century's brightest star. the answer lies in part in their relationship. they were competitors in the profession of act team. and they are political opponents. their rivalry would shape both their lives, but it would prove particularly disastrous for john wilkes. the record of this brothers conflict is not hard to find. it is in playbills, dramatic reviews and especially in the booth family's private papers. many of them here at the presidential library.
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this assassination of the president, while serious activity confederate sympathizer and he conspirator can also be understood as the tragic finale of the tangled family story. i started researching the brothers at a place called the players. this is a private club, founded by edwin booth himself in 1888 in new york with his very close friends, marc twain and u.s. president grover cleveland. the club still stands today. it still has a membership and upholds the most rare portions of the booth papers. the room were edwin lived until the last days of his life is carefully preserved. and when you walk in, nothings been changed. on the wall near his desk is a sign he hung there is a warning.
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it's a motto, taken from the tomb of shakespeare at stratford on avon. and i'm going to read it to you. good friend, for jesus sake, forebear to dig the dusk in posted here. must be the man that spares these stones and cursed be he that moves my bones when i read that coming in to do research, because i was there to move those bones. that was the morning. and the book i wrote, "my thoughts be bloody" as a result of my excavating. and tonight i'm going to tell you some episodes from this family's remarkable story. but before i do, i'd like to say that the booths for the premiere
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theatrical dynasty of the 19th century. edwin and his father, junius were considered towering geniuses and they stood at the center of our nation's cultural life for 60 years. from the 1820's through the 1880's. so for the early decades of our republic to the end of the gilded age, the booths lived in the spotlight of the national public eye. they were tragic. they were scandalous. they were eccentric. they were dysfunctional and haphazardly endowed with genius. they were strivers. they wanted wealth and they wanted to be figures of national prominence. and as public figures, they witnessed or participated in defining moments in the century in the sentiment of the last of the california gold rush, from
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john brown's execution to the 1860 presidential election and of course to the years of the civil war. so in many ways, the booth story is our national story and the night in century. the story begins with this man, junius reduce booth, father to edwin and john spokes. he arrived on american shores in 1821 on a ship ironically enough called to brothers. junius was a shakespearean actor. he was an international starter. his bizarre volcanic and sensational interpretations of shakespeare sparked riots in london. he belonged to a circle of famous men, rent-a-car does ben included lord byron and the poets, shelley and keats.
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junius was a radical nonconformist. he rejected christianity. he dabbled in islam and hinduism. he was a vegetarian in the 1820's which was late in a lunatic. he was an opponent of slavery and he was a genius who could write poetry, sculpt marble, speak 10 ancient and modern languages and act. bruce had what you like to call the gesture if you're honest for it, mind. he believed he was a rare beam. someone separated from the rest of humanity by his incredible talent and american audiences agreed, booth was huge here. he toured nationally every year. he was admired by presidents from john quincy adams to andrew jackson. and he raised his two sons, edwin and john wilkes to believe
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that same was a marvelous prize. mind or genius he told these boys, happily belonged to no age, climb, or condition. instant since the fed can be quoted when even from the most despised classes, genius develops itself and towers above all the circles of the human race. powerful words to tell adolescent boys. and despised classes were the key words. for junius have an important reason to leave england and come to america. the threat scandal. he had come here, not with his wife who he left in london, but with his pregnant mistress. and over the next two decades the couple had 10 children, all of them illegitimate including
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edwin and john wilkes. it was when the boys were in their early teenage years that junius' wife came to baltimore from london to hunt her husband's second family down. she pursued edwin, john wilkes on their mother through the streets of baltimore, shouting harlot, scarlet woman, at the boy's mother and saying even worse things to children. she wanted to establish in a very public way the illegitimacy of the american booth children because she was bringing a suit for divorce before the courts of baltimore. this noisy, public scandal, humiliated the booth family and the hefty divorce suit bankrupted them. in court, junius brutus booth
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high to testify before a judge that his son, edwin and john wilkes were the first on the vulture as liaison. a father so famous and so infamous afflicted his sons, leaving them both with driving ambition as they grew older, but also a burden of shame. and that early legacy was a challenge for edwin and john, that's edwin later acknowledged with the end of his life when he wrote, i am glad i have not sons, for when a man becomes great, if it better -- to the one who made it distinguished. now, here in this picture are junius and his son edwin booth. the photograph was taken very soon after junius chose edwin to
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be his theatrical apprentice and the error to his fame that he had created here in america. tellingly, there are no photographs of john wilkes booth was his father. growing up in an actor's house, a place filled if you can imagine it hundreds of costanza, stage swords, makeup cases, all the paraphernalia of that team had left edwin and john both with a yearning to be a part of the theater. but only one would have that chance early on. and this junius noted, my sons are as wide apart as points on the compass. they were very different boys. john wilkes was physically strong. he was the image of his father. he was charismatic, aggressive, bold. but he was not a scholar. he had a difficult time reading.
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he had a slow memory and no head for languages. edwin, those commie and admittedly strange looking, physically weak, he would cry when always been baltimore gave him a hard time and his brother had to fight his battles for him. nonetheless, edwin had an intuitive grasp of shakespeare's words even from a young age. they even said at the age of four he was a child who inherited not his father's luck, but his father's intellect. and so for junius, edwin went to chili's to be a successor on the american stage. and it was bad choice that sowed the perceived of conflicts between and when and john wilkes. for junius took edwin out of school at age 12, making him his assistant and together this year traveled every year from albany
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to new orleans, savanna, to cincinnati while the father at did, the sun was a valet, but he was also a guardian. junius was an alcoholic. if you drink too much or found his way to a tavern he could refuse to perform that night. or if he did go on stage coming to breakdown the performance, weeping and screaming where he give all this income for the evening away to strangers. it was edwin's job to keep this man out of tavern, on time for his performances and disciplined. it was not work for a child. john wilkes envied this job. he said it was a golden holiday for his brother to do this. he never understood what that reality was like for edwin. edwin's childhood was mr. boll. even a state chance at a formal education, but as training to be an act dirt come in the
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experience was ideal. his father performed all the great roles and edwin absorbed and internalized everything he watched from behind the scenes. meanwhile, john was at home in maryland with their mother, watching her into her more public humiliation for of course junius is by now ex-wife stayed in baltimore and continued to persecute the family. because of the dr to this reputation by this adultery scandal, john wilkes' mother was determined that john the fall for children would be socially respectable. she wanted to train him to be a gentleman until all the cash that edwin sent home from touring with their father, she spent on board in schools, etiquette classes, even dancing lessons for john wilkes. but john wanted a different future. tonight his father teaching, tonight the experience of
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touring, he studied shakespeare alone by himself at the family firm and was not easy for him to do so. in 1852, the great junius brutus booth dies after 30 years dazzling american ibm says. he dies on the road. a trip to san francisco to act for the miner 40 niners and to tour the california gold fields turn dangerous. he caught a fever on the steamboat coming back and died. the last of the father free john to step off the scores that have been prepared for him to be a gentleman and to try to be, not your. but in the race, he was far behind his older brother. this woman is lorie kane. you may recognize her face and name. she was a direct terror and the star of our american cousin, the
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play performed when lincoln was shot and she was the woman who held the dying president's head in her lap. what is less well known is that the decaying was edwin booth's mistress. and she played a key role and watching his career. the pair met in san francisco after the death of junius brutus booth, laura was 10 years older than edwin, already an established act or is, but early on she recognized his talent. she wanted to be as costar, his direct dirt and it was her that plans their first tour together. he was leading man, she's the leading lady. edwin's genius is evident to everyone who saw him at. his performances in new york and boston attracted the interest of very powerful people. drama critics and writers. one of these was the abolitionist, julia ward howe,
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future author of battle hymn of the republic. she adopted edwin esser protége in 1858, publishing poems in his honor in national magazines. these writings help cement his reputation and been a friend of julia ward howe, also shaped edwin's political views. so it was with the help of these very advantageous friendships that by age 25, before the civil war began, critics were calling edwin booth the greatest actor of his generation. john wilkes started back in at age 19 in 1857. without training, without experience and without connections, he could only get work as a suit. that's short for supernumerary, the 19th century term for an
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extra. the walk-on guy with no line. you might think john could have traded on his famous family name, but edwin, who by now was the head of the family in virtue of his stardom and his income wouldn't let john call himself a booth. not until his younger brother had proved some ability on stage, edwin said, could use that last name. so until john proved himself, he had to be j.d. wilkes on playbills. so j.d. wilkes toiled as a suit in richmond, virginia four years. it was low paid work and humiliating. john earned typically $300 a nine-month season. edwin, by contrast, could earn that much in a night. it was finally in 1860 that edwin allowed john to start touring as a star on his own,
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using the name boost. this was after three years of the next drive. but john was not free to go where he wanted. edwin decided the amount of the country right along the mason-dixon line in 1863, not for political reasons but for business reasons. edwin wanted to preserve his monopoly, his prophet in theaters in new york, boston and philadelphia. john was free to tour in the south, edwin said, were cities were small, further apart and profits for less. but the north, or the big money and crowds were was going to be edwin. so john's first experience of touring at the start was in montgomery, alabama in the fall of 1860. this was the turbulent presidential election that put the union. it was a disastrous experience for john wilkes.
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the people of montgomery, instead of coming to see his plays, were too busy debating secession and forming militia companies and drilling in the streets to ever walk into a theater. and worse, john's manager, a draft, accidentally shot him in the rear at this juncture and put an end to his attempts at performing for the season. but in 1861, when the civil war began, john had recovered from an injury. his sympathies for the south were strong. his childhood spent in maryland in the years he spent working in richmond that shaped his political feelings. and he was not afraid of a fight, but he did not enlist in the confederacy, even though he was inclined to do it. she had a golden opportunity. when war broke out, edwin left the country. he had been invited to perform
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in europe and london and paris. so for the first time, with edwin gone, there were no restriction on john wilkes booth as to where he could act. the map is wide-open and civil war audiences, without edwin booth, they were hungry for another son of the great junius brutus booth. they were eager to see john wilkes. this picture was taken at that moment. and it captures that think unlike all other pictures i've seen of john wilkes booth the sense of possibility coming even optimism as if this were maybe one of the best times in john's life. he was making money. he was getting bookings even on broadway where he'd never been on broadway. this moment did not last long. reviews of john's work as hamlet, iago, shylock were
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scathing. john was like a stuntman. he was great in the bruising battles that she needed to do on stage. and when edwin returned from europe in 1862, once again, john would be left scrambling for work. this is a scene from the draft rights to place in new york in july of 1863. this event would be the closest that the booth brothers, edwin and john wilkes ever came to scenes of actual combat during the civil war. and not summer, a union officer, a man named adam to go. he was staying at edwin booth's mansion in new york. he'd been injured on the battlefield in louisiana and he came to the actor's house to
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recuperate. john wilkes was there, too. he had no home of his own and he stayed with his brother whenever he wasn't working. and he had to follow one the while he was staying with edwin, never taught confederates under the roof of edwin's house. in july, the three men, john wilkes booth, edwin booth and captain atom but go were staying together. riots broke out across the city to protest the new federal draft. african-americans and union officers were targets of violence. john at this point was forced to help hide the injured captain dido and his african american medic the basement of his house, protect them from lynch mobs, arsonists and gains. eventually the right side down and order was restored.
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and adam bedell left the city safely to join the staff of general ulysses s. grant for whom you would work for the rest of the war and would be standing at greenside at appomattox would lay surrendered. bad though late in life marveled that he spent the period of being protected from a mob by john wilkes booth. he wrote that he was amazed that in all the exciting. at the right, the future assassin of president lincoln said nowhere that indicated sympathy with the south, but in private, john had been furious at the role had been forced into play during the riot. to assist her, john confessed, imagine me helping that wounded soldier with my rebel sudanese.
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in 1864, when edwin was performing for lincoln at the national theatre, john wilkes was snowbound on the high plains of kansas, where he had gone to act in town hall theatre's. he was trapped by blizzards. he earned very little money and frustrated after seven years of hardship on stage, john decided to try something new, oil. it had been discovered in western pennsylvania at the beginning of the war in a place people like to call petrolia or oil toronto. following in the footsteps of thousands of other wartime prospectors comment john sank all of his savings into building three wells, these like structures that she see here and almost like a forest in the
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picture. the scheme he hoped would make him a rich man and perhaps free him from the drudgery of touring on the western theatrical circuit. it was a bad gamble. notice how many derricks are in this picture and try to imagine how many of those were at a wells. not many. john was not one of the lucky prospectors. he had chosen a financial gain with this much hope of success at that, unfortunately. edwin booth, meanwhile, hit a geyser of cash as the owner, direct your and star of the broadway theater, the winter garden. his box office made him a millionaire. or the civil war equivalent of a millionaire. from the stage of the winter garden, edwin could launch attention grabbing stunts, as he did, when he performed hamlet 100 nights in a row without
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stopping, becoming the first actor ever, even from shakespeare's time to do such a thing. and he received a gold medal from the people of new york for doing that. john wilkes had not been invited to be a partner in the venture of the winter garden either. not even as the stage manager or a ticket taker. as usual, edwin booth have shut his brother out of the family business. so in his shack in petrolia, very similar to the one pictured here, john paper the walls visitors reported with images of his famous family. when he returned to new york for a visit, john wilkes did not tell edwin and the other booths that is oil venture had been a bust. on the contrary, he told the booths he was becoming rich and
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that he would never have again because petroleum, he said, was more profitable than the theatrical profession. at that time, john was recruited at the confederate secret service. so when the news reached edwin booth that is brother had shot the president, they act it was not at all surprised. he said the intelligence hate him on the floor hard like hammer. he wrote, my mind accepted the fact that once. i thought to myself, that my brother was capable of just such an action. his brother's murder of lincoln was devastating to lincoln, but
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the reactions he records in his letters seem to speak less of the blow to the union fan of the blow to the actor himself. where has my glory gone edwin wrote in agony. i have been blasted in my hopes during my villain. edwin got to quit at forever for his brother's crime in a letter to the american people that he wrote in the summer of 1865 and published at various newspapers. edwin said, i shall struggle on in my retirement, or in any trust memory name jamal to welcome grave. but edwin booth did not keep this promise. six months after lincoln's body was laid in the tomb here in springfield, edwin announced his return to the stage.
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more surprisingly still he brought a production of our american cousin to this stage of the winter garden theatre in september of 1865 and who was starring in a tear to his brother-in-law john sweeper clark flushed from the old capital prison where he had been held under suspicion of assassinating the president. working forever associated with this play. this play she wrote out to have only a memory of shame and horror for you and your family. but few people shared laura's disdain. the public welcomed edwin booth's return when he walked down the stage of his broadway theater in january, 186 to six,
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less than a year after the assassination, worshipful crowds packed the auditorium, we've been applauding and every line he spoke. a new york theatrical agent from the civil war. explained. edwin booth was devoured by a thirst for fame, a very wise ambition for frank's money. and edwin booth to the largest profit after his brother's assassination of lincoln. americans hungered to see edwin on stage. not only for the throat that his genius could deliver, but to feel the sense of connection he provider to the martyred lincoln. edwin booth was a touchstone to the tragic last seen of the civil war. when they act her finally retired after a long and very
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profitable career, he took up residence in this luxurious club i mentioned before the players in gramercy park in new york. this cleverly decorated with images of his father, junius brutus booth and filled it with a collection of his father's costume, stage stored and paraphernalia. it was also filled with treasures, treasures donated by its wealthy and distinguished membership, first fully editions of shakespeare, cultures, painting. edwin's club was a gathering place for high achievers, for geniuses, for a man of rare talent and ambition and included people as i mentioned earlier like marc twain go for cleveland, the inventor nikola tesla. at the club, surrounded by these bright intellects and great talents, edwin booth was never
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troubled by illusions to the assassination. everyone at the players attended edwin never had a brother and they never spoke we didn't name in the terse presence. but if you visit there today and you see distributed in unchanged, guilty by his bad eye level, still hang in there today, something the actor looked at every morning and every night, a photograph of john wilkes booth. over the years, edwin has been largely forgotten. his talents, the trajectory of his career he raised. out of respect for edwards during his lifetime and newspapers in new york really wrote about the assassination of john wilkes. only after edwin died in 1893 did a popular fascination with
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john wilkes and the assassination began to flourish. a legend was created about the dramatic genius of lincoln's killer, about how he had been the inheritor of his father's greatness and in generations of mythmaking about john wilkes booth, edwin's name in his dori have been lost, leaving his younger brother to standalone on the stage of national memory as he no doubt would've wished. thank you. [applause] and i hope you have lots of
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questions because i'd love to answer them. [inaudible] >> -- his brother cloud his judgment? >> what a great question. was john wilkes booth a true peach or peach or it's of the south or did his rivalry with his brother cloud his judgment online? i think he was a zealous confederate. i have no doubt about it. everything he ever wrote is filled with that conviction. but i think what happened was there was a parallel for the metaphorical between the
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imbalance, between the power difference between his brother and themselves they seem to mirror the face of the north and south during the war. they were both unequal contest. and certainly john wilkes, there's no question in my mind, was a true confederate. but i think this relationship with his brother drove him to a place where he was trying to compete in a fight that he could never win. >> what is the story that junius once threatened andrew jackson's life? >> what of the story that junius brutus routh once threatened the life of president andrew jackson? i read the letter. people said that junius brutus booth, they wondered if you were
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insane or simply drunk all the time. [laughter] and opinions differ on this point. but it's certainly clear that he left his brandy and a lot of his letters, when you read them, are scrawled. they are confused. they're almost impressionistic. and he would often say to theater managers defend ahead, you know, i may not make it there. i'm drinking today. don't announce mantled easter riots, meaning themselves. as though the letters he wrote to andrew jackson, talking about hanging, i think, to me reads like a drunken joke, you know, i don't think it was an actual threat of assassination. they think he was blustery and a way that a guy who had two
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points of brandy with lester. he was friends with andrew jackson. their friendship but i think permit that kind of teasing or what we would see is completely inappropriate statements to make to a president. but i think it was that kind of friendship forged on the american frontier, you know, in those heydays of the 1830's and late 1820. junius in fact in addition to be a great drinking buddy vendor jackson also worked with sam houston for the first president of the texas republic. they were very close friends and there's this kind of masculine camaraderie that all circulates around the tavern that they shared. so i think his threat was a joke crowded by alcohol. >> and there are two questions here that are similar so i'm going to kind of combine them. one ask if you can elaborate on
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john wilkes booth service and the other one asks how do we know that john wilkes was dead since those records were burned? >> only answer that in two short parts. what i found in my research -- i mean, it's very tip go to document the doings of the secret organization, but when john went to new orleans to act at the st. charles theatre in the spring of 1864, he met individuals they are aware blockade runners for the south and who are under suspicion by federal authorities because new orleans was occupied by federal authorities at the time has been connected with the government in richmond. and so, theater managers and
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actors notice those relationships and noticed that john wilkes corresponded with those men after he left new orleans. it is hard to write about the confederate secret service in great detail, but we do know that john deposited money in a bank in washington d.c. after attending a meeting in canada that has been characterized as a secret service meeting. so looking at the flow of money, looking at whom he met and where, people i think have safely posited that he was involved in a secret service. >> there are also several questions that are similar in asking how edwin could have such control over john wilkes and where he could perform a question about not using the
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boost name. >> yes. the people i left out tonight in talking with you are very important characters in the partially answer that question which is a very important question. mary ann holmes, the woman, this poor women, mistress, pregnant mistress who came with junius from london to the united states, the mother of the 10 booth children. her livelihood depended on edwin booth. not only her livelihood, but the rest of her children, her daughters, her younger son, the funds that were younger than john wilkes. and so when edwin and the father go to california on this mission to the gold fields, where they hope that the lack of the miner 40 niners and become very wealthy and junius does on that trip, edwin stays in california for five years.
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that leaves mary ann holmes, the mother and all the children, including john on the maryland farm with no money for five years. they had no income. they had no bleach garnered to support them. and the hardships they experience, if you read the journals of this family from the time they were close to going hungry at certain periods. so when edwin returns a star in the late 18th east, a wage earner, the person who's going to revive the booth family fortunes, that gives him tremendous power in the family. because whatever john wilkes did as he asserted his career, if it affected is wagering that affected the whole family because edwin was supporting the mother, his sister's, other brothers. said that, by making edwin
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become in the head of the family, he was basically taking junius brutus' place and that gave him almost a paternal authority over john wilkes. and so having a booth out there at team who wasn't a great talent, who might tarnish the name or you might lead to audience fatigue was an issue that the whole family was concerned and and that gave kind of impetus to address power over john. >> there are a number of people who want to know, what happened to the other booth children. >> is a sad story. there was another brother, junius junior may call jan, who like john wilkes didn't have that spark that edwin hyde. you know, they said he was mediocre and everything, which was very cruel. but he tried to make a living as an act there, too.
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i'm what you see in his later life is heartbreaking. ed wynn, as we know, was the equivalent of a millikan air, right? he was a coward start, especially after the assassination. but even junius and a small niche is carved for himself as a leading man had to ask edwin if he could perform at theaters on the east coast. even as they were into their 40's, 50's and 60's. i mean, it was sad. and so junius had a very small career. he was always struggling for money and the derived letters to his brothers and i have typical problems, too many children and not enough income. and he never really made a success of anything and he was completely in the shadow of edwin. and again, like john wilkes, junius was never -- his fortune was not made by his older brother. edwin could've helped him and he
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didn't. >> do you believe booth broke his leg after shooting lincoln and jumping onto the stage? >> you know, i think i can answer that question very specifically. i've read a letter, and amazing mother, written by the neighbor of the booth, of their family farm in hartford county, maryland. there was a woman named mrs. elisha roberts who lived next-door to to the booth family for years. and when john wilkes' body was released from where it had been, it's unmarked grave in washington d.c. and returned to the booth family for reburial in the booth family plot in baltimore, this neighbor was present when the casket was open
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because of coors edwin hyde bought a new coffin for his brother. and she saw the body lifted out and placed in the other box. and she described it so hard to rita is so graphic. you should know john wilkes and his ipod there when he was growing up in cheek, you know, jodi donham like any neighbor does on any child that lives next door. she said, you know, his body was broken. the lake was stopped in the bone protruding through the skin. and when i read that i thought this had been a decade -- will not attack it, but many are said past from the ceiling of the casket to the opening of it. and so she sought a bone broken and protruding through the skin. i don't know what you want to do with that piece of evidence, but that's what i read in a letter written by the window size casket open. >> what was edwin and john b. b.
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personal relationship? we know they have a professional rivalry and their politics was different. what did they get along otherwise? >> there were physical type in edwin's house in new york during the war over politics. you know, the kind of sites where at the breakfast table someone tries to choke the other person or punch them. and john been ejected down the front steps of the house. so there were very ugly moments. and that kind of physical antagonism is something that you see in the brothers even when their children. i found these newspaper clippings, reminiscences by two was growing up in baltimore with the booth brothers. so when the older they gave reminiscences to newspapers.
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i remember when adam and john wilkes for little boys and they were putting on theatrical performances for the children of the neighborhood in basement hotels in baltimore. and even then, edwin and john wilkes had this resentment for each other where you'd have these classic situations where edwin would steal a costume from his father's wardrobe and take it down to one of these basements while the neighborhood kids had paid a penny to comment and see some crazy play. i've seen his costumes and beat them because of course it's a 19th century. and that kind of, you know, brotherly -- i don't know, just quilty to each other was typical of their relationship.
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>> do you believe that there was a conspiracy beyond john wilkes booth that edwin stanton was involved in andrew johnson was involved? i don't -- no, i don't believe that. [laughter] you think he acted on his own. >> is it true that john wilkes was kept a major coney in prison continuous -- prison conditions after his capture? >> i -- from what i understand he was shot on sight before there was any imprisonment. yeah, he was never imprisoned. >> out of the dough was a theater critic. can you describe some of the relationship between man and edwin booth?
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>> absolutely. this is one of the best parts of researching the boat. the fact that general grant's private secretary, who was with grant through some of the hardest parts of the civil war on the battlefield at the headquarters was constantly corresponding with edwin booth the entire time. you can read their letters at the players, this private club had been established. they're beautiful. they have this incredibly close friendship. an added before he became a soldier was a drama critic in new york and he was the one alongside julia ward howe. they were all friends, or really launched edwin's career. so in many ways, edwin's great success was the creation of the theater critic who endorsed his interpretations of shakespeare and you called him the great shining talent of their
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generation. and their remarkable friendship that lasted, unfortunately not be on the civil war, this closeness that they shared in their incredible letters -- adam was the one who after john wilkes killed lincoln brought these letters to general grant, two other people in the lincoln administration of the book, edwin booth is a man i have hundreds of letters or he st. bernard had robert e. lee on a plate or go kill those rebels. very patriotic letters. adam bado was an advocate after the assassination. but the breakdown of their relationship reveals kind of the cruelty and the ruthlessness of the heart of this star because
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once edwin put that play, our american cousin up on stage in boston, i think adam bado couldn't accept that and he couldn't accept edwin's coolness towards him after all of the labor adam bado had gone through to prove atoms in a sense. so their friendship ended in 65, but adam bado would go on to be general grant ghostwriter, helping him write his memoirs. and he also is the best source we have about edwin booth. he wrote a lot about edwin and the friendship and the character of his great actor. >> final question, what is your next book focusing on? [laughter] >> do you have any ideas? ..
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like this family sources again. the drama, the intrigue, the mystery, passions, the divisions in their letters were just exhilarating to read an extremely sad as well. and so, find another family to write about that matches the boots i think would be very hard. so, what i'd like to do is one of my favorite parts of researching that didn't involve the family was documenting the trip to california, that junius and edwin tillich in 1851. it was an amazing trip. they went from new york down the atlantic coast by steamships and hiked across the eighth best of panama the jungle.
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jungle and up again the steamship. it was an amazing journey and thinking about that part of the west, california to the southwest, it gripped me. and general grant and lt. grant, two weeks behind junius crossed at the same part of the isthmus and hiked through the same jungle trail. he lost 100 men to cholera on that trip. i always wondered, what would have happened if and when. have died of cholera on that trip as so many of grant's men did two weeks later. would we be talking about the ford theater today?
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>> nora titone is an historical researcher with a focus on 19th century america. for more information visit nora >> every weekend, booktv brings you 48 hours of history, biography and public affairs. here's a portion of one of our programs. >> why when we hear the president and others talking about the fact that we must make government efficient for the people did our founding fathers actually design the government to be an efficient? ask yourself that question. because this is a model for inefficiency. but it was done in barbara lee.


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