Assassination Editions of Smithsonian Magazine

Lincoln assassination Smithsonian Magazines 2015

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Smithsonian has published two different editions of their magazine with articles relating to the event.

The normal, March 2015, subscriber issue of Smithsonian Magazine features the image of Booth’s derringer on the cover.  Contained in this issue are four articles about different aspects of the assassination.  These articles can be read online through the Smithsonian website:

The second magazine is a special collector’s edition devoted entirely to the assassination story.  This is a stand alone issue featuring images of Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth on the cover.  It contains articles by noted authors Michael Kauffman, Edward Steers, Jr., James Swanson, Asia Booth Clarke, Lloyd Lewis, Jay Winik, Doris Kearns Goodwin and more.  Many of the articles are edited excerpts from the books by the different authors, but the magazine still provides a multifaceted look at the story and impact of Lincoln’s assassination.  The edition is thoroughly illustrated with period images and with the work of several modern artists.  One of my favorite illustrations in the magazine is this “assemblage” image of the conspirators by artist Polly Becker.  It is somewhat reminiscent of the original “Ring of Conspirators” image from Benn Pitman’s edition of the trial:

Conspirators by Polly Becker

Conspirators by Polly Becker

Sadly, the articles contained in this special collector’s edition of the Smithsonian Magazine are not available to read online.

Both of these magazines are currently on sale at newsstands and bookstores.  Attendees of this year’s Surratt Conference on March 21st, will also be able to purchase copies of these magazine there.  Time, of course, is limited to acquire both of these magazines.  The normal March issue featuring Booth’s derringer will be replaced by the April issue in less than a month’s time, and the special collector’s edition has a note to newsstands to only display it until May 17th.

In the spirit of my previous giveaway of the book, John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day by Art Loux, I am offering a free copy of both of these magazines to one lucky commenter on this blog.  Given the many authors involved in producing these magazines, I thought it would be fun to have you all discuss your favorite Lincoln assassination book.

Therefore, if you would like to win a free copy of both, the March 2015 issue and the special 150th anniversary issue of Smithsonian Magazine, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post describing what book on the Lincoln assassination is your favorite and why.  In one week’s time, on March 7th, I will pick one of the commenters at random to receive a free copy of these two magazines.

So get commenting below for your chance to win a free copy of these assassination editions of Smithsonian Magazine courtesy of

Contest Rules: To win a copy of a.) the March 2015 issue of Smithsonian Magazine and b.) the “Special 150th Anniversary Issue” of Smithsonian Magazine, you must write one (1) comment on this post describing your favorite book on the Lincoln assassination and why it is your favorite. A valid email address must be attached to the comment in order to win. Multiple comments from the same person will be counted as one entry.  Contest will end on March 7, 2015 at 20:00 EST.  The winner will be notified via email.  If no response is received within three (3) days, a new winner will be chosen.  In the event that the winner chooses to forfeit the prize, another winner will be selected.  Winners agree to have their name and comment used in a future post.

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Calendar: March 2015

As we near the beginning of March, I thought it would be prudent to highlight some of the Lincoln assassination events that are planned for this month.  Remember that you can view these and other, smaller events that might be occurring, by visiting the Calendar section of this site.

fords-150-remembering-lincolnMarch 3rd:

Tickets go on sale for Ford’s Theatre 150th events: Now He Belongs to the Ages: A Lincoln Commemoration, Behind the Scenes Tour with Brian Anderson, and Midnight Tour with James Swanson

Though not an event itself, at 10 am on March 3rd tickets will go on sale to the general public for these three events scheduled during the Ford’s Theatre 150th program.

  • Now He Belongs to the Ages: A Lincoln Commemoration is a one time performance taking place inside Ford’s Theatre at 9 pm on April 14th.  This event will also be streamed live online.
  • A series of three, Behind the Scenes Tours with Brain Anderson are planned over April 14th and 15th.  Mr. Anderson is the author of Ford’s Theatre’s newest book, Images of America: Ford’s Theatre.  I took his backstage tour back in 2014 and it was very well done.
  • At midnight on April 15th, author of Manhunt, James Swanson, will provide his own, insightful  tour of Ford’s Theatre.

Ticket sales are already open to members of the Ford’s Theatre Society, and the events will therefore sell out quickly when sales to the general public open on March 3rd.

March 13th:

The musical, Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, starts its run at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Ford’s Theatre operates as a working theater as well as a National Historic Site.  They have several productions a year.  Their spring musical for 2015 is the show Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.  I’m thinking this is a slightly modified version of Frank Wildhorn’s previous musical The Civil War, which I saw at Ford’s Theatre a few seasons back.  If I am correct, it is definitely a show to see.  It’s not a traditional musical with a concrete narrative but is more of a series of vignettes highlighting different groups and events that occurred during the Civil War.  The music is a wonderful mix of genres and is accompanied by voice overs of the words of famous Civil War era figures.  Trust me, when a quote from Lincoln comes on and they bring up a solidarity light from inside of the President’s box, it gives you chills.  Freedom’s Song runs until May 20th.

March 20 – 22nd:

2015 Surratt Conference logo

The Surratt Society’s 16th Annual Lincoln Assassination Conference in Clinton, MD

The Surratt Conference is the Lincoln assassination buff’s “Comic-Con”.  Held every year, the weekend conference consists of a special bus tour and welcome reception on Friday, speakers presenting on a multitude of topics on Saturday, and another special bus tour on Sunday.  This year’s conference is already close to being sold out due to space constraints.  If you haven’t already registered, call the Surratt House Museum at 301-868-1121 to check on availability.

Even if you are not able to join us for this year’s conference, I will be live tweeting the weekend event on my Twitter account (@BoothieBarn) with the hashtag #Surratt15.

March 21st:

Lincoln Symposium at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Ford’s Theatre will be hosting their own Lincoln Symposium on Saturday, March 21st.  The event is free, but requires tickets available on a first come first served basis on the day of the event.  The day consists of speakers presenting on many topics relating to Lincoln’s life and death.  Can’t make it to the Surratt Conference? Well, you’re in luck. Terry Alford, author of a highly anticipated biography of John Wilkes Booth, will be pulling double duty that day.  After presenting at the Surratt Conference in the morning, Dr. Alford will make his way to Ford’s and will be presenting at their Lincoln Symposium in the afternoon.  This promises to be a wonderful event and I only wish I could duplicate myself in order to attend both conferences at the same time.

March 23rd:

A new exhibit, Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination, opens at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

This special exhibit reunites several assassination artifacts from collections around the country.  The exhibit runs from March 23rd until May 25th and will be located on the second floor of Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership.

March 28th:

The Lincoln Group of New York presents its Commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy and New York Funeral in New York City, NY

Register by March 20th for this half day symposium put on by the The Lincoln Group of New York.  After lunch and a tour of the historic Great Hall of the Cooper Union where Lincoln presented his famous Cooper Union speech, the attendees will retire across the street at the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium at 41 Cooper Square (Third Ave. bet. 6th & 7thSt.) for a series of speeches relating to Lincoln’s life and death.  Speakers include Harold Holzer, Frank J Williams, Richard Sloan, Kate Clifford Larson, Michael Kauffman, and ME (Dave Taylor)!  Check out this agenda for more information.

Ongoing Events/Exhibits:

Undying Words: Lincoln 1858 – 1865 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL
Remembering Lincoln at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, IL
A Nation in Tears: 150 Years after Lincoln’s Death at the University of Illinois’ Rare Book and Manuscript Library in Champaign-Urbana, IL
So Costly a Sacrifice: Lincoln and Loss at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, IN
President Lincoln Is Dead: The New York Herald Reports the Assassination at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

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Photo of the Day: Petersen House (1921)

After the shooting at Ford’s Theatre, the scene on Tenth Street was a picture of agitated solemnity.  Many of those who had been present in the theater were now anxiously waiting just outside its doors for word regarding the President’s condition.  As the news was passed down the Washington streets, others migrated towards the scene, hoping to get the latest information for themselves.  Many, if not all, of those who traveled to the theater that night hoped that the news being passed around was false.  Perhaps the President was fine and the rumors of his being shot were untrue.  As the newcomers arrived however, and they started hearing accounts from witnesses, their hopes would have inevitably changed.  Faced with the realization that the President had, indeed, been shot, their hearts would then pray that their leader was not gravely injured by an assassin’s bullet.

The sight of the unresponsive President being carried, borne by loving hands, out of the theater and into the street would have dashed the hopes and prayers of those present.  The somber truth of President’s condition would have been obvious to everyone, as drops of his blood spilled onto the dirt street.

One of the men viewing this tragic scene was Henry Safford, a boarder who lived across the street from Ford’s Theatre at the boardinghouse of William and Anna Petersen.  Noticing that those carrying the President were unsure where to take him, Safford called out, “Bring him in here.”  With those four words, the Petersen House became an integral part of history and would forever be known as “The House Where Lincoln Died”.

Petersen House 1920 - 1922 BoothieBarn

This picture, previously unpublished, shows the Petersen House between the years of 1920 and 1922.  At that point the building was owned by the government with Lincoln collector Osborn Oldroyd as its tenant and caretaker.  Oldroyd operated his Lincoln museum out of the Petersen House.  At the time this picture was taken, it cost 27¢ (with 3¢ tax) to visit the museum.

You can read more about:

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Register for the 2015 Tudor Hall Symposium!

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  In the coming weeks I will be posting about some of the events planned to mark the occasion.  Remember to check out the Calendar section of BoothieBarn for more events, including some smaller events that might be happening in your area. 

As has become fairly apparent by my recent postings, I have developed a deep interest in the Booth family of Bel Air, Maryland. While this site is still devoted to exploring all aspects of Lincoln’s assassination, I have discovered that the familial background of the Booths is a fascinating sidebar. Looking at the lives and interactions between the members of the Booth family provides a great deal of insight into the path that led John Wilkes Booth to go from actor to assassin, family to fiend. Therefore, I am extremely excited for the upcoming Tudor Hall Symposium. This is a one time only event taking place on May 9, 2015. I’ll let the release from the Spirits of Tudor Hall group explain:

2015 Tudor Hall Symposium Graphic

We’re very excited to announce that the Junius B. Booth Society (JBBS) and the Historical Society of Harford County (HSHC) are holding a one day, one-of-a kind symposium on Saturday, May 9, 2015, titled Tudor Hall, the Booths of Maryland and the Civil War from 8:00 AM to 4:45 PM at the Bel Air Armory in Bel Air, MD. Tudor Hall, the home of the theatrical Booths of Maryland, a short distance away will be open to the attendees following the symposium for tours till 7 PM. We are holding this timely symposium to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Lincoln Assassination and the end of the Civil War. The symposium will explore the complex theatrical Booths— who left their mark on America forever (good and bad), the history of Tudor Hall and the attitudes of Marylanders during the Civil War. As was true with many Maryland families during the Civil War; the Booths were truly a house divided. This is a fundraiser and the proceeds will be split between JBBS and HSHC. All proceeds to JBBS will be used for turning Tudor Hall into a museum.

We have a spectacular line-up of nationally recognized speakers on this fascinating subject:

Fortune’s Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth
By Terry Alford, author of Fortune’s Fool: The Biography of John Wilkes Booth. Terry Alford is a Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College and is a recognized expert on John Wilkes Booth. His long awaited comprehensive biography of John Wilkes Booth, researched for decades, will be released early in 2015.

Edwin Booth During the Civil War
By Daniel J. Watermeier, author of American Tragedian: The Life of Edwin Booth. Daniel J. Watermeier has, through decades of tireless research paired with his own sharp insight, put together the most complete Edwin Booth biography to date. Watermeier’s book offers an in-depth look at the triumphal career and tumultuous life of one of the American stage’s most celebrated figures. His book is scheduled for release early in 2015. Daniel’s talk will focus on Edwin Booth during the Civil war.

A Brief Introduction to Tudor Hall
By Jim Garrett, author of The Lincoln Assassination: Where Are They Now? Jim is a recognized historian of the Lincoln Assassination and a tour guide at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. and gives special talks at Tudor Hall. Jim’s talk will focus on the history of Tudor Hall, home of the theatrical Booths of Maryland.

Booth’s Backstage Friends at Ford’s
By Thomas A. Bogar, author of Backstage at the Lincoln Assassination: The Untold Story of the Actors and Stagehands at Ford’s Theatre.Thomas Bogar tells the untold story of Lincoln’s assassination: the forty-six stage hands, actors, and theater workers on hand for the bewildering events in the theater that night, and what each of them witnessed in the chaos-streaked hours before John Wilkes Booth was discovered to be the culprit.

John Wilkes Booth and the Knights of the Golden Circle
By David C. Keehn, author of Knights of the Golden Circle: Secret Empire, Southern Secession, Civil War. David C. Keehn’s book provides the first comprehensive analysis of the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret southern society that initially sought to establish a slave-holding empire in the Golden Circle region of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Keehn reveals the complex history of this mysterious group (John Wilkes Booth was a member), including its involvement in the secession movement and the Civil War. David’s talk will focus on John Wilkes Booth and his involvement in the Knights of the Golden Circle.

Saturday, May 9, 2015
8:00-8:45 AM   Registration and continental breakfast
8:45 AM   Opening remarks
8:55 AM    Morning Session
Fortune’s Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth by Terry Alford
Edwin Booth During the Civil War by Daniel Watermeier
A Brief Introduction to Tudor Hall by Jim Garrett
12:10-1:45 PM   Lunch on your own at area restaurants or bring your own lunch.
1:45 PM   Afternoon Session
Booth’s Backstage Friends at Ford’s by Thomas Bogar
John Wilkes Booth and the Knights of the Golden Circle by David Keehn
Speakers’ Panel (speakers answer questions from audience and each other)
4:45 PM   Closing remarks

Following the closing remarks the first floor of Tudor Hall is open to attendees till 7 PM.

Fees for Symposium 
Early Registration until April 24, 2015 ─$65.00
Includes continental breakfast and afternoon refreshments.
Registration after April 24, 2015 ─$75.00

The speakers’ books will be for sale at the symposium.

The symposium will be held at: 
Bel Air Armory
37 N. Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
Handicapped access
Limited parking is available in the back. Parking is also available nearby at the Historical Society of Harford County at 143 N. Main Street and on the street.

How to Register:

You can register for the May 9, 2015 Tudor Hall Symposium in Bel Air, Maryland two different ways.

1. Register online and pay with PayPal (or with a credit card) through the Historical Society of Harford County website

  • Visit the Events page of the Historical Society of Harford County website by clicking HERE
  • Scroll down until you see the event details:Online registration for the 2015 Tudor Hall Symposium
  • Click on the “Buy Now” bottom to open the PayPal page to complete your registration and order:Checkout for 2015 Tudor Hall Symposium

2. Register by mail and pay by check

  • Download the registration form by clicking HERE
  • Print the form, fill it out, and mail it with your check payable to The Historical Society of Harford County to:

The Historical Society of Harford County
143 N. Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
Attn: 2015 Symposium

Please consider registering for this one time only Tudor Hall Symposium. All the proceeds from the event will go to the Junius Brutus Booth Society, a group that has done tremendous work in transforming Tudor Hall into a Booth family museum.  In the three years I’ve lived in Maryland I’ve seen this group improve Tudor Hall time and time again.  They deserve all the support they can get for their efforts to bring the story of the Maryland Booths to the masses.  I, of course, will be attending the symposium and I can’t wait to see you there.

So register now and mark your calendar for the Tudor Hall, the Booths of Maryland and the Civil War Symposium on May 9, 2015!

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Henry Byron Booth & Peacock

Henry Byron Booth was the third child of Junius Brutus Booth and Mary Ann Holmes.  He lived a short life, dying from smallpox at the age of 11.  His early death prevented him from knowing his two youngest siblings, John Wilkes and Joseph Adrian.  You can read more about Henry Byron’s brief life in this prior post and by visiting the Booth Children Picture Gallery.

Though only a little is known about Henry Byron, it is clear that he was much loved by his family.  After the young boy’s death, his father, Junius, admitted that Henry had been his favorite child writing, “Guess what his loss has been to us – So proud as I was of him above all others.”

Almost forty-five years after his death, Henry Byron’s mother, Mary Ann, still mourned him.  When her granddaughter, Edwina Booth, wrote of the rough time she, her father, and ailing step-mother were having on their visit to England, Mary Ann wrote of her last, tragic visit to her homeland:

Mary Ann to Edwina in London regarding Henry Byron ALPLM Dear Child how I do wish you were more comfortable & back again in America after going so far & ^not^ seeing the half I wanted you to see, but it is so like my last trip to England, it was nothing but misfortune & death of my dear Boy Henry. that cast a gloom over everything.

Mary Ann Booth to Edwina Booth, April 21, 1881

Practically nothing remains to mark Henry Byron’s existence aside from his name carved on the reverse of the Booth obelisk in Green Mount Cemetery.  His real grave was destroyed when the English cemetery he was buried in was transformed into a park in the late 1890’s.  It is for this reason that any item relating to Henry Byron is an exciting, and rare, find.

This past weekend, my girlfriend and fellow Lincoln assassination researcher, Kate Ramirez, was conducting research for a client from the UK.  Kate was going through the Helen Menken Collection, a privately held theater collection in New York.  The collection contains several Junius Brutus Booth letters and playbills.  The letters were at one time consulted by Dr. Stephen Archer who provided transcriptions of many of them in his wonderful book, Junius Brutus Booth: Theatrical Prometheus.   One letter that Dr. Archer decided not to include in his book was an October 26, 1834 letter from Junius to his father Richard.  At the time Junius was in Boston with Mary Ann and the children.  His note to his father, still at the family farm in Maryland, provides instructions to their servant, Joe Hall, regarding the care of the farm’s animals and upcoming crops.  It is a plain enough letter demonstrating Junius’ operation of his farm while acting on tour.  It has little insight to offer which is probably why Dr. Archer chose not to include it in his book on Junius.

However, for individuals like me with a growing interest in the entire Booth clan, this letter has an exciting addendum.  Junius ends the letter with the following sentence, “Henry wishes to write two lines in this letter which will be seen beneath.”  Then, below Junius’ signature, the following note can be seen:

Henry Byron's note10-26-1834 cropped

Though the letter has been torn and part of it has been lost, with the script of a nine year-old Henry appears to write:

Dear Grandfather
We hope you are w[ell?]
Joe [?] and all the stock [?]
Peacock & the other hor[ses?]
God bless you
Yours ever
Henry Byron

While some words may be difficult to make out, his signature is large and bold, demonstrating significant practice at getting it right:

Henry Byron's signature 10-26-1834

The existence of this note is exciting not only because it is likely the only surviving document written by Henry Byron Booth, but also because, even in its short and incomplete state, it mentions another member of the Booth family: Peacock the pony.

In January of 1821 when Junius Brutus Booth (then married to Adelaide Delannoy and with a young son named Richard) decided to run off to America with Mary Ann, the two started their journey from the English town of Deal.  While in Deal, Junius purchased a piebald pony named Peacock.  Piebald is a coloration pattern of white (or non-pigmentation) with dark spots or patches on top.  Dalmatians, for example are extremely piebald. As a neighbor of the Booths recalled later, Peacock’s, “color was in blocks, white squares with bright bay squares.”

From Deal, Junius, Mary Ann, and Peacock traveled to the Island of Madeira, a Portuguese colonized isle off the coast of Morocco.  Madeira was a common stopping place for ships before setting across the Atlantic.  The young couple was so entranced by the beautiful island that they decided to stay for awhile.  Years later, their daughter Asia described the attention little Peacock received as her parents vacationed on Madeira:

“They remained for several weeks at Madeira; and, as horses were exceedingly rare on the island (oxen and mules being used on the mountains to carry freight, etc.), Peacock created great excitement. Sums of money were offered for him, but my father declined parting with his new favorite; and in April, he took passage for himself, wife, and pony by the schooner Two Brothers for America.”

Peacock the pony served his master well for many years in America.  Junius would often ride Peacock to nearby Baltimore and even hitch him up to his wagon with a larger horse for trips to Philadelphia.  Even though Peacock was small, “Every horse was scared that met with him,” recalled a neighbor.

Ella Mahoney, who later owned the Booth home of Tudor Hall and ran it as a museum, wrote a story about how Junius reacted to Peacock’s ultimate death:

“I often heard it related of him that coming home on one occasion, he found the little horse Peacock, now quite aged, dead. He sent for several of his neighbors (my uncle among them), and going to the house forced Mrs. Booth, terror-stricken, to sit on the horse, wrapped in a sheet, while he walk­ing around with a gun on his arm, read a funeral service. Two of the neighbors whom Joe had hastened to bring, arriving, one attracted his attention, while the other going quietly up behind, pinioned his arms, rendering him harmless. Instead of struggling or growing angry, he dropped the gun and remarked, “Well, you’ve got me, come to the house and have a drink.” But later in the day he disappeared, and the next day was quite ill.”

Like so many stories about “crazy Junius”, this story is probably exaggerated.  After his father’s death, John Wilkes Booth would lament, “We know that two-thirds of the funny anecdotes about our own father are disgraceful falsehoods.”   Still it is likely that Junius, a life long lover of animals, was deeply saddened by the loss of his prized pony Peacock.  Peacock was a living memory of Junius’ “honeymoon” with Mary Ann and, as this note from Henry Byron appears to prove, was well loved by all.

I’m thankful to Kate for uncovering and sharing this wonderful note with me.  It nicely reminds us of the lives of two forgotten members of the Booth family: Henry Byron Booth and Peacock the pony.

Kate Ramirez
Helen Menken Collection
Junius Brutus Booth: Theatrical Prometheus by Stephen Archer
The Elder and Younger Booth by Asia Booth Clarke
John Wilkes Booth: A Sister’s Memoir by Asia Booth Clarke edited by Terry Alford

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New Gallery: Joseph Adrian Booth


Joseph Adrian Booth The Players

Joseph Adrian Booth, born on February 8, 1840, was the youngest child of Junius Brutus Booth and Mary Ann Holmes.  His middle name of Adrian was selected in honor of his eldest brother Junius, Jr., 18 years his senior, who was quite skilled at performing the character of Adrian De Mauprat in the play Richelieu.  Joe spent his boyhood at different schools (often joined by his brother John Wilkes) and on the family farm at Tudor Hall.  When Joe came of age, he had limited aspirations.  With assistance from his brother Edwin, Joe became a treasurer at a theater in Baltimore.  During the next theatrical season he accompanied Edwin on tour, occasionally filling in on stage with minor roles.  Unlike his brothers however, Joe did not take to acting and never attempted to make a livelihood out of it.  Instead, Joe decided to pursue a career in medicine.  In the fall of 1860, he enrolled at the Medical College of South Carolina.  He seemed happy with his choice of profession and, for the first time, appeared to have a path in life.  The outbreak of the Civil War, however, threw a wrench in his plans.  Joseph was in Charleston when the attack on Fort Sumter occurred on April 12, 1861.  Following in the footsteps of his older brother John Wilkes who left his acting engagement in 1859 to soldier at the execution of John Brown, Joseph entered the fray, albeit briefly, to assist as an army surgeon during the attack.  He may have been influenced to do so by his mentor, Dr. Columbus DaVega, who designed and ran a floating hospital for the attacking Confederate troops.  Though the documentation is lacking, it is entirely possible that Joseph assisted Dr. DaVega on his floating hospital during the siege on Fort Sumter.  Joe’s service with the Confederacy was short lived however, and, after the medical college had been shut done due to the upcoming war, he returned back north.

For a time he may have joined up with his brother John Wilkes, accompanying him on tour as he had with Edwin a couple of years before. By early 1862, however, Joseph Booth ran off and disappeared for a time.  He left home with barely a note to explain himself.  The family was unsure if he had enlisted in the army, run off, or even committed suicide.  He showed up a couple months later in England, where Edwin was touring for a year.  While there he had hoped to see his grandmother, but she had passed away before he had arrived.  He was, however, the first of the Booths to meet his brand new niece Edwina, who had been born in England in December of 1861.  Joe, who enjoyed changing how he said certain words, called her Ed-wine-a, like the beverage. Edwin and Joe visited Paris together as Edwin unsuccessfully searched for a theater there to engage him.  By July 15, 1862, Joe was off again, this time he headed for Australia.  When later asked his reasons for going to Australia, Joe responded, “I went out there with this quite boyish freak to make my fortune. I tried mining for a time. Was on a sheep and cattle station, northern part – clerk in the station.”  Joe stayed in Australia for quite some time, much to the lament of his mother.  A poor correspondent, Mary Ann Booth worried daily about her youngest son:

“…Rosalie went yesterday to Blockley post office – but no letters – I saw the [ship] Africa brought the Australian mails – but I don’t know of what date, so I thought there might be one for me – its 6 months today since Joseph left Gravesend [England] – but as no one saw him off how can we be sure that he went there I do think it was the cruelest thing that could be, Josey to throw himself away as he has done and make us all so very miserable he is hardly ever out of my thoughts by day, & at night I dream of him.”

Eventually Joe tired of life in Australia but he was still not ready to come home.  It’s possible that Joe was enacting this long journey in order to avoid the Union draft at home.  Though he would later claim to have been neutral when it came to the war, his brief service with the Confederacy may have made him unwilling to fight for the Union.  When he did leave Australia, he set sail for California.  His eldest brother Junius was living in California at the time and with his help, Joe found work as a mail carrier for Well’s Fargo in San Francisco.  June departed California with his family not long after Joe’s arrival leaving Joe alone again.  Joe worked for Well’s Fargo for about a year before tiring of the work.  He spoke thusly about it, “I disliked the business very much.  The city is very hilly, and I had a great part of the city to go over.  I was on foot.  Had to carry a great many letters around.”  Joe quit Well’s Fargo and decided he finally wanted to come home.

Joe departed California for the long journey to New York on April 13, 1865.  The next day, his brother John Wilkes Booth assassinated the President.  Joe’s boat arrived in Panama on May 2nd.  Joe and the other passengers learned then that the President had been assassinated by a man named Booth.  Joe, however was not worried as there were many people with the last name of Booth.  From the Pacific side of Panama it was necessary to board a train to cross the isthmus and catch a different ship on the Atlantic side.  Sometime during the train ride across Panama, Joe learned that the man named Booth who had assassinated Lincoln was, in fact, his own brother.  A fellow passenger wrote sympathetically of the impact this news had on Joe:

“He said to me oh it is awful to think that my brother should be guilty of such a horrid crime, he said also that his brother must have been crazy to have committed such a deed, and said it would drive him mad. he was very much depressed in spirits and wanted me to be with him all the time to cheer him up. He also said that he wished he was dead and often spoke of his mother and said that this was a dreadful blow for her at her time of life and said that this would blight the future of the rest of the family. He seemed to be very much affected during the rest of the voyage and as we occupied the same berth he would nestle up to me and ask me to be his friend and to stand by him as he felt almost heart broken and friendless.”

While en route to New York, the authorities had learned of Joe’s suspicious departure from California the day before his brother shot the President.  When his ship arrived in New York on May 11th, Joseph Booth was arrested and interrogated the next day.  In his lengthy interrogation, Joe stated that he had very little correspondence with his brother over the past three years and know absolutely nothing about his plot.  Joe also explained his long absence from home.

Examination of Joseph Adrian Booth 5-12-1865

The entire interrogation can be read starting here on (with a paid membership) or as an appendix in the book, John Wilkes Booth: A Sister’s Memoir by Asia Booth Clarke edited by Terry Alford. General John Dix conducted the interrogation, and telegraphed to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton that he had found, “nothing to justify his detention.” Joe was then released and went home to his mourning family.

A future post will detail more about Joseph Adrian Booth, especially his post assassination life. In the meantime, you can learn more about the youngest Booth sibling by checking out his new Picture Gallery!

Sadly, there is only one known image of Joseph Booth.  All the other images in the Joseph Adrian Booth Picture Gallery contain stories and documentation relating to his life.  Remember to click on an image to open its attachment page which contains a description about it.  You can also open the image full size by clicking the image’s dimensions on the top of its attachment page.

To visit the Joseph Adrian Booth Gallery, click HERE or on Joseph’s picture in the image below:

John Wilkes Booth’s Enigmatic Brother Joseph by John C. Brennan
The Youngest Brother – Joseph Booth by Tom Fink
John Wilkes Booth: A Sister’s Memoir by Asia Booth Clarke edited by Terry Alford
Edwin Booth: A Biography and Performance History by Arthur Bloom
Junius Brutus Booth: Theatrical Prometheus by Stephen M. Archer
John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day by Art Loux

Click for Junius Brutus Booth Click for Mary Ann Holmes Booth Click for Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. Click for Rosalie Ann Booth Click for the Booth children Click for Edwin Thomas Booth Click for John Wilkes Booth Click for Joseph Adrian Booth
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John Wilkes Booth Crossword Puzzle

In April of 1980, Americana magazine published an article about Richard and Kellie Gutman.  The pair had just completed their groundbreaking study on all of the known photographs of John Wilkes Booth.  Their final product was the volume John Wilkes Booth Himself.  The article highlighted the Gutmans’ six year search for Booth photographs in collections around the nation and also discussed some of the Gutmans’ own personal Booth treasures.  Coincidentally, one item that formerly belonged to the Gutmans was an over-sized autograph of John Wilkes Booth to his brother Junius, which sold at auction for $14,000 ($17,500 after the 25% buyer’s premium) on January 24th.

The article was well written and helped bring awareness of “Boothophiles” (as the article termed them), like the Gutmans, to a wider audience.  Even back then, Richard Gutman expertly explained what it meant to be a Boothophile/Boothie/BoothBuff stating:

“We’re not apologists for Booth.  The enormity of his deed precludes that.  But we are fascinated by Booth as a romantic, enigmatic character – by how a talented actor became unhinged enough to assassinate Lincoln.”

If you have a couple minutes to spare, I would highly recommend reading the three page article about the Gutmans which can be found here.

Due to the inclusion of the Booth article, the man in charge of creating the crossword puzzle for that issue of Americana decided to make the puzzle John Wilkes Booth themed.  While not every clue is related to John Wilkes Booth, I thought it might be entertaining to post the crossword puzzle here for you all to print out and try on your own.  Consider it another bit of levity and a nice rainy day Boothie activity like the coloring page I posted awhile back.

John Wilkes Booth Crossword Puzzle - Americana Magazine - April 1980

Click the puzzle to download (.pdf) or print

Have fun and let me know how you do!

P.S. How times have changed. At the end of the Gutman article was the following box of information:


While the Surratt Society still puts on their excellent John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Tours (BERTs), the price has gone up in the 35 years since this article was published.  The price is now $80 for Surratt Society members and $85 for non-members.  Also, I would have loved to have been around to pick up multiple copies of John Wilkes Booth Himself for the original price of $18.50.  Nowadays, the asking price for this book is about $300 and up.  It just goes to show you, forget buying stocks and bonds, the best long term investments are in Booths!

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New Section: Calendar

2015 is going to be very busy for those interested in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. While the actual 150th anniversary of the tragedy will occur on April 14th, many groups are planning commemorative events throughout the year.


In an effort to provide a resource for those who may be looking to attend a Lincoln assassination remembrance this year, I have created a custom Google calendar of events.

Some events are multi-month exhibits at various museums, while others are single day speeches or activities. While most events are centered around the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, this calendar is not confined to that region. Clicking on any event will give you more information about it.  In addition, all of the information contained in this calendar has been translated into a list located on the side of this blog, allowing you to see upcoming events at a glance while reading any page here on BoothieBarn.  The code translating the calendar into list form isn’t perfect however, resulting in small errors and no clickable hyperlinks for more information.  If you want to learn more about an upcoming event, view the calendar below or on its own Calendar page, and the hyperlinks should function properly.

This calendar is a work in progress with new events being continually added.  If you know of an upcoming Lincoln assassination event or exhibit, please comment on the Calendar page and let us know about it so that it can be included.

A future post will highlight some of the really big events planned for this year (The Surratt Society Conference, Ford’s Theatre’s Lincoln Tribute, Charles County’s Lincoln 150, Caroline County’s Capture of John Wilkes Booth, and the Junius Brutus Booth Society’s first ever Tudor Hall and Booth Family Symposium), but until then you can check out the events for yourself in the new Calendar section!

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