Scope and arrangement
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 descendents.
The Booth-Grossman family papers are arranged in six series:
- ca. 1859-19261 box
Primarily incoming letters, both personal and professional, to the actor Edwin Booth, and printed material and miscellaneous ephemera pertaining to his career.
- 1859-18637 folders
This small series contains personal correspondence of Edwin Booth's first wife and one folder of her writings.
- 1867-19414 boxes
The largest series in the collection is this series of the papers of Edwina Booth Grossman. It has a wealth of information on her father, Edwin Booth, containing his letters to her, her transcriptions of many letters that he wrote to friends and manuscript drafts of her recollections of him. It also contains some material pertaining to her marriage and personal life.
- 1840-195315 folders
Family members represented here are primarily Ignatius R. Grossman, the husband of Edwina Booth Grossman, and their son, Edwin Booth Grossman. There is also a small amount of Booth family material.
- ca. 1855-191834 folders
Clippings, all photocopied, document the career of Edwin Booth. They are arranged chronologically (1870-1879, 1875: carriage accident, 1879: assassination attempt, 1880-1889, etc.) and then alphabetically by author/title for reviews of specific plays. This is followed by undated theater reviews, then undated general reviews on Booth's career and travels, then final illness, death and funeral, posthumous (reminiscences of, estate, memorial, etc.). Finally Booth family, miscellaneous and clippings on the actor Edwin Forrest found with the rest of the clippings. Other clippings on a very wide range of topics from humor to taxes but with no mention of any Booths or Grossmans or the theater or any annotations or explanations of why they were kept or by whom were removed from the collection.
- ca. 1867-19261 box
The bulk of the photographs are of Edwin Booth including portraits from his young manhood to old age, photographs of him in costume and photographs of him with others including his friend, the actor Lawrence Barrett, his daughter, Edwina as a little girl, and his grandchildren. There is one portrait each of his two parents, one of his brother, Junius Brutus Booth, Jr., two of his brother, John Wilkes Booth, and two of his first wife, Mary Devlin Booth so obviously some of the photographs predate 1867. There are also photographs of other members of the Booth and Grossman families, some unidentified; photographs of the unveiling ceremony in 1918 of the statue of Edwin Booth as Hamlet in Gramercy Square Park; a photograph of an interior of the Players Club; and a few miscellaneous photographs sent to Edwin Booth or his daughter.