After a long career on the American stage, Edwin Thomas Booth retired from the acting in 1888. He spent his declining years in his private room above The Players club that he founded. By 1893, his health had worsened considerably. The events of his life had aged him far beyond his 59 years, with insomnia and lifelong tobacco use taking their toll as well.
In the days prior to his death, Edwin was visited by many of his acting contemporaries. One such visitor was the comedian Joseph Jefferson who found early fame by debuting as Asa Trenchard in the play “Our American Cousin” in 1858. The actor (who was actually 3 years older than Edwin) visited Booth two days before his death:
On June 7th, 1893, Edwin fulfilled his New Year’s Eve prediction that, “You drink tonight to my health. A year from tonight you will drink to my memory.” He passed away at around 1:00 o’clock in the morning – a time he had witnessed often in his solitude. Edwin Booth died during his own “vulture hours” and the world lost the greatest actor of the day. Joseph Jefferson was elected president of The Players following Booth’s death and would serve until his own demise.
My Thoughts Be Bloody by Nora Titone
The article was found through Genealogybank.com
The image of Booth in 1892 comes from the Harvard Theatre Collection