John Wilkes Booth Photo, Frederick Meserve-Collected
Closed Auction
John Wilkes Booth Photo, Frederick Meserve-Collected
Closed Auction

About the item

John Wilkes Booth Photo, Frederick Meserve-Collected A portrait photograph of presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth (1838-1865), printed ca. 1910, from the personal collection of world-renowned Lincoln collector Frederick H. Meserve (1865-1962). The sepia-colored photograph is hand-stamped "Collection / Of / Americana / Frederick H. Meserve / 265 Edgecombe Avenue / New York City" verso. Expected wear including a few gentle corner folds, else near fine. The photo measures 2.125" x 3.25." The photograph shows a standing Booth elegantly dressed in a double-collared frock coat and patterned neckerchief, looking every inch a beloved matinee actor. This photograph is listed as Gutman 29, according to the authoritative photography index created by Richard and Kellie O. Gutman, "John Wilkes Booth Himself" (Dover, Massachusetts: Hired Hand Press, 1979). Booth's being a professional actor uniquely enabled him to both formulate and execute Lincoln's assassination. Booth knew John T. Ford, owner of Ford's New Theater, so he had free and complete access to the building. He coordinated his fatal gunshot with the moment after one of the most comedic lines of "Our American Cousin" was delivered, when he knew that audience laughter would muffle the noise. Lastly, Booth delivered his final on-stage lines, "Sic Semper Tyrannis!" with an actor's gusto, clearly relishing the intersection of his Art with his Politics. Frederick H. Meserve was a preeminent collector of Lincoln and Civil War era photography, ephemera, maps, and books. He began collecting Lincolniana in 1897, with the intention of illustrating his father's Civil War diary. In the early 1900s, Meserve acquired 10,000 original Brady negatives including seven Lincoln portraits. Meserve continued collecting Lincoln likenesses, as well as photos of Lincoln's contemporaries, like Booth, over the next sixty years. He eventually amassed a collection of 200,000 pieces including some previously "lost" or unknown images of Lincoln. Meserve's collection was so esteemed for its completeness that he essentially became the custodian of "Lincoln's image." Meserve was approached by medal and currency engravers, as well as by the sculptors of Lincoln's Memorial Monument, for direct access to his presidential photographs. In 2015, the Meserve-Kunhardt Collection was acquired by the Yale Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (New Haven, Connecticut.) This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses. WE PROVIDE IN-HOUSE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE! Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia November 29, 2023 10:30 AM EST Wilton
US
Wilton, CT, US
US
Estimate
300 USD
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