Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Mary Devlin Booth

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Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Mary Devlin Booth


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Booth, Mary Devlin, 1840-1863
Booth, Edwin, 1833-1893
Actors and Actresses--US American
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Cushman talks about acting as Hamlet and fears she caught an inflammation of the throat. Her engagement was cut short, most likely because Edwin Booth will play the part of Hamlet after her. She asks Mary to have Edwin commission a pattern of the costume.


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


Hampden Booth Theatre Library





Letter Item Type Metadata


[page 1, right]
Baltimore. Tuesday
We [...] mon ceour ma cheri aime
for Edwin. but nobody else. This is
finally a praise. in (the) old country
engagements— to prevent a piece from
being worn out before you can come
to use it yourself. & in the main. it
is not a bad proviso— but in this
instance— all things merge. I wish
Edwin [...] just any
obstacle in his way. But let him
make Mr Jackson understand
this. as for him alone. My engagement

[page 2, left]
was cut short in New York. because
as they told me. Edwin would commence
there or act otherwheres. I was to have
acted Hamlet — but they prevented
it. because Edwin was going to do & commence this
engagement with
this was (one of) the reasons for my reservation
about the dress, dear. I sent it
by adams express to Fredericks on Satr
morning— intending to write. but it
was prevented by constant [...]
during the day. [...]
[...] I found myself with an inflamation of the larynx— obliged to have the Doctor, twice, on Sunday

[page 2, right]
Monday morning so utterly unable to speak
alone work that I sent for Fred to
tell him I could not act. The poor
man's despair— filled me with con-
sternation & will. I sent him to the
Doctor to tell him the importance. he
must have affected him, for [...]
he applied — which made me able to
go through with Katherine. but
in great pain. All night I was in
great suffering with this pain in
my throat. This morning the Doctor
has been with me & says I am not
to act — but if I will, he must try to
patch me up. & so I go but really
& truly but for my regard for Fred I should not dare— for I am fearful

[page 1, left]
it will seriously affect my throat.
the exertion in Hamlet was too much
coming at the tail of a long Engagement 
& I took cold on an exhausted throat
Tell Edwin with my love that I
should never have been able to act
Hamlet so well but in his mantle
& draperies. I dread having a new one
made. [...] dear will you let
the costume at the Theater have Edwin
[...] for a pattern to make me
one. I looked so [...] in it you
would not have [...] it could have been Your ever affectionate
Charlotte Cushman

Let me know if there is any change in your commencements of Boston Engagment.

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Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876, “Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Mary Devlin Booth,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed April 22, 2024, https://archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/1026.

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