Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Give the Gift of History

The Junius B. Booth Society and The Historical Society of Harford County are offering a unique opportunity. You can now own a piece of historic Tudor Hall─ the house that Junius Brutus Booth built for his family.
     The chimney at Tudor Hall was structurally unsound and it was removed so that a new chimney could be built. Vintage photographs reveal that the original chimney, which dated to the construction of the house which began in the fall of 1851, was repaired and modified at least once in the years after Samuel A. S. Kyle purchased Tudor Hall in 1878 from Mary Ann Holmes Booth, widow of Junius Brutus Booth, Sr. The exact date of these repairs and modifications is unknown at this time.
     As a result, the age of any of the bricks removed from the chimney in July 2009 is uncertain. All that can be said with certainty is that the bricks were part of the chimney at Tudor Hall for many years.  We are offering 400 of the bricks from the old chimney at Tudor Hall for sale to the public. Proceeds will go to support the Junius B. Booth Society and The Historical Society of Harford County, in part, to catalog and preserve materials related to the Booth family and Tudor Hall. The Junius B. Booth Society and The Historical Society of Harford County are nonprofit organizations which work to make the public more aware of the individual members of the Booth family and Tudor Hall.
     The brick for sale comes with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity and a pictorial history of the Tudor Hall chimney and makes a great gift. The cost of each brick is $40.00 (tax included) and $15.00 for shipping/handling. To purchase this unique piece of history, send a check for $55.00 made out to: The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc.

Mail to:
The Historical Society of Harford County
Tudor Hall Brick
143 N. Main Street
Bel Air, MD  21014

If you would like to pick it
up in person, call 410-838-5257

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Voice Of Edwin Booth

Edwin Booth was the son of the famous tragedian who built Tudor Hall—Junius Brutus Booth. Junius, not wanting his children to follow in his profession, eventually anointed Edwin to carry the torch of his theatrical legacy, as it became evident that Edwin inherited his father's talent.

I don't know about you, but when I visit Tudor Hall—in my mind I picture the Booth family and the great groundbreaking changes they made to American theatre. I'd love to travel back in time, sit in the audience and experience their powerful performances. To me, the Booths are the first family of American theatre. What did they sound like? What kind of accents did they have?

To our great fortune, there is an actual wax cylinder recording of Edwin Booth that exists. Edwin, who became the foremost actor of the 19th century and is said to be the greatest Hamlet of all time, recorded some speeches in 1890 at the establishment he founded—The Players Club in New York City.

The recording is scratchy and hard to hear, but it is Edwin's voice. You can get a feel of what he sounded like. What a treasure. You can listen to this recording of Edwin reading Othello by clicking this link: When you get to the site, the audio is to the upper right. Enjoy.