Sarah Bernhardt (late 1800's) was the first great female Hamlet? Or, rather, that's what I always assumed, I suppose.
If you want Hamlet at this time period, though, I'm thinking you wanted the master himself - here is the card for an Edwin Booth performance.
We know the story of Edwin already, so there's not too much I can say here (especially given the next card). There's a curiosity on this poster, though - does anybody know who S.K. Chester might have been? I find that name curious because he's playing Claudius, while "Mrs. S.K. Chester" is listed as well, playing "An Actress." So it sounds like Mr. Chester was important enough to request a role for his wife. They each have a page on the Internet Broadway Database, but it provides no information that's not already on this poster.
But, I've got one more very cool poster to show....
Look at that. The whole Booth family, starring in Julius Caesar. Junius Brutus Booth, the father, as Julius Caesar. Edwin as Brutus. John Wilkes as Marc Antony. Insert some sort of clever observation here about how maybe "the bad one" should have played Brutus? Also of note, there's a "Mr. C.K. Chester" in the credits - I wonder the relation to S K Chester above?
The poster clearly shows this performance as some sort of special occasion. I'll bet it was! Does this show mark a historic event of some sort? That is, do we know more about it? When was the date relative to Lincoln's assassination? Was it a travelling show, or a one time event? Were Edwin and his brother rotating parts?
I have one more picture of the Shakespeare booth (ha! get it? booth?) from Ford's Theatre, but I'm saving that for another post...
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