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    Description

    John T. Ford Autograph Letter Signed "J.T. Ford", on his monogrammed notepaper, one and a half pages, 5" x 8", Baltimore (Md.), 3 August 1865, to "My dear Wright" (J.B. Wright, stage manager at Ford's Theatre on the night of the assassination), who had evidently asked for money owed. Ford was the owner/manager of Ford's Theatre, where Lincoln was murdered, and was friend and manager of John Wilkes Booth. "I feel for your embarrassments to that painful degree which experience has brought me," Ford replies, but adds "I am entirely out of money and have not been for four years so much troubled for money. I have not had a dollar from the Govt. and have done no business except renting the theatre to a minstrel band. I had to raise money by borrowing to pay lawyers and prevent a sacrifice of property. Spangler's case cost me about $1200 - part of which is paid, the other I am pressed for. When the Govt. pays me I will be in funds, but that will not be until after Congress meets or if business starts up here." He asks Wright to check up on Louise Anderson, who had backed out of an appearance ("She wrote it was 'sickness and death'"), and closes "Hoping for better luck", evidently for all concerned. Ford had attempted to reopen his Washington theatre in June 1865 but was met with public indignation. Secretary of War Stanton, who feared commercial exploitation of the assassination site, sent guards to shut it down. When Ford threatened legal action the government began renting the property for $1500 a month and bought it in 1866 for $100,000. Ford thereafter devoted himself to his theatre in Baltimore (the one referred to in this letter) and local politics. Ford was a friend as well as sometime manager of John Wilkes Booth, whose acting he always praised highly. Booth had only one starring engagement at Ford's Washington theatre, in November 1863, at which time President Lincoln saw him perform in "The Marble Heart". As seen in this letter, Ford was also a sympathetic friend to his hapless stagehand Edman Spangler, whose innocence he staunchly maintained. This letter, which has been mounted to a 6.75" x 10.25" backing, is toned and in fine condition.

    Provenance:
    Possibly from the Fostell collection, which contained other Ford items sent to Wright.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 766

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