Matthew B. Gilmore
Today, when I tell someone that I work at Ford’s Theatre, the person instantly knows where I mean: the venue made famous (or infamous) in 1865, when John Wilkes Booth murdered President Abraham Lincoln there. But before the assassination, if I’d told you that I worked at Ford’s Theatre, you might have asked, “Which one?”
By 1865, John T. Ford’s venue on Tenth Street in Washington was but one of five holdings in his theatrical empire.
Ford, a native of Baltimore, had stumbled into the theatre business in the early 1850s, while running a small newspaper stand in Richmond, Virginia. In 1855, he partnered with two others—George Kunkel and Thomas Moxley—to operate…
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