As I’ve mentioned before, Nikola Tesla and Abraham Lincoln have a surprising number of connections between them. I’m currently writing about them in my new ebook called (unsurprisingly) Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla – Connected by Fate, due out this summer on Amazon.com.
One unexpected, and somewhat ironic, connection revolved around key players in Lincoln’s assassination, at a club called The Players.
During his most socially-active period Nikola Tesla hung out with some of the more famous personages of the time. Among his friends were Samuel Clemens (aka, Mark Twain), John Muir, Robert Underwood Johnson, Sarah Bernhardt, and others. One of his favorite places to relax was The Players, a social club established to “bring actors into contact with men of different professions such as industrialists, writers and other creative artists.” Nikola Tesla was one of those men.
The Players, by the way, was started by famous Shakesperean actor, Edwin Booth. Yes, that Edwin Booth, older brother of the more infamous John Wilkes Booth, assassin of Abraham Lincoln.
Illegitimate son of the world-renowned actor, Junius Brutus Booth, Edwin went on to establish himself as a superior actor on his own. His two brothers, Junius Jr. and John Wilkes, equally illegitimate, also became actors, though one not as famous and the other more infamous. After the assassination, Edwin disowned John Wilkes and eventually resumed acting, making the title role in Hamlet his signature.
Edwin established The Players in 1888 and died in 1893 just as Nikola Tesla was lighting up the “White City” at the Chicago World’s Fair.
There is much more to the story, of course, and I’ll have that in Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla – Connected by Fate. Watch for it on Amazon later this summer.
David J. Kent has been a scientist for thirty-five years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (now in its 5th printing) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His book on Thomas Edison is due in Barnes and Noble stores in July 2016.