Asia Booth Clarke

Asia Frigga Booth Clarke (November 19, 1835 – May 16, 1888) was a 19th-century American writer.

Asia Booth Clarke
Asia Booth, 1850s
Asia Frigga Booth

(1835-11-19)November 19, 1835
DiedMay 16, 1888(1888-05-16) (aged 52)
OccupationPoet, writer
ChildrenCreston Clarke
Wilfred Clarke
...six other children
Parent(s)Junius Brutus Booth
Mary Ann Holmes
RelativesJohn Wilkes Booth (brother)
Edwin Booth (brother)
Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. (brother)

Early years

Asia Frigga Booth was the eighth in the family of ten children born to Junius Brutus Booth and his wife Mary Ann Holmes. Her famous brothers were Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth.[1]:5, 22 Asia was named for the continent where her father thought the Garden of Eden had been located.[2]


On April 28, 1859, Booth married John Sleeper Clarke at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, in Baltimore, Maryland.[1]:11 The couple had eight children, two of whom, Creston (1865–1910) and Wilfred (1867–1945), became actors. Wilfred would later marry actress Victory Bateman. Because of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 committed by her brother John Wilkes Booth and its effect upon the family, she and her husband emigrated to England, where they stayed until their deaths.

Asia became the poet and writer in the family, and through her work some insight was gained into the lives of the Booths, particularly John Wilkes. The Unlocked Book: John Wilkes Booth, a Sister's Memoir was written in 1874, but she kept its existence secret, fearing it would upset her husband. He had been imprisoned and forced to testify at the Lincoln assassination co-conspirators' trials, because of his family connection.[1]:2324

The memoir was published in 1938 by G.P. Putnam's Sons, when her heirs felt the public would be receptive. It was re-edited and republished in 1996 as John Wilkes Booth: A Sister's Memoir.[1]:2526

Her other family memoirs, which she was able to publish during her lifetime, focused on the acting careers of her father and her brother Edwin Booth. The first, titled Booth memorials: Passages, incidents, and anecdotes in the life of Junius Brutus Booth (the Elder) by His Daughter, was published in December of 1865, within a year of Lincoln's assassination. [3]

Asia Booth Clarke is buried in the Booth family plot at Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.[1]:23 Her brother, John Wilkes Booth, is also buried in the family plot.[4]

Selected works

  • The Unlocked Book: John Wilkes Booth, a Sister's Memoir
  • Booth, The Elder and the Younger
  • Passages, Incidents, and Anecdotes in the Life of Junius Brutus Booth, (The Elder) - Booth Memorials, Carleton, Publisher, New York, 1866

See also


  1. Asia Booth Clarke (1996). Terry Alford (ed.). John Wilkes Booth: A Sister's Memoir. Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 0-87805-883-4.
  2. Giblin, James Cross (2005). Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth. Clarion Books. p. 7. Retrieved 2011-03-8.
  3. Taylor, Dave. "Asia Frigga Booth Clarke Pictures". The Boothie Barn. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  4. Booth family burial plot
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