The first of the numerous Clubs which have now centered about the Park was “The Players,” founded in 1888 by Edwin Booth to promote “social intercourse between the representative members of the Dramatic profession, and of the kindred professions of Literature, Painting, Sculpture and Music, and the Patrons of the Arts.” Mr. Booth presented No. 16 to the Club, after the house, remodeled and decorated by Stanford White with his consummate skill, had been adapted for use as a Club. The foremost actor of his time, Edwin Booth was one of the Park’s most famous residents. Representing all that is best and most inspiring in dramatic art, and possessing the mysterious power which held his audiences under a spell, he added the generosity of a large and noble heart and it was characteristic of him that he dedicated the much loved home in which he spent his declining years to his fellow Players. The admirable statue of Booth which now forms the central feature of the Park is both a tribute to his genius and an expression of gratitude. The statue, which was executed by Edmond T. Quinn, and which represents Booth in his most famous character as “Hamlet” with life-like fidelity, is generally recognized as a work of art of exceptional merit, and an account of the interesting ceremony which took place upon its unveiling will be found on another page.
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