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John Wilkes Booth. Picture featured on a wanted poster immediately following the Lincoln assassination. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZC4-5341).


Booth, John Wilkes (10 May 1838–26 April 1865), actor and assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, actor and assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was born near Bel Air in Harford County, Maryland, the son of Junius Brutus Booth, an actor, and Mary Ann Holmes. His grandfather, Richard Booth, named him after John Wilkes, the British reformer. As a child Booth dabbled in acting, as did some of his brothers and several neighborhood boys, both at the Booth country home, “Tudor Hall,” and at their town house in Baltimore. Booth’s father actively discouraged his children from entering the theatrical profession, but he toured extensively and died on the road when John was only fourteen....


Gillars, Mildred Elizabeth (29 November 1900–25 June 1988), radio propagandist, known as “Axis Sally,” was born Mildred Elizabeth Sisk in Portland, Maine, the daughter of Vincent Sisk, a railroad yardman, and Mae Hewitson. When Mildred was seven her parents divorced, and shortly after, her mother married Robert Bruce Gillars, a dentist, who moved his new family to Conneaut, Ohio. From her early years, Mildred was a stagestruck child whose mother encouraged her desire to be an actress. She appeared in a number of theater productions at Conneaut High School and at Ohio Wesleyan University, which she entered in 1918. In preparation for a career on the stage Gillars majored in English and oratory and minored in voice and piano. At Ohio Wesleyan Gillars’s performances were highly praised. She was an erratic student, however, and because of several incompletes and failures, she left the university in 1922 without graduating....