John Wilkes Booth made an average of $650 a week in the 1861-1862 theater season, when he was touring the country’s mid-section — the equivalent of $17,000 a week today
That average was calculated from roller coaster paychecks. He banked $900 for his best week in Chicago, but only $117 for a week in Detroit. He spent six weeks in St. Louis, but the theater owners paid him in a locally issued currency worthless outside Missouri.
Meanwhile, his older brother Edward, one of the most sought-after actors in the country, could demand $5,000 for a two-week engagement. That’s the equivalent of $131,000 a week today.
Source: My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry That Led to the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln by Nora Titone