Albee II, Edward F. (ON HOLD)


Vaudeville impresario (grandfather of the playwright), with partner B. F. Keith, first introduced motion pictures in the US


Autograph ID: 4807
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1857-1930) Vaudeville impresario, adoptive grandfather of playwright Edward F. Albee III. Born in Maine, he toured with P. T. Barnum as a ticket collector, then in 1885 partnered with Benjamin F. Keith (d. 1914) in operating the Bijou Theatre in Boston. With the success of their business, it grew into the Keith-Albee vaudeville theatre circuit. Albee gradually took managerial control of Keith’s theatrical circuit, the first to introduce moving pictures in the US. Albee was president of the United Bookings Office from its formation in 1900 or 1906. It had such all-powerful control on vaudevillians’ careers that Groucho Marx referred to it as “Albee’s personal Gestapo”. Albee had most of the major vaudeville circuits give him control of their theatrical bookings where he charged acts a 5% commission. When performers tried unionize, he set up National Vaudeville Artists and made membership in it a requirement for booking through his company. His partner Keith died in Palm Beach, Florida in 1914. He formed the Keith-Albee-Orpheum on Jan. 28, 1928, with Joseph P. Kennedy. Radio Corporation of America bought his company and formed RKO Pictures and turned the Orpheum vaudeville circuit into a chain of movie theaters. His son, Reed A. Albee, was playwright Edward Albee’s adoptive father, and owned several theatres.

ISP, 11 ¼ x 8 Marceau Studio of New York ¾-length sepia portrait inscribed with nice sentiment to friends, dated December 26 1919.

Col. Theodore C. Marceau (1859-1922) pioneered creation of national chains of photographic studios in the 1880s. His New York branch in the 1st decade of the 20th century engaged in a great deal of celebrity and theatrical photography. In 1900, he transferred his base of operations to New York City. Col. Marceau ran diversified photographic studios that did portraiture, scientific photography, and occasional photojournalism. After his 1891 marriage, he became greatly interested in theatrical portraiture and made extensive use of props, drapes, and painted backdrops in his portraits. During much of the 1st decade of the 20th century Marceau ran 2 major studios in New York: Otto Sarony and Marceau. In 1905 he co- organized the Professional Photographers Society of New York State and served as its First Vice-President. Marceau co-organized the Copyright League that lobbied Congress for stronger protections for photographers against appropriation of their images by newspapers. It is he that recommended that a c (“©”) with a circle around it and the photographer’s name on the front of an image serve as the public claim that an image was copyright protected. He was an acquisitive genius who took the proceeds from his studio at 285 Fifth Avenue and sunk them into real estate and collecting. At his death, he was worth millions.”
Type: Photograph

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