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Laura Keene

Laura Keene
Usage Conditions Apply
Rufus P. Anson, 1821 - 21 Mar 1886
Laura Keene, c. 1826 - 4 Nov 1873
c. 1855
Sixteenth-plate daguerreotype
Image (sight): 3.1 × 2.5 cm (1 1/4 × 1")
Case Open: 5.4 × 9.7 cm (2 1/8 × 3 13/16")
Case Closed: 5.3 × 4.8 × 1.5 cm (2 1/16 × 1 7/8 × 9/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the generosity of Bill and Sally Wittliff
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born London, England
An accomplished comedic actress, Laura Keene rattled New York City’s theatrical establishment in 1855 when she became the first woman manager of a major theater in that city. After leasing the Metropolitan Theatre, she opened Laura Keene’s Varieties, serving as manager, director, and principal star. Keene faced hostility from New York’s male theatrical managers. Her theater was vandalized, and she lost her lease. Undeterred, she opened the Laura Keene Theatre in a new building in 1856. Well versed in all aspects of her craft, Keene was a highly successful manager who championed emerging playwrights and attracted the brightest stars to her acting company.
Nacida en Londres, Inglaterra
La consumada actriz cómica Laura Keene sorprendió al mundo teatral de Nueva York en 1855 al convertirse en la primera mujer gerente de un teatro importante en la ciudad. Luego de alquilar el Metropolitan Theatre, abrió Laura Keene’s Varieties, donde fungió como gerente, directora y estrella principal. Fue tratada con hostilidad por los gerentes teatrales hombres. Su teatro fue vanda- lizado y perdió su contrato de arrendamiento. Sin desanimarse, abrió el Laura Keene Theatre en 1856. Experta en todos los aspectos de su oficio, Keene fue una gerente exitosa que auspició a dramaturgos nuevos y atrajo a las estrellas más famosas para que actuaran en su compañía.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Women of Progress: Early Camera Portraits
On View
NPG, East Gallery 134