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Laura Keene

Attribution
Mathew Brady Studio, active 1844 - 1894
Printer
Chicago Albumen Works
Sitter
Laura Keene, c. 1826 - 4 Nov 1873
Date
c. 1865 (printed later)
Type
Photograph
Medium
Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative
Dimensions
Image: 8.8 × 6.7 cm (3 7/16 × 2 5/8")
Sheet: 13.9 × 11.7 cm (5 1/2 × 4 5/8")
Mat: 35.6 × 27.9 cm (14 × 11")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
Object number
NPG.81.M128.D1
Culture
Laura Keene: European\British\English
Exhibition Label
Born London, England
English actress Laura Keene achieved fame in the United States, not only as a brilliant comedic star but as one of the nation’s first woman managers of a major theatrical company. Following her American stage debut in 1852, Keene performed in a number of cities and briefly managed theaters in Baltimore and San Francisco before settling in New York City, where she opened her own theater in 1856. Specializing in elaborately staged comic productions, Keene delighted audiences and succeeded in attracting to her company a host of celebrated actors. She assumed a role in each of her productions, achieving her greatest success as Florence Trenchard in the hugely popular comedy Our American Cousin. On the night of April 14, 1865, Keene was appearing in this play at Ford’s Theatre for an audience that included Abraham Lincoln when John Wilkes Booth fired the shot that claimed the president’s life.
Nacida en Londres, Inglaterra
Laura Keene se hizo famosa en Estados Unidos no solo como brillante estrella de la comedia sino como una de las primeras mujeres que manejaron com- pañías teatrales importantes en el país. Luego de su debut estadounidense en 1852, actuó en numerosas ciudades y administró teatros en Baltimore y San Francisco antes de radicarse en Nueva York, donde fundó su propio teatro en 1856. Keene se especializó en producciones cómicas de elaborados montajes que deleitaban al público, y logró atraer a muchos artistas célebres para que trabajaran con su compañía. En cada producción interpretaba un papel, y el más exitoso fue el de Florence Trenchard en la popularísima comedia Our American Cousin. En esa obra actuaba Keene la noche del 14 de abril de 1865 en el Teatro Ford cuando John Wilkes Booth hizo el disparo que segó la vida del presidente Abraham Lincoln, quien se encontraba entre el público.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 110b
Exhibition
Storied Women of the Civil War Era
On View
NPG, East Gallery 110b