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Charles Kean and Wife Ellen Tree

Mathew Brady Studio, active 1844 - 1894
Chicago Albumen Works
Charles Kean, 18 Jan 1811 - 22 Jan 1868
Ellen Kean, 1805 - 1880
c. 1860-1870 (printed later)
Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative
Image: 9.4 × 5.9 cm (3 11/16 × 2 5/16")
Sheet: 12.5 × 9.6 cm (4 15/16 × 3 3/4")
Mat: 35.6 × 28 cm (14 × 11")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
Object number
Exhibition Label
While building their respective acting careers in Britain and the United States in the 1820s and 1830s, Charles Kean and Ellen Tree each achieved a different level of success. But the turning point for both performers came after their marriage in 1842, when as Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kean they joined forces to become one of the mid-nineteenth century's most popular acting duos. In 1845 the couple embarked on their first American tour and for two years captivated audiences with a repertoire that included Shakespearean plays as well as The Wife's Secret-a drama written expressly for them. The Keans did not perform again in the United States until 1865 when they visited New York on the final leg of a world tour. Their return to Broadway came on April 26-the day New York City's theaters reopened after a hiatus in the wake of President Lincoln's assassination on April 15.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection