Emil Carlsen Archives is a Non-profit organization running the world's largest visual archive of the work of painter Emil Carlsen [1848-1932]

Edward Franklin Albee II [1857-1930]

January 1, 1857

ECA Record Control Number: 15584

Record Level: Listing

Record Type: Collector

Name: Edward Franklin Albee II

Born: 1857
Died: 1930

City: Boston
State: MA
Other cities:

Gender: Male

Historical notes:

Albee was born on October 8, 1857 in Machias, Maine to Nathaniel Smith Albee[1] and Amanda Higgins Crocker.

He toured with P. T. Barnum as a roustabout,[2] then in 1885 he partnered with Benjamin Franklin Keith in operating the Bijou Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts.[3] With the success of their business, it grew into the Keith-Albee theatre circuit of vaudeville theatres. Albee gradually took managerial control of Keith’s theatrical circuit. They were the first to introduce moving pictures in the United States.[1]

In 1900, Pat Shea of Buffalo proposed to Keith and Albee that they should set up a shared booking arrangement for vaudeville similar to the Theatrical Syndicate. They called a meeting in May 1900 in Boston of most of the major vaudeville managers, including Weber & Fields, Tony Pastor, Hyde & Behman of Brooklyn, Kohl & Castle, Colonel J.D. Hopkins, and Meyerfield & Beck of the Orpheum Circuit of the western USA.[4] They did not invite Frederick Freeman Proctor, Keith’s main competitor, but the other managers objected to this and insisted on a meeting in New York where Proctor was invited. The Vaudeville Managers Association (VMA) was founded at the New York meeting. Keith and Albee dominated the new organization.[4] Albee was president of the VMA’s United Bookings Office from its formation in 1906. 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 to form a union, 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.[5]

He formed the Keith-Albee-Orpheum corporation on January 28, 1928 with Joseph P. Kennedy.[6] Radio Corporation of America bought his company and formed RKO Pictures (“Radio-Keith-Orpheum”) and turned the Orpheum vaudeville circuit into a chain of movie theaters.[7]

Many entertainers considered Albee’s tactics tyrannical and he was not popular among them. Groucho Marx referred to the United Bookings Office as “Albee’s Gestapo”.[8]

Joe Frisco summed up the impression of power Albee made; exiting Albee’s office into a street under construction, his agent wondered why the street was being torn up and Frisco quipped, “Albee’s kid lost his ball.”[2]:420

Albee appears as a small character in the first act of the 1968 Broadway musical, George M!.

Citation: “Edward Franklin Albee II.”  Wikipedia.  Updated September 18, 2016.  Accessed October 15, 2016.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Franklin_Albee_II  

Decades of activity:

See also:



Document Information

Digital-born Document Number:

Digital Document Provenance:
Original compiled and researched document by the Emil Carlsen Archives, 266 West 21st Street, Suite 4E, New York, NY 10011.

Document License:
Creative Commons Corporation  shareAlike (sa) license.  Some of the information contained within this document may hold further publication restrictions depending on final use.  It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine.

Image License:
The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to U.S. Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author’s death. In other countries, legislation may differ.

Record Birth Date:
October 15, 2016

Last Update:
October 15, 2016

©2013-2017 Emil Carlsen Archives

Digital-born Publication Title: Emil Carlsen Archives
Publication Subtitle: World's Largest Visual Reference Dedicated to the Preservation of the Work of Danish-American Impressionist/Realist Painter, Emil Carlsen [1848-1932]
Library of Congress Subject Authority Heading: Carlsen, Emil, 1853-1932
Emil Carlsen LC control no.: n 85141186
Publication Type: Online Integrating Resource
Language: English
Creator/Author: Emil Carlsen Archives
Published by: Emil Carlsen Archives, 266 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10011
Edition: First
Frequency of Updates: Daily
Publish Date: 2013 –
End Date: none, continuing
Hosting: Single server (no mirrors)

MARC Organization Code: 41959
MARC Org Code: NyNyECA
MARC Org Code: normalized: nynyeca
Publisher ISSN : forthcoming