Though much of her early life, including her real name and exact date of birth, remains in shadow, Laura Keene is thought to have come from a well-to-do background. She was widely read and spent time in Turner’s studio during her childhood. After performing with Madame Vestris’ company, Keene journeyed to New York in 1852 at the invitation of James W. Wallack. She became the leading lady of his theater and enjoyed great success.
In 1853 she undertook the management of the Charles Street Theatre in Baltimore. From there she moved to San Francisco and the Metropolitan Theatre, and then to Australia where she toured with Edwin Booth. By 1855 she had returned to New York and opened Laura Keene’s Varieties, becoming the first powerful female manager in New York. During this period, Keene maintained a professional relationship with Edward G. P. Wilkins--his first dramatic effort, My Wife’s Mirror was performed at Varieties--which ended soon after her performance in The Siam Light Guard. He became more critical of her acting and accused her of preferring to stage foreign dramas because she could use them free of charge (T. Miller 56). Wilkins "launched a campaign to expose what he called ’filibusters’--plagiarized scripts which kept being passed off as originals" (57). In the February 12, 1857 edition of the Saturday Press he chastised Laura Keene for "presenting three such pieces in one month" (57). He concluded by saying, "filibuster as much as you please, ladies and gentlemen; success is nothing but success. But full houses will not buy literary reputation for borrowed plumes" (qtd. in T. Miller 58).
In 1856 she moved to Laura Keene’s Theatre where she both acted and managed the company, producing clever comedies and inspiring actors like Dion Boucicault and Edward A. Sothern. Their anecdotes about her later led William Winter to write in his reminiscences on nineteenth-century theater that Keene’s temper "was tempestuous and violent" (Old Friends 193).
Keene’s name was immortalized when, during her company’s play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, President Lincoln was assassinated. Following the tragedy, she managed to continue working; she undertook management of the Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia in 1869 and then journeyed west. Among her many projects at this time were editing a magazine Fine Arts, writing plays, lecturing, and acting. She died in 1873 leaving behind two daughters from her first marriage to Englishman John Taylor. She had remarried to American John Lutz later in life (Rourke).
Played the role of "Jane Eyre" in the production done at Laura Keene's Varieties.
Keene was the lessee on Tripler Hall in 1855. She was mistreated by the press for her competitve run of Prince Charming. The scenery for this play was destroyed, but she directed anyway. The theater was soon after called "Laura Keene's Varieties."
Brown mentions Keene's sudden departure from the stage for her second marriage to John Lutz in California in 1853.
Brown claims that Keene lost her hold on the New York public 1863. Keene had no standing policy about what type of plays would be performed at her theater in 1860s. The affairs of the house seemed to be run haphazardly, yet the theater's record was remarkable during her management. Many who won lasting fame played under Keene's management. Laura Keene was determined to manage theaters in the manner of the English stage, running plays for weeks and possibly months. She was successful despite the criticisms of other American playhouse managers. Brown notes that there was a completeness in the detail of the scenery and costumes for her plays as a result of her efforts.
Keene acted in her company's performance of Our American Cousin the night of Lincoln's assasination.
Laura Keene died in Montclair, NJ, Nov. 4, 1873 at the age of 43. Brown includes a reprint of her obituary.[pages:i.431-432,477,480,481, ii.143-145]
Clare discusses Laura Keene's new play, Colleen Bawn. Clare discusses Keene's performance in the play and her acting abilities (2).[pages:2]
Clare mentions "the lovely color of Laura Keene's hair" in her discussion of the "many-colored joke" (2).[pages:2]
Clare discusess Heron and Keene when posing the question of whether or not another actress gains any fame by discrediting their talent (2).[pages:2]
Clare discusses The Heart of Mid Lothian at Laura Keene's Theatre and Keene's performance (2).[pages:2]
In writing about the Marble Heart, Clare discusses Keene's acting and her mastery of "tone" and the naturalness of her performance (2).[pages:2]
Clare references Laura Keene when discussing the types of rewards performers and artists should and should not receive in appreciation for their talents (2).[pages:2]
Clare discusses The Unequal Match and Keene's performance in the play. Clare especially praises the quality of her voice (2).[pages:2]
Dodo mentions that Laura Keene recently produced a Tom Taylor's Our American Cousin, a three-act comedy. Keene's performance in the play is described as "vapid" (2).[pages:2]
Figaro mentions writing up the "comedy of manners" he witnessed in the audience at Wallack's into a play that could be adapted for several cities, like "Laura Keene's famous piece" (184).[pages:184]
Listed among the original cast in the role of "Prince Charles Frederick (his son)."
Gunn describes seeing a melodrama: "after supping with them at Sweenys, we walked through drenching rain to the Lyceum. Farce, then a melodrama ycleped [sic] 'Pauline' by Dumas, nonsense, intensely French nonsense, but amusing from its startling incidents, thunder storms, secret doors, pistollings & finally a duel across a table, in which the Satanic, Byronic, gambling, highway-robbing impossibility who's the hero of the piece gets artistically and anatomically settled. Withal it was very well played. Laura Keene's English face, voice and acting I like, much" (166).
Gunn details Laura Keene's portrayal of Rosalind in "As You Like It": "Evening with Waud to Wallack's, there to see 'As You Like It'. Very pleasantly was sweet Rosalind played by Laura Keene, 'twas all that might be wished, save in one part; – that she was not equal to. I mean the scene of Rosalind's swooning and assuming it to be 'counterfeit' – 'counterfeit, I assure you!' The exquisite womanly tenderness, so struggled against, was not there" (213).[pages:166, 174, 213]
Gunn states, "I see 'Arthur Alleyne' and 'Mrs Alleyne' in the newspaper announcement of the approaching opening of Laura Keene's newly built theatre" (103).
Gunn describes his evening at Laura Keene's new theatre: "Evening to Laura Keene's new theatre, there seeing a most unmitigatedly trashy and successful piece hight Young Mark Lennon's cockney farce the 'School for Tigers' was played afterwards, and Lotty appeared in it" (110-111).
Gunn goes with Bellew and Dillon to Laura Keene's theatre: "Bellew came in the afternoon, wants me to draw for him. Dillon came in the evening. Together to Laura Keene's theatre where we found Hart, Kelly and another. Poor house, trashy pieces. Met 'Doesticks' and another Tribune man subsequently. All at 'the Bank' after the play was over" (197).[pages:103, 110-111, 197]
Gunn mentions Laura Keene's Theatre: "Wrote a note to Wilbour & Underhill, latter came over, had talk with Roberts, undertook the job of reporting, phonographically, the piece 'Our American Cousin' which has been played for over so many weeks at Laura Keene's. Roberts proposes printing it in next 'Constellation.' (It is a kink of Benjamin's – and speaking editorially, a 'smart' one)"(79-80).
Gunn describes Underhill and a friend's trip to Laura Keene's gallery: "They yesternight went to the gallery of Laura Keene's, and had jotted down half of the play when Lentze, Laura's 'fancy man' came and stopped 'em. All the actors were on the qui vive, too. Underhill now proposes to complete the thing by taking a private box, filling in the front of it with three women, while he and his phonographic chum squat behind during the latter half of the piece, scoring down the remainder. Wants to see Roberts about it, that he may be assured about money" (84).[pages:79-80, 84]
Gunn guesses that Lotty was playing in Laura Keene's group: "I think Lotty was in Philadelphia or Baltimore or Washington, probably playing in Laura Keene's troupe which she quitted on the approach of maternity to return to New York to her mother's house" (19).
Laura Keene is mentioned when Gunn describes the way Mrs. D speaks of Alleyne: "Mrs D speaks of Alleyne very unfavorably, says he's a fifth-rate actor, a loafer, a worthless article generally. Lotty left the stage in consequence of her getting into rows first with old Wallack, then with Laura Keene. She was late at rehearsal in the first place and restive under reproof. When the 'Veteran' objected she 'sauced back.' Indeed she has a proclivity for rows – had one at Westfarms with some fellow boarder whose side the landlady espoused – which landlady Lotty owed $20 for a months board, as she told me" (24).[pages:19, 24]
Gunn says he and Haney went to Laura Keene's theatre: "He [Haney] showed very kind, would have me out to the theatre – Laura Keene's – where we saw Bourcicault's 'Colleen Bawn' and went to the 'Optimus' afterwards" (167).
Gunn describes his talk with one of Laura Keene's actors: "Talk over ale with two actors, one of them Burnett, stout man, now of Laura Keene's – he played in the 'Colleen Bawn'" (224).[pages:167, 224]
Laura Keene is mentioned when Gunn is descrbing a brawl between O'Brien and House, "He [O'Brien] had just got a $10 check in part payment for the "Tycoon" burlesque at Laura Keene's written or adopted by him in conjunction with Rosenberg. Of course his self esteem was swollen by the possession of money and he felt a truly Irish desire to distinguish himself before the crowd."[pages:81]
Gunn and Damoreau go to the theatre, "To Laura Keene's theatre together, seeing a spectacular burlesque of the absurdest sort. The house was crowded and we stood during the two acts, at the third I was recognized [sic] by Welden and beckoned to a seat between him and Smith, of the Times. Frank Leslie was among the audience."[pages:134]
Gunn discusses meeting Nicholson and F. Wood, learning that F. Wood and G. Arnold have been working on a dramatic piece for Laura Keene, "Met Nicholson and F. Wood at street-corner; the latter said he and G. Arnold had been at work on a dramatic piece "ordered" by Laura Keene.[pages:231]
Laura Keene's Theatre is used as a reference point in a newspaper clipping: "THE ORIENTAL SALOON is next to Laura Keene's Theatre, and indicated to the public by a painting in oil, representing a gigantic odalisque, in company with sundry impossible palm trees, over the entrance, together with posters, lamps and transparencies, setting forth the names of performers in big letters."[pages:133]
Gunn describes Foster's infatuation with Mrs. Gladstone, comparing it to a previous passion for Laura Keene: "Saw Foster in the boxes, contemplating the charming legs of Mrs Gladstone, evidently in a state of sentimental infatuation. He wrote a sonnet to her which was published in last Sunday's Era; buys expensive bouquets daily and is otherwise making an ass of himself. I remember him getting up a similar passion for Laura Keene. A sentimental-sensual, approbative- affected humbug is Foster, altogether, and I don't entirely believe in his sickness – which keeps him away from his regiment, allowing him to loaf all day about the St Charles and go to the theatre every night."[pages:97]
The Olympic Theater was the home of Laura Keene's Varieties(46).
Laura Keene was known to possess the coolest head in the theater industry. When President Abraham Lincoln was fatally shot during a show at her theater, Keene calmly "moved to the front of the stage [and] asked for a doctor." While Mrs. Lincoln was hysterical, Keene "cradled the President's head as the physicians diagnosed the wound" (115).[pages:28, 44, 46, 61, 107, 115]
Edward G. P. Wilkins' first dramatic effort, My Wife's Mirror was performed at Laura Keene's Varieties in 1856. Keene played the part of Mrs. Racket in the production, which ran for two weeks straight (52-53). Wilkins' second work, Young New York opened in 1856 at Keene's new theater, where she once again played the female lead (53). On February 21, 1857, Keene gave a benefit for Wilkins by reprising her earlier roles in his works. She also starred in his next work, The Siam Light Guard (55).
Mentions Keenes professional relationship with Edward Wilkins, and describes why they parted ways (56-58).
Wilkins described Keene's portrayal of Camille as "a nicely built, beautifully fitted up yacht, gliding among pleasant scenes, giving you glimpses of Etruscan vales and Claude Lorraine landscapes, throwing vivid color over all around" (62).[pages:30, 47, 52, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61-62]
O'Brien considers alerting Miss Keene about the negative effects long runs of plays have on dramatic critics (3).[pages:3]
O'Brien refers to her production of A Midsummer Night's Dream as a "hazardous experiment" (3).[pages:3]
Laura Keene's Theatre is one of the two theaters producing Tom Taylor plays (3).[pages:3]
Keene attempted to prevent a production of Our American Cousin in the 1865-66 season. She created a lot of newspaper controversy between herself and J.S. Clarke, who was producing and acting in the show for his New York debut. Keene mades insinuations about Clarke as brother-in-law of John Wilkes Booth (which he was), but the court sided with Clarke (18).
Odell makes mention of the members of Keene's company in their later careers. Odell also states that the melodrama Hunted Down is "associated chiefly with our recollections of the last days of Laura Keene" (664).[pages:18,140,141,664]
Appeared in plays at Wallack's where she spent a year or more as the company's lead actress and helped to raise its standards (Odell reprints reviews on p.215).
Odell claims that Keene was "badly adivised" to leave Wallacks in 1854 to take charge of a Baltimore theater. She did not inform the manager of Wallacks that she was leaving before a show. Keene's biographer John Creahan calls this "a self-regarded ill-advised move." After Baltimore, Keene traveled to California and Australia and then took a long absence from a stage.
Odell reports that there was ill-feeling between Keene and Burton because of the lack of written contracts with actors. This falling-out is described as having "ugly results in the spring," and would later lure key actors away from Burton's for Laura Keene's Varieties.
Odell discusses Laura Keene's Varieties in the Metropolitan Theater (Broadway opposite Bond St.) and her problems with the vandalization/destruction of scenery on opening night. Keene had a contribution of $2000 thrown onstage in a basket of flowers after a benefit of her on June 21st 1855 or 1856.
Keene won over the public although she had opposition from other managers in town. She lost her first theater on a "technical quibble": when she leased the thater she took it for 1 year at $400/week with the privilege of a renewal for 4 years from Sept. 1856 if she gave notice on the first of May. Keene did not give notice on that day because she still owed rent. She gave the money to the owners late and was supposed to have had the lease secured, but Burton bought the building and took a lease on the theater himself, causing her to end her season June 21, 1856.
Keene made plans for a new theater, built by John Trimble and located at 622 and 624 Broadway. Laura Keene's Theatre opened Nov. 18, 1856. Odell reprints the description of new theater from the Herald. Keene's new theater was not immediately successful.[pages:209,214 (ill.), 215, 218,271,272,290,298,295, 435, 444 (ill), 445,450- 451,452, 455-456, 519, 534,540-542 (ill), 585]
The early management notes for Wallack's 1857-58 season prohibits her company from performing at that theater (19). Odell describes Keene's management as "one of the bright chapters in the history of our drama." Her production of The Sea of Ice is thought to be the turning point in her fortune.
Keeene read at a "panorama" for Charles Gaylor in 1858.
She had a "lucky hit" with Our American Cousin, which would become a tradmark show for the company and her lead actors. This show set new standards for New York theater and theatrical success. Odell claims Keene liked to put on "spectacular extravaganza" and did it very well. Keene served injunctions against Chanfrau for impinging on her property with a performance of Our American Cousin.
In the 1860-1861 season, Laura Keene's theater is the only one on Broadway relying on its own company for actors. At the beginning of the war it was the the only regular theater open by the summer of 1861; during this time the music halls did well.
The 1862-1863 season marked the beginning of the end of Keene's New York success. Keene seems to have distanced herself from New York after losing her theater.[pages:19,30,33-34,35,39,97,117,126-127, 140, 145,210,213,217-219,224(ill),231,263,309-313,385,395,469-471, 473-474,515,532,533,579,617,619,636,656,703]
Personne reports that Keene has "renewed" the "Ledger style advertising" she used for Our American Cousin to promote Jeannie Deans (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that Bourcicault's take on Sir Walter Scott is a success at Keene's (3).[pages:3]
Personne remarks that Keene should make a "splendid" Becky Sharp in Bourcicault's Vanity Fair (3).[pages:3]
Personne notes in a footnote that Mr. Bourcicault is the temporary manager of Laura Keene's Theatre. Personne reports that Keene's theater and Niblo's are currently doing the most business (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions that Keene's company is doing a revival of The Sea of Ice (2).[pages:2]
Her theater has produced three new farces (2).[pages:2]
The column notes that theater critics in New York are happy that there is more than Keene's Our American Cousin to talk about. Personne discusses the 124th night of Our American Cousin and Keene's ligitious nature, remarking that she "has had only four lawsuits since last week" (2).[pages:2]
Personne writes that Wallack and Keene "have between them arranged some very curious amusements for the country managers" (3). Personne mentions that Keene intends to copyright her version of A Midsummer Night's Dream (3). Personne discusses rumors of Keene's retirement from the New York stage and the negative consequences that would result if Keene did retire (3).[pages:3]
Refers to her as "Laura B.S. Keene" (3).[pages:3]
Personne claims that Keene brought "the first sincere affection" to Burton's. Personne notes, however, that Burton has taken over for Keene (2).[pages:2]
Personne reports that Keene's theater will close for the summer on May 12. There will be a benefit for her that evening (3). Personne mentions that she is still starring in The Colleen Bawn (3).[pages:3]
Personne notes that Keene attempted a production of a translation of the Dumas play currently at the French Theatre. Personne also mentions that Keene attempted to produce The Dead Heart, which has been announced at the Old Bowery (3). Personne reports that Jeanie Deans has made over $10,000 profit (3). Personne reviews Bourcicault's Vanity Fair at Laura Keene's (3).[pages:3]
Personne reviews The World and the Stage at her theater (2).[pages:2]
Personne notes that Keene became ill fifteen minutes before her performance in L.G. Spanker at the Benefit and had to be replaced by Mrs. Hoey (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that her Effie Deans continues to run indefinitely (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions that the most recent "suffering" of Pater Patrice was at the hands of Laura Keene in a series of tableaux the past Monday evening in Washington (2). Personne also refers to Keene's suit against Purdy at the National over Our American Cousin (2).[pages:2]
Reports Keene's recovery from her "illness" and appearance in The Colleen Bawn (2).[pages:2]
Personne reports that there will be a benefit for Mark Smith at Laura Keene's Theatre that evening. Personne also reports that she has "reengaged" Jefferson (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions that Nine Points of the Law has been playing with The House or the Home at Keene's for the past week (2).[pages:2]
Personne discusses the actresses who are performing at Laura Keene's for the Summer season (3).[pages:3]
Personne "rejoices" that Our American Cousin has been removed from the bill at Laura Keene's Theatre. Keene is also mentioned in Personne's review of her company's performance of She Stoops to Conquer (2). Personne reports that the French Theatre is producing a French version of one of Keene's plays. Personne reports that Keene plays to "injunc" in response (3).[pages:2,3]
Personne predicts that Laura Keene's company will suffer most in the next season due to a series of "secessions" by her actors (3).[pages:3]
Personne reviews her performance in The Wife's Secret at the old Park Pit (2).[pages:2]
Personne writes that Laura Keene is expected to produce the "melo-drama" The Dead Heart (3).[pages:3]
Personne discusses Keene's "affection" for Tom Taylor. Personne reviews her performance in The House; or, The Home (2).[pages:2]
The letter from Nancy Scudder discusses Personne's criticism of Laura Keene (3). Keene is also mentioned in "Extracts" (3). Personne reports that Jeanie Deans is still a hit at Keene's and will probably run until the spring (3).[pages:3]
Personne writes that Wallack's and Laura Keene's Theatres have closed "unusually prosperous" seasons (2).[pages:2]
Personne discusses her production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that there will be a benefit for Sothern that includes Our American Cousin at her theater (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions the current and upcoming productions at Laura Keene's Theatre (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that Keene has announced a revival of A Midsummer Night's Dream that was delayed due to the popularity of The Sea of Ice (3).[pages:2,3]
Personne mentions that Laura Keene has announced that she will produce A Midsummer Night's Dream this week. She is also listed as slated to play the role of "Puck" (2).[pages:2]
Personne refers to Keene's legal conflict with Mr. George Jordan. Personne also reports that the production of Bourcicault's new version of The Heart of Mid-Lothian has been announced for Monday (3).[pages:3]
A Midsummer Night's Dream is still playing nightly at Laura Keene's to large houses (2).[pages:2]
Personne reports that the Misses Gougenheim have produced a burlesque of Cinderella at Laura Keene's Theatre (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions that Laura Keene has produced The Road to Ruin and "rendered criticism unnecessary by doing it in the bills beforehand." It appears that the play underperformed at the box office (2).[pages:2]
Personne mentions that the success of Our American Cousin has waned in the past week with competition from the opera at Burton's and the French Theatre (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that Laura Keene has hired an English translator to do the Demi-Monde for her (3).[pages:3]
Miss Laura Keene is listed as playing the role of the Venus de Garneri in the last scene of the sketch of The Dark Hour Before the Dawn. Personne also notes that Keene had produced a play by Falconer (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that he has refused to see the rivival of Laura Keene's A Midsummer Night's Dream (2).[pages:2]
Keene's company has recently put on A Midsummer Night's Dream (2).[pages:2]
Personne notes that the "perverse public" keeps going to see The World and the Stage at Keene's (2).[pages:2]
Personne reports that Sothern is suing Keene for "breach of contract." Personne also reports that The Wife's Secret is still playing at her theater (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that John Lutz claimed to have received no pay for his services as Treasurer at Keene's theater. Personne claims that both Heron and Keene are mistaken for being artists because they are "clever" and possess "stage tact" (3).[pages:3]
Personne discusses the "failures" of Keene's A Midsummer Night's Dream (3).[pages:3]
Personne does a very brief review of Election at Laura Keene's (2).[pages:2]
Personne writes that her A Midsummer Night's Dream is still a success (2).[pages:2]
Personne reports that Keene has announced her "engagement" of Bourcicault and Agnes Robertson. Personne notes that Keene has advertised for Bourcicault's adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's novel The Heart of the Mid-Lothian. Personne finds it humorous that Keene's advertisement implies that the deceased Scott will be supervising the production. Personne also disliked Distant Relations at Keene's Theatre. The major problem with the play seems to be the "vexed political questions" it deals with, but he also declares that the company is "wretched" (3).[pages:3]
Personne discusses Keene's "resources" and her production of The Heart of Mid-Lothian. Personne also reviews her performance in Bourcicault's Jeanie Deans (3).[pages:3]
Personne notes that Our American Cousin remains popular at Miss Keene's and Burton's (2). Personne also notes that another actress recently played her role during a performance of Our American Cousin and the audience found Miss Marian Macarthy quite satisfactory (3).[pages:2,3]
Quelqu'un reports that she is back in town, assembling her company, and is planning to open her season with a new Tom Taylor play (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un announces the Seven Diablolical Sisters at Laura Keene's Theatre and lists Laura Keene as playing the role of "Diavoline" (3). Laura Keene's Theatre is also mentioned in the article on Edwin Booth following the Feuilleton (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un claims that this week's visit to Laura Keene's Theatre to see Aileen Aroon, his second, confirms his opinion of the play (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un reports that Jefferson has been very successful in his run as manager of Laura Keene's Theatre (3).[pages:3]
Describes Keene's production of Monkey Boy as being done for "vulgar, pecuniary" interests instead of Barnum's "moral" interests. Mentions that her opening play, The Monkey Boy has recently been criticized for immorality. Quelqu'un reviews the play and her performance (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un reports that there was a large turnout at Laura Keene's Theatre for the production of de Walden's Aileen Aroon, or the Lady of Glanmire. Quelqu'un reviews her performance in the play (2).[pages:2]
Quelqu'un claims he hasn't seen anything theatrical during the week except The Hypochondriac at Laura Keene's and one act of Miss Cushman's Romeo at the Winter Garden. He claims to prefer the Hypochondriac, despite popular opinion (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un reprints the text of one of her "cards" (3). He also says that "if there is one person connected with the New York stage who stands higher in my estimation than another, whether as an actor or as a manager, it is Laura Keene, who by her enterprise, her liberality, her professional talent, and her rare attention to details, is entitled . . . to your highest commendation" (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un claims that anyone who doesn't believe "strong dramatic effect" can be produced without overacting should go see Keene in Aileen Aroon. He discusses her performance in detail (3).[pages:3]
Reports that Keene has sent out a bulletin announcing her return in early August and her theater's reopening in September (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un mentions that Laura Keene's Theatre is now under Jefferson's direction and will soon produce O'Brien's Tycoon, or Young America in Japan (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un explains why he has not been to Laura Keene's Theatre to see Dion Bourcicault's Colleen Bawn. Quelqu'un reprints Bourcicault's letters about the play addressed to Laura Keene and to the public (3).[pages:3]
Whitman refers to an actress named "Mrs. Kean," which may or may not be Laura Keene.
Among Keene's threatrical successes is her production of "The Seven Sisters" which ran for 169 nights beginning on Oct. 26, 1860.[pages:500(ill.)]
In 1856, Laura Keene produced and acted in Wilkins's "Young New York." George Jordan, Charles Wheatleigh, and Tom Johnston, "three of the most expert comedians that have adorned the theatre in our time" were also members of the cast (87-88).[pages:87-88]
In the Spring of 1865 she chanced to be acting at Ford's Theatre, Washington, and on the night of the fatal April 14, when President Lincoln was assassinated in that house, she was on the stage, as Florence Trenchard, in "Our American Cousin."--standing so close to the wing, on the prompt-side, that the assassin, as he rushed toward the stage-door, brushed against her in passing. From the effect of the shock that she received, on that terrible night, it was said by her relatives that she never entirely recovered.[pages:54]
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015