Series I, Manager's Reports (1903-1923), consists of 24 ledger books into which have been pasted 6056 typescript reports of weekly programs written by and circulated among circuit theater managers. To produce an adequate number of copies, a flimsy (tissue) paper was used; some reports are ribbon copies, others carbon copies; many run two or three pages (or portions of pages). The multi-page reports have had the last page pasted along the top edge and placed low on the ledger page; the next-to-last page is then placed higher on the page, etc. Thus the top sheet can be read and lifted to expose the second sheet, the second sheet lifted to expose the third, etc. David Monod has kindly provided 12-megapixel digital photographs of two typical pages: page 1; page 2; the report text is easily read by zooming in. The reports review acts (often noting items that were censored), suggestions as to where acts should be placed on the bill, running time, and even whether the act was in one or required full use of the stage. Headline acts usually received less attention in the manager's reports than did others. The Reports are not indexed.
The 64 volumes of Series II, Clipping Books collect all of the publicity materials generated by a single Providence, Rhode Island theater between 1894 and 1941. Keith's Opera House opened in the fall of 1894; it was renamed Keith's New Theatre in 1900 (and later called simply "Keith's Theatre"); renamed the E. F. Albee Theatre in 1919; and again renamed, the RKO Albee Theatre, in 1929. The series is essentially complete, with copies of programs, clippings, and a range of other publicity ephemera documenting Keith's vaudeville and Edward F. Albee's Stock Company pasted into ledger books in chronological order. Photographs of two pages [page 1; page 2] give an impression of the content and organization. Related to the ledger books are eight notebooks recording the names of performers booked each season 1905-1910.
Series III contains shorter runs of 27 similar scrapbooks for other Providence theaters (the Empire; Nickel; Nickel and Bijou; and Victory) as well as nine for Pawtucket theaters (Keith's, Music Hall and Scenic; Bijou; Bijou and Star) and six for the Bijou Theatre in Woonsocket, Rhode Island). Together, the Clipping Books contain some 26,470 pages. Boxes 2 and 3 of Series VI (Financial Records) contain related materials for some of these theaters.
Series IV contains another 10 scrapbooks, less closely related to specific theaters, one of which contains caricatures of performers, 1908-1911, clipped from a variety of sources. None of the Clipping Books have been indexed.
Series VI, Financial Records, includes cash books (1918-1941), treasurer's statements, salary lists, and other financial records for several Rhode Island theaters and related corporate entities.
Series VII, Subject Files, consists of a series of conventional file folders containing varied materials, the bulk date after 1940 and largely document operations of the RKO Albee Theatre under the management of George E. French, by this time exclusively showing films. Some of the files, such as the RKO Theatre Service Manuals that lay out job and performance expectations for theater employees from barkers and walkmen to ushers, speak to the management of theaters in interesting ways. Miscellaneous materials such as architectural dryawings and posters round out this part of the collection. A number of OVERSIZE items are stored in Map case 2: 14.