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Historical Note   The history of this collection is not entirely recorded. It is said to have been discovered in the basement of The RKO Albee Theatre, Westminster Street, Providence, Rhode Island in the 1970s when this theater was being demolished. Richard Rand, a fire underwriter, found the records, took an interest in and acquired title to them either from the theater owners or the company tearing down the building. He moved them to a nearby warehouse. Some years later, Robert C. Allen, then a graduate student in The University of Iowa Speech and Dramatic Arts Department researching his dissertation on the relationship between vaudeville and film 1896-1915, learned of the records from a friend, sought out Rand while visiting Boston, and examined the records. Allen recalls that Rand planned to offer them piecemeal at auction but agreed to consider an offer from a library. On his return to Iowa City, Allen brought the collection to the attention of Frank Hanlin, then head of collection development in the Libraries. Hanlin, in turn, arranged to acquire the records in 1976. Acquisition records for purchased materials are generally destroyed after ten years, and that seems to have been the case here; we are not presently able to locate documentation for the purchase. Researchers owe Rand a generous round of thanks for preserving the records, however, and Allen and Hanlin a similar round for bringing them into the Libraries. We in turn thank Fred McLennan and Robert Allen for the information in this note.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Keith/Albee Collection

Identifier: MsC0356

Vaudeville, theater, and movie business. Clipping books, managers' report books, scrapbooks, business records, cash books, etc.

Dates: 1890-1952