1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Fay Theatre Records

 Rhode Island motion picture theaters.

 Records, 1928-1971

 Size: 2.5 lin. ft. (14 flat boxes)

 Catalog number: MSS 409

 Processed by: Nat Shipton, 1971; and Rick Stattler, July 1997

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Edward M. Fay (3/14/1875-2/12/1964) spent his life involved with the entertainment industry, as violinist, conductor, vaudeville impresario, poet, and motion picture theater owner. He owned at least six different theaters between 1928 and 1971, and was called by the Providence Journal the "dean of Rhode Island entertainment" (April 22, 1947).  He was the son of James T. and Mary Jane (Stuart) Fay and he married Katherine A. Lahiff in 1913.

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Scope and content:

            This bulk of this collection consists of payrolls, booking information and other business records for the motion picture theaters Fay owned, including the Carleton, Capitol, Modern, Majestic, Fays and Rialto Theaters. Also included are a few news clippings and scrapbooks concerning Fay's career.

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            The collection was donated in 1971 as a gift of the Karr family. The contents of box 1a were supposedly donated by Mrs. Dorothy Gould in 1988, but may have actually arrived with the 1971 accession.

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Processing note:

            The collection was originally processed in 1971. It was flat-filed, in archival folders and non-archival blue boxes. It was separated into at least seven smaller collections, including all of the above-mentioned theaters, as well as one labeled "Theaters - Bookings, 1966-1969". Other collections bearing the same accession date may be found later.

            These papers may have originally contained some records of the Strand Theatre as well, which have been reprocessed with a later, and much larger, accession as MSS 152, the Strand Theatre Records.

            In 1995, these collections were brought together, and a finding aid written. Some consolidation of boxes was done, but no serious reprocessing. In 1997, while processing the apparently unrelated papers of sportscaster Warren Walden, two additional scrapbooks and a folder of loose clippings were found relating exclusively to Fay and his theaters. These scrapbooks may have been owned by Walden, or they may have been accidentally filed with his papers at the library.

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Box 1.

   Edward M. Fay - Clippings, 1947

   Theatre Summaries, 1942, 1945

   Fays Theatre (Rochester, N.Y.) - Payroll, 1929-1930

   Fays Theatre (Providence) - Payroll, 1936-1938; Manager's reports, 1942-1949

Box 1a.

   Scrapbook, "Fays - Majestic - Rialto Theatres: Extra publicity", 1932-1937

   Scrapbook, "Fay's Theatre: A Few Memories", 1940-1951

            Dedicated "to Emmett Kelly from the Albee Historian, March 1969"

   Folder of loose clippings, 1924-1948

            including 2 programs of Providence Opera House, 1931 and undated.

            1931 program includes a brief history of the Opera House

Box 2. Rialto Theatre - Payroll, 1934-1935

             Modern Theatre - Payroll, 1928-1929

             Carleton Theatre - Payroll, 1937-1945

Box 3. Capitol Theatre - Payroll, 1929-1930

Box 4. Majestic Theatre - Box Office, 1958

Box 5. Majestic Theatre - Box Office, 1959

Box 6. Majestic Theatre - Box Office, 1960

Box 7. Majestic Theatre - Box Office, 1961

Box 8. Majestic Theatre - Box Office, 1962; Income, 1963

Box 9. Majestic Theatre - Box Office, 1964

Box 10. Majestic Theatre - Income, 1965-1968; Cash, 1969

Box 11. Majestic Theatre - Payroll, 1961-1963; Time books, 1963-1970

Box 12. Majestic Theatre       - Accidents and claims, 1963-1967

                                                - Letters and notices, 1951-1970

                                                - Concessions, 1959-1971

                                                - Miscellaneous

Box 13. Majestic Theatre - Bookings, 1966-1969 (Formerly labeled "Theatre".)

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Capitol Theatre

Carleton Theatre

Fay, Edward M. (1874-1971)

Majestic Theatre

Modern Theatre

Moving Picture Theaters

Providence, R.I. - Theaters

Providence Opera House

Rialto Theatre


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