Archive of Early Female Impersonator Julian Eltinge Theater Ephemera, 1910-1919


Small archive of ephemera on early female impersonator, Julian Eltinge. 1910-1919. Includes 2 songbooks and one theater playbill with advertisements. Measure 10" x 14" to 5" x 7" inches. 39 pages. The songbooks are for The Fascinating Widow, one of Eltinge's most famous roles, and Friends, a later play, and the theater booklet advertises for The Fascinating Widow at the Colonial Theater in Chicago, 1910. Julian Eltinge was an American stage and film actor best known for his work as a female impersonator, first debuting in this role on Broadway in 1904. Both songbook soft covers show separate black and white photos of Eltinge in female makeup and dress with smaller black and white photos of Eltinge out of costume as a man. For viewers at the time, the contrast would have been especially startling. Although Eltinge was a cross dressing for comic effect, pop culture and comedy, in particular, often pave the way for broader inclusion of underrepresented groups. For the trans community living in forced secrecy during the time, Eltinge's representation of gender queer characters would have been profound. After a vaudeville tour through Europe and across the United States, Eltinge appeared in a series of musical comedies written specifically for him including The Fascinating Widow which opened in 1910. The Fascinating Widow songbook includes the title song which opens, "Every place that I go, every bachelor beau, Pays me the greatest attention." Eltinge became so popular he was given the nickname "Mr. Lillian Russell" after the great beauty and musical comedy star. The theater playbill has an attractive cover colorfully illustrated with formally dressed theater goers gathering before a play. The playbill includes the show program for The Fascinating Widow, "A.H. Woods, Presents Julian Eltinge in the somewhat different comedy with music The Fascinating Widow in three acts..." Eltinge went on to Hollywood where he starred in feature films, broadening his audience and the scope of his influence. Some tears to back cover of playbill and small tear to corner of Friends songbook front cover. Overall still in very good condition. A small archive of an early twentieth century queer pop cultural icon.

Item #18006

Price: $450.00