Last winter I spent some time going through paper archives in the Burlesque Hall of Fame collection in Las Vegas, with the help of Laura Herbert and Brian Newman. I was particularly interested in the sheet music and the notations on it. I intend to share more about the sheet music project later, but I got to see something so unexpected and charming and lovely that I want to share it with you. It’s a collection of scrapbooks from an early 20th-century burlesque and cabaret performer who went by various names, among them Dorothy Dorne. I spent hours going through them, taken to another world, amused and enchanted by the way her scrapbooks brought her to life, and took a few snaps. At the time I was too busy dealing with the publication of my book and lost track of all the work I had in mind for those archives, but I did take some pictures of this gorgeous find and want to give you a glimpse. Be sure to click on them to view them larger and read some of the texts.
This is part of our heritage as fans, as performers, and as women. No collection is guaranteed a museum, as we saw when Debbie Reynolds was unable to find a home for her collection of Hollywood memorabilia . But the Burlesque Hall of Fame retains its space in Vegas and this stored collection for lovers of this art form and the eras in which it flourished. I love watching the pageant and the performers over the course of the weekend, but these archives are what strikes me to the heart. I hope to see a great deal more, and hope to share more with you. –Jo Weldon, Daily Burlesque 08.02.11