Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Memorabilia: Dorothy Dorne

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.

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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.

Find out more about the Burlesque Hall of Fame and its collection.


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