The University of Arizona has a considerable collection of Fred Astaire sheet music from his earliest days partnering with sister Adele Astaire through his golden period with RKO Pictures.
This series comprises five items related to modern dance, most including musical scores.
Vaudeville produced every kind of dancer from the Classical exoticism of Isadora Duncan to the waltz clogging of Pat Rooney to the bouncy tapping of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.
Julia Rooney (1887–1990) has left her family scrapbook to the American Vaudeville Museum and her famous family connections ensure that her gift, now in the University of Arizona collection, is virtually a who was who of vaudeville.
Joe “Frisco” Rooney, was born as Louis Joseph in Milan, Illinois in 1889, and died in Woodland Hills, California in 1958.
Of all the forgotten geniuses of vaudeville, Joe Cook (born Joseph Lopez in Evansville, Indiana 1890 - died New York State, May 15, 1959) is arguably the greatest.
Gilda Gray (October 24, 1901 – December 22, 1959) was a major star as an actress, dancer and flashy personality in the 1920s. Extraordinarily beautiful and famous for her legs, she became one of the symbols of the liberated woman in the flapper era, along with the likes of Clara Bow, an image she enhanced by frequently appearing in exotic roles and wearing next to nothing. Her foreign accent also added to the mystery.
Pearl Hoff's family came to Long Beach from Toronto. She first performed at age five as "Lil" Miss Long Beach.
Rose "Rosie" Dolly (October 25, 1892 – February 1, 1970) and Jenny Dolly (October 25, 1892 – June 1, 1941) and Janka (later known as Yansci or Jenny) Deutsch were twins born on October 25, 1892, in Balassagyarmat, Hungary. Their family came to America in 1905 and they both began to study dance, becoming prolific at tandem dancing, that is, moving simultaneously.
Fred and Ginger are the screen’s most famous dancing partners, yet each had careers beforehand on the stage. Fred Austerlitz (1899-1987) of Omaha, Nebraska partnered with sister Adele (initially the more famous of the two) in vaudeville and on the stage in musicals such as, The Band Wagon, before signing with RKO. Fred was not so great as a solo dancer despite popular belief. Rather it was his grace in partnered dancing that made him a world-wide phenomenon.