Elsie Janis (Born Delaware, Ohio 1-16-1889 – Died Beverly Hills, California 2-26-1956) was an American vaudevillian, Broadway superstar and World War I heroine who was once one of the most famous women in show business. While a little child she showed a gift for mimicry which was encouraged by her divorced mother Jennie, who was the ultimate stage mother.
Blanche Ring (Boston, April 24, 1871 – Hollywood, January 13, 1961) was an early star of vaudeville and one of the most important early stars of Broadway musicals. When her superstar career dimmed in the 1920s she took on character roles in Hollywood movies.
Emma Carus (March 18, 1879 Berlin, Germany - November 18, 1927, Venice, California) was the daughter of an opera singer and a classical music concert manager, although very little is certain about her early life. As a child in Berlin, she had voice training and remained with her family for some years, no doubt learning to speak German and speaking English with a slight accent. The family emigrated to America probably due to difficulty getting work and Emma began working in a hotel where she also sang. Songwriter Monroe H.
What Ziegfeld did for Anna Held, the Shubert Brothers did five years later for Gaby Deslys. They made her famous in America before she first arrived from Paris and set foot on an American stage. Gaby Deslys was a willing partner in her exploitation.
Annette Hanshaw (Manhattan, October 18, 1901 – Manhattan, March 13, 1985) was born Catherine Annette Hanshaw. A number of her family members were in vaudeville and she was brought up to love the entertainment business although she studied art and design and wanted to be an artist and portrait painter. She was an exceptionally beautiful girl and had a lovely singing voice that came across wonderfully clearly over the radio and on records at the local stations she would sing for.
Dolly Connolly (born Chicago December 16, 1888 – died New York November 30, 1965) was perhaps the most beautiful of the famous ragtime singers and had marked out a steady career for herself in vaudeville when she met up and coming composer and accompanist Percy Wenrich, a handsome but rather shy and nerdy fellow who became a pop music genius.
Martha Meldania Boswell (1905 - 1958), Constance (Connee) Foore Boswell (1907 - 1976) and Helvetia George Boswell (1911 - 1988) were musicians and music-loving amateurs who performed as a sister act for friends in New Orleans. The family was from Kansas City but moved early on to Louisiana. After winning an amateur contest they were picked up by WSMB radio in New Orleans, then on radio in Los Angeles in 1929 and 1930 and finally with NBC in New York on a program called Pleasure Hour.
Ukrainian born Sophie Tucker (1887-1966, real name Sonya Kalish) was perhaps the greatest female star in vaudeville and she remained a household word for more than 50 years due to her remarkable ability to continually re-invent herself and make herself relevant and hip to several generations of audiences.
If Al Jolson was the king of vaudeville then Sophie Tucker (born Sonya Kalish, January 13, 1887 – February 9, 1966) was the reigning queen with a career that spanned six decades. The university collection contains a scarf belonging to Sophie, one of many she would give out as gifts to serious fans and admirers. There is also an extensive sheet music collection, for Sophie probably appears on more sheet music than any other female performer of the 1910s and 1920s, her golden era.
Jill Corey began her life as Norma Jean Esperanza, youngest of five children in the tiny coal-mining town of Avonmore, Pennsylvania, the youngest of five children.