Digital Commonwealth

Finding Aid to the Ralph W. Judd Collection on Cross-Dressing in the Performing Arts

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Finding Aid to the Ralph W. Judd Collection on Cross-Dressing in the Performing Arts
The collection consists of materials collected by Ralph Judd relating to the history of cross-dressing in the performing arts. The collection is focused on popular music and vaudeville from the 1890s through the 1930s, and on film and television: it contains few materials on musical theater, non-musical theater, ballet, opera, or contemporary popular music. The materials consist primarily of sheet music, 1848-1988 (bulk circa 1895-1940), and studio publicity stills of motion pictures, 1900-1996, and of television productions, circa 1950-2000, that depict men and women dressed in attire considered appropriate to the opposite gender. The sheet music also includes a substantial number of items whose covers do not depict cross-dressing, but which (1) were performed by known homosexuals, (2) have titles with a “gay” connotation according to present GLBT and mainstream sensibilities; (4) have front pages that depict men or women in positions that could be construed as “gay” or “lesbian” according to current sensibilities; (5) are considered “camp” according to current sensibilities, and (6) celebrate patriotic themes. The collection includes a separate series of sheet music and photographs relating to Julian Eltinge, perhaps the greatest female impersonator of the 20th century, and a small album of photographs and postcards relating to other musical theater and vaudeville stars of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection also contains a series of Research Files, arranged in a number of sub-series and consisting largely of studio stills, supplemented by press kits and other publicity materials, programs, reviews, photocopies, and clippings from newspapers and the popular press. The People sub-series includes information on several prominent female impersonators, such as Jim Bailey and Charles Pierce. The significance to cross-dressing of a substantial portion of the materials, in particular in the Motion Pictures sub-series, is not readily apparent from the documents at hand. The collection includes a number of booklets on cross-dressing published by Judd; copies of his regular columns published in the cross-dressing press; and final drafts of several unpublished works on cross-dressing in motion pictures and in television. The collection also contains small number of periodicals published by the cross-dressing community; over 100 posters of motion pictures and theatrical performances that contain cross-dressing; and the remainder of Judd’s collection (originally numbering over 183 items) of VHS videos of motion pictures that depict cross-dressing.
ONE Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Finding Aids
ONE Archives at the USC Libraries
Collection (local):
ONE Archives Finding Aids
Ralph Judd
Julian Eltinge
Jim Bailey
Charles Pierce
Karyl Norman
Female impersonators
Male impersonators
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