Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: vaudeville

Monday, December 23, 1912

This is so sweet! The University students who were barred from the Saintz club dance—because they brought chorus girls as dates—got together their own impromptu dance in College Hall, with the four “Mother Goose” girls as guests of honor. “It was stated today that the young women belong to excellent families and that one’s mother is chaperoning the four while on the tour. Miss Nora Busey of this city is acquainted with them and had them for her guests on an automobile ride whie [sic] the company was here.”

From Rhinebeck, New York, comes the headline “RICH MEN HEAR SUFFRAGISTS.” Vincent Astor, Frederick Vanderbilt, Mrs. Vanderbilt, and Miss Huntington came upon the five suffragettes who are hiking to Albany, as the women were addressing a crowd of 300 in front of the hotel. “The five women have now covered 98 miles of their journey. All are in good spirits.”

And goodness me, there are female highwaymen (highwaywomen?) in Boston!


Saturday, December 21, 1912

Four University students brought show girls as dates to the Saintz dance in Elks’ hall and were asked to leave. When it became known that the girls were from the “Mother Goose” chorus, currently appearing at the Walker, there was “indignant whispering,” and the Saintz were asked to oust the offending couples. “It fell to Chancey Finfrock to extend the invitation to the octette to do the vanishing act, which he did with as much gallantry as the circumstances would permit.” Saintz club members admit that the chorus girls were well mannered and did nothing objectionable while in the hall.

Elsie Slade is missing again, a colored chiropodist wept “great scalding, briny tears” over his arrest, a housewife whipped an impudent tramp, and a Missouri girl played piano while her school burned to the ground.

Football, Educated Bears, and a Magical Chink

at least it doesn't say "chink" in the ad

This ad appeared in the Urbana Courier-Herald on December 14, 1912. Here is the full text of the review in the same paper:

Mlle. Spellman and her educated bears will be the Waker [sic] feature for Monday—this is some act for it has played before the crowds at the New York Hippodrome. Big bears and little bears, but all of them trained marvelously are put through difficult and amusing paces. The intelligent bears head a bill which includes Nadell and Kane, comedians; Nealis and Hopkins, “The Postman and the Maid,” and Ah Ling Foo, the Chink magician. Final performances tonight of Nan Halperin and her “Suffragettes,” an amusing musical show featured by Nan herself—she is a comedienne of originality and her imitations of “vodvil” are worth a trip to the Walker.

Wednesday, October 23, 1912

After the first day’s investigation of the student riot at the Walker opera house, the university has expelled two students. The comedy company that was playing at the Walker that night is suing the city of Champaign. “Local authorities look upon the matter pretty much as a joke and the suits are regarded as farces. Chief of Police Keller said that the police, although practically rendered powerless, did all in their power.”

A Quincy man was arrested by postal authorities after having confessed to an unusual method of counterfeiting. He pasted together the unmarked parts of canceled stamps so as to make a new stamp. And of the many suicides reported in the “Illinois News by Telegraph” column, the suicide of Alfred J. Kilty, a Michigan furniture upholsterer, stood out. Found dying of poison in a Decatur cemetery, he had left a note saying it was “nobody’s business why he had attempted suicide and that he had fixed everything to suit himself.”

Finally, here is another local advertisement that references the current political scene:

Sunday, October 20, 1912

The new comic act at the Walker Theater is a “militant English suffragette” armed with a huge mallet, who sings a song and makes a speech. Also at the Walker is “The Village Lockup” (a sketch of rural life), the minstrels Moore and Browning, and the Kuma Japs.

Apparently there was a student riot at the opera house following the Illini football win, but the front page of Papa’s Daily Illini is missing today. I imagine there will be something in the Courier-Herald tomorrow about the riot.

Saving Up Coupons for Mother

Here is a comic song performed by Nat M. Wills in 1909. If you like it, you can download the MP3 at the Free Music Archive. (You can download it even if you don’t like it, but what would be the point?)

Eva Tanguay, Queen of Vaudeville

I’ve just heard a wonderful radio program about Eva Tanguay, who was a sort of rock star before there was rock music. The show is an interview with Andrew Erdman, who recently published a biography of the diva. Highlights include a horribly scratchy 1922 recording of her voice, singer Bree Benton “channeling her inner Eva Tanguay” on a few songs, and finding out how Eva once jabbed John Philip Sousa in the buttocks with a large hatpin.

“Eva Tanguay: The Queen of Vaudeville” on Soundcheck (WNYC, stream-on-demand)
Queen of Vaudeville: The Story of Eva Tanguay (official book site, includes a sample chapter)

Friday, September 6, 1912

Apparently our Urbana aldermen are not so good at baseball as they said. They lost 23 to 9 to Champaign.

BUD MARS THE AVIATOR IS BADLY INJURED—terrible news! He was just here for the county fair, but some horrid fence in New York has got the best of him.

Suffragettes were thrown out of the Welsh Eisteddfod for interrupting Chancellor of the Exchequer Lloyd George, and then a mob outside beat them severely and nearly stripped off all their clothing before the women were rescued by police. “The police inside the hall were compelled to handle the women rather roughly in driving them from the building, and one suffragette was slightly injured. None was arrested.”

The Walker opera house will open its vaudeville season Monday night. The opening bill consists of the Marimba band; Harry Thompson, “a clever comedian and fun maker”; Wolf and Zadella, two old favorites; and Miss LaBelle Clark, with her wonderfully trained dancing horse. “The General Films company of Chicago will furnish the motion pictures this year, this fact alone assures us that the pictures will be the best.” I should very much like to see a dancing horse.