American Vaudeville Museum collection

MS 421
Black and white photograph of an all-female band, The Ingenues, from the 1928 motion picture The Band Beautiful

Photograph of The Ingenues, an all female Vaudeville style jazz band, from the motion picture The Band Beautiful (1928).

Collection area: Performing Arts

Collection dates: 1845-2007 bulk (bulk 1910-1940)

About this collection

This collection, originally located at the American Vaudeville Museum in Boston, comprises theatre programs and postcards, sheet music, magazines, playbills, photographs and posters, stage scripts and other manuscripts, clippings and scrapbooks, films, miscellaneous papers, and a large collection of LP albums, as well as some entertainers' costumes and accessories. Some materials are included as photocopies rather than in original form. There are primary materials such as scrapbooks and handwritten stage scripts that document the careers of particular performers, often couples or family members. The collection focuses on vaudeville but encompasses other forms and eras of American entertainment as well, such as film and recorded music.

Specific descriptions of scope and content are provided for each series, along with biographical notes for the individual performers' collections.

Historical background

This archive was collected by Frank Cullen and Donald McNeilly, founders of the American Museum of Vaudeville (commonly referred to as the American Vaudeville Museum) in Boston. Many of the materials pertain to the Boston and New York areas. Some items were purchased by Cullen and McNeilly; others were contributed by fans and other interested persons, or by family members of performers from the vaudeville era. Many of the histories gathered by Cullen and McNeilly were published in their periodical, The Vaudeville Times. The culmination of their research appeared in their two-volume encyclopedia, Vaudeville Old & New, co-authored also by Florence Hackman. The collection was donated by the Museum in 2008.

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