Julian Eltinge Two photographs in costume for Cousin Lucy and The Crinoline Girl, each signed to verso 1927
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Two photographs of the actor and female impersonator in costume for Cousin Lucy and The Crinoline Girl, two of his most successful shows from the mid-1910s. Eltinge has signed each to verso, identifying the respective shows below the signature. Light wear along edges, else in fine condition. 3.5 x 5.5 inches (8.9 x 14 cm.). Together with a trimmed card advertising Eltinge's 1927 farewell tour. Unevenly trimmed, else in very fine condition. 3.5 x 5.5 inches (8.9 x 14 cm.).
Eltinge found early success performing as a female impersonator in vaudeville. A common style of act at the time, Eltinge distinguished himself from his contemporaries by presenting a genuine imitation of women, rather than a caricature. "He made his career performing in drag and was known for a dedication to female impersonation so precise that most audiences never knew he was a man unless he removed his wig." There were often assumptions and whispers of homosexuality, though no record of any lover of any gender exists, and Eltinge "sought to differentiate himself by cultivating an especially 'butch' public image, because even a hint of homosexuality would have destroyed his career: He participated in staged boxing matches, lit cigars after performances, and was even said to have been stabbed by a marlin." For a period of time in the mid-to-late 1910s, Eltinge was one of the highest-paid stars in the world, yet he has been all but forgotten by popular memory. (Goodman, E. (2018, April 6). This Drag Queen Was Once the Highest Paid Actor in the World. them.)