Vaudeville (/ˈvɔːdvɪl, –dəvɪl/; French: [vodvil]) is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment. It was especially popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. A typical vaudeville performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. Types of acts have included popular and classical musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, strongmen, female and male impersonators, acrobats, illustrated songs, jugglers, one-act plays or scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, minstrels, and movies. A vaudeville performer is often referred to as a “vaudevillian”. Source: Wikipedia
Welcome to Lost Vaudeville! Throughout this site, you will see postcards and cabinet cards that belonged to my Great Aunt Blanche Townsend (Braun) and her friend Harry Mars. Blanche and Harry both worked for various Vaudeville circuits throughout the years of 1906-1920. Blanche was a dress and costume designer, and Harry worked on stage crew. From what I can tell from these cards – they were working for The Rain-Dears Co. along with Joseph Hart’s company. During their time in Vaudeville, they collected photos from the people they met along the way. Some are signed, and some are famous, but a lot of these performers are not known to the public.
So, that takes me to the big question – why in the world I would create a site focusing on 100+ year old Vaudeville Cabinet cards? It’s pretty simple actually. These cards have been in my family for 4 generations, but only known to us, and no one else. I created this website because these people are LOST. Lost to history, and maybe even lost to their own relatives today because their stories are no longer told.
When I first started my own research on the performers in these cards, I found that there was nothing online about them. (A few of them are well known, but the majority of these performers have no record online). So, I got to thinking. I can’t be the only one searching for information about these performers, can I? These people have to have distant family members who had been told of their grandmother’s or grandfather’s time in Vaudeville. Maybe they too have stories to tell about these performers but those stories have only been shared with friends and family. Wouldn’t it be great to have the lives of these performers and their stories be told once again?
If you happen upon this site and see your relative, please let me know! I’d love to share your story and photos on this site so that your relative’s memories can be brought to life once again and not be lost to history.