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Shirley Leonard Papers

Creator:
Jones, Shirley May, 1922-2004  Search this
Leonard, Shirley, 1922-2004  Search this
Donor:
Connick, Kathleen D.  Search this
Extent:
4 Cubic feet (16 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Audiotapes
Photographs
Correspondence
Scrapbooks
Sheet music
Date:
1931-1998
bulk 1938-1957
Summary:
Papers documenting the life and career of Shirley May Jones, stage name Shirley Leonard, an exotic dancer from Cincinnati, Ohio. The papers, photographs, and clippings document her childhood, early life, and professional career.
Scope and Contents:
Papers documenting the life and career of exotic dancer Shirley May Jones, stage name Shirley Leonard, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Leonard performed primarily throughout the Midwest but also worked in Florida, California, and Louisiana. The collection includes family, performance, venue, and publicity photographs, photographs of other entertainers (some inscribed), correspondence, clippings, a childhood scrapbook, sheet music, recorded music, printed materials, home movies, and financial and business records such as contracts and wage slips.
Arrangement:
The papers are divided into five series.

Series 1: Personal Papers

Series 2: Business, Financial, and Legal Records

Series 3: Performance Materials

Series 4: Photographs

Series 5: Audiovisual Materials
Biographical / Historical:
Exotic dancer, active during the 1940s and 1950s.
Separated Materials:
The Division of Culture and the Arts (now Division of Cultural and Community Life) holds artifacts related to this collection including some of Jones' costumes and accessories.
Provenance:
Purchased by the National Museum of American History from Cowan's Historic Americana Auction in 2005. Addendum donated to the Archives Center in 2006 by Kathleen D. Connick, a relative of Shirley May Jones.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow. Researchers must use photocopies of scrapbooks due to the fragility of the originals, unless special access is approved.

Technical Access: Viewing film and listening to audio disc recordings is only possible by special arrangement, please inquire.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Burlesque shows -- 1920-1970  Search this
Burlesque (Theater) -- 1920-1970  Search this
Striptease -- 1920-1970  Search this
Stripteasers -- 1920-1970  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Audiotapes
Photographs -- 20th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Sheet music
Citation:
The Shirley Leonard Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0919
See more items in:
Shirley Leonard Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep802417644-dd41-44c9-84c3-64abbff4668b
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0919
Online Media:

Ricki Covette Burlesque Collection

Creator:
Covette, Ricki  Search this
Donor:
Jewell, Irene  Search this
Extent:
2 Cubic feet (6 boxes, 2 map folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Advertisements
Brochures
Certificates
Clippings
Decals
Letters (correspondence)
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Theater programs
Date:
1940ā€“2002
bulk 1950sā€“1970s
Summary:
This collection consists of eight scrapbooks and five posters documenting the burlesque career of Irene Jewell (stage name Ricki Covette), who at 6'8" was billed as "The World's Tallest Exotic Dancer." The albums contain clippings; letters; certificates; photographs, including photographs of her act; ephemera, such as postcards, travel brochures, postcards, and decals, from her travels; advertisements; and theater programs.
Scope and Contents:
Scrapbooks and posters documenting the burlesque career of Irene Jewell (stage name Ricki Covette), who at 6'8" was billed as "The World's Tallest Exotic Dancer."
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into two series.

Series 1: Scrapbooks

Series 2: Posters
Biographical / Historical:
Born in 1925 in rural Alberta, Canada, Irene Jewell aspired to become a singer and dancer. Moving to the United States in the 1950s, Jewell began a thirty-year career in show business, including theater, small parts in television and film, but especially burlesque, under her stage name "Ricki Covette." Billed as "The World's Tallest Exotic Dancer" at 6'8" and the "Glamazon," Covette's career spanned the peak of burlesque's popularity; her career highlights included headlining at clubs, including an 82-week stint at the ShoBar in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a solo act world tour in Japan, the United Kingdom, and the Americans. Besides her burlesque career, Covette also had parts in theater, including playing the role of Gymnasia in the 1963-1964 tour of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and appearing in the 1966 film The Swinger. After she left show business, she started a successful second career as a real estate broker in the Los Angeles area and travelled with her husband, cinematographer Stuart Jewell, shooting footage of nature and culture. In 2010 she appeared in Leslie Zemeckis's documentary, Behind the Burly! Covette died in February 2016.
Provenance:
Donated to the Archives Center in 2014 by Irene Jewell (stage name Ricki Covette).
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Social Security numbers are present and have been rendered unreadable and redacted. Researchers may use the photocopies in the collection. The remainder of the collection has no restrictions.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Burlesque (Theater) -- 1920-1970  Search this
Burlesque shows -- 1920-1970  Search this
Postcards -- 20th century  Search this
Striptease -- 1920-1970  Search this
Stripteasers -- 1920-1970  Search this
Genre/Form:
Advertisements -- 20th century
Brochures -- 20th century
Certificates -- 20th century
Clippings -- 20th century
Decals
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th century.
Photographs -- 1950-2000
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Theater programs -- 1950-2000
Citation:
Ricki Covette Burlesque Collection, 1940ā€“2022, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1335
See more items in:
Ricki Covette Burlesque Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8447243f0-1217-4a84-81b0-d5612eaf8621
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1335
Online Media:

Dewey Michaels Burlesque Collection

Photographer:
Garbo (Chicago)  Search this
Laverne, Gene (Buffalo, NY)  Search this
Kriegsmann, James J.  Search this
Maurice (Chicago)  Search this
Seymour, Mamie (New York)  Search this
Bruno ((Bernard?) of Hollywood (New York City))  Search this
Bakchy, Boris (New York)  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Community Life  Search this
Michaels, Dewey, 1898- (theater owner, director, producer)  Search this
Names:
Palace Burlesque Theatre (Buffalo, N.Y.)  Search this
Extent:
0.33 Cubic feet (2 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Clippings
Photographs
Place:
Buffalo (N.Y.) -- photographs -- 1920-1970
Date:
late 1920's-1967
Scope and Contents:
Newspaper clippings; advertising brochures; and photoprints of performers at the Palace Theatre (including studio publicity portraits). The majority of the items are silver gelatin photoprints. Some photographers are listed below as index terms. Subjects of photographs include strippers and comedians; photographs of women include portraits as well as full-length figures, nude or in costume.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into one series. Arranged alphabetically by subjects' names within categories.
Biographical / Historical:
George Dewey Michaels (1898-1982) was owner, director, general manager and producer of the Palace Burlesque Theater in Buffalo, New York until it closed on September 29, 1977, when Michaels was 79 years old. Michaels started in the business when he was 19 years old. Through the years, he featured Abbott and Costello, Phil Silvers, Jerry Lewis, Red Buttons, and Sammy Davis, Jr. who was then a dancer with the Will Master Trio which included his father and uncle. The Palace Burlesque was part of a 40-city circuit. Michaels was married in 1920 to Phyllis Boasberg. She died in 1969, leaving two sons and one daughter. On December 4, 1980, Michaels donated a backdrop, used in the theatre, to the Smithsonian. The backdrop had a musical theme with a clarinetist and notes rendered in extravagant art nouveau. Michaels was then 83 years old. Other backdrops were distributed to other theatres and collectors. They were 60-100 years old, painted in Diamond Dye, and worth about $1,000 apiece.
Related Materials:
Theatrical backdrops and director's chair located in the Division of Home and Community Life (now Division of Cultural and Community Life).
Provenance:
Collection donated by Mr. Dewey Michaels, January 31, 1981.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Glamour photography -- 1920-1970  Search this
Striptease -- 1920-1970  Search this
Stripteasers -- 1920-1970  Search this
Nudity in the performing arts  Search this
Theatrical producers and directors -- 1920-1970  Search this
Comedians -- 1920-1970  Search this
Entertainers -- 1920-1970  Search this
Musicians -- 20th century  Search this
Burlesque shows -- 1920-1970  Search this
Burlesque (Theater) -- 1920-1970  Search this
Entertainment -- Photographs -- 1920-1970  Search this
Genre/Form:
Clippings -- 20th century
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 19th-20th century
Citation:
Dewey Michaels Burlesque Collection, circa 1920s-1967, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0065
See more items in:
Dewey Michaels Burlesque Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep896ac7af6-87c2-4acc-9b9c-9fc959e4fa84
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0065
Online Media:

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