Digital Transgender Archive

Three actors, two in drag, posing in cowboy costumes. Photographic postcard, 1911.

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Part of James Gardiner Collection: photograph album labelled ‘Drag’.

One man dressed as a maid, the other as a cowgirl, pose next to another man dressed as a cowboy, in front of a faint painted backdrop. Young men dressed up in stock fancy dress costumes at a photographic studio circa 1912. The man playing the cowgirl is identified from inscriptions on the verso of this card and on the verso of Wellcome Library no. 2044536i as Maitland Cecil Melville Wills M.C., J.P., (1891-1966), educated at Charterhouse and Manchester University, later a prolific writer of detective novels under the name Cecil M. Wills. He is here a student at Manchester having a laugh dressed in unconvincing amateur dragCowboy and Cowgirl illustrate the growing popularity of 'Western' films, and the housemaid is named Sappho in the message on the verso of the print catalogued. This reference to the ancient Greek poetess after whose island home Lesbos the term 'lesbianism' was coined, makes a surprising connection in the mind of the writer between homosexuality and cross-dressing (James Gardiner)

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Item Information:

Identifier
wp988k02r
Collection
James Gardiner 20th Century Drag Postcards
Institution
Wellcome Library
Date Issued
Jan. 1, 1911
Genre
Photographs
Prints
Topic(s)
Female impersonators
Resource Type
Still Image
Analog Format
1 photograph : photoprint ;
Rights
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