AMBISEXTROUS: Gender Impersonators of Music Hall and Vaudeville


Print Resources

Neil Richards Collection Finding Aid

Electronic Resources

Julian Eltinge Photo Gallery

A Brief History of Sheet Music

British Music Hall

Drag Shows: Drag Kings and Male Impersonators

The Dumbells

Female Impersonators and Sheet Music

It’s Behind You! The Magic of Pantomime

Julian Eltinge Project

Vaudeville: A Dazzling Display of Heterogeneous Splendor

Vesta Tilley

The Vesta Tilley Collection













“A Little bit of powder / A Little bit of paint / Makes a thing of beauty / Of a thing that ain’t.” -- Julian Eltinge



Crossing the stage: controversies on cross-dressing / edited by Leslie Ferris. London; New York: Routledge, 1993. xii, 198 p.

Maitland, Sara. Vesta Tilley / London: Virago, 1986. 148 p. A biographical study of Britain’s most celebrated male impersonator.

Moore, F. Michael. Drag! : male and female impersonators on stage, screen, and television: an illustrated world history / Jefferson, S. C.: McFarland, c1994. vii, 301 p. OTHER TITL Male and female impersonators on stage, screen, and television.

Senelick, Laurence. The Changing room: sex, drag and theatre / London; New York: Routledge, 2000. xvi, 540 p.

Shaw, Chris. A Pictorial history of the art of female impersonation / [London: King-Shaw Productions], 1966. 32 p.

Slide, Anthony. Great pretenders: a history of female and male impersonation in the performing arts / Lombard, Ill.: Wallace-Homestead Book Co., c1986. 160 p.

Waters, Sarah. Tipping the velvet / New York: Riverhead Books, 1999. 472 p. A much praised contemporary novel concerning the life and loves of Nan, a young working class woman of the 1880s, who falls in love with Kitty Butler, a struggling performer who seeks fame as a male impersonator. Later adapted to a popular television serial.


Masculine Women & Feminine Men / Wadhurst, E. Sussex, England: Pavilion Records, 1995. Audio CD. An anthology of British music hall songs recorded between 1908 and 1934, featuring among others Vesta Tilley, Hetty King and Ella Shields.