elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Josie Mansfield (December 15, 1847 – October 27, 1931)

Ella Wesner was the most celebrated male impersonator of the Gilded Age Vaudeville circuit. Wesner began her career at the age of nine as part of a family of vaudeville and musical-stage dancers. By her mid-twenties, she was playing both male and female roles, at some point meeting and working as a "dresser" for the most notorious, and perhaps the earliest Vaudeville male impersonator of the time, Annie Hindle. Wesner's career was briefly derailed in 1873 when she abruptly left Pastor's shows to elope to Paris with the notorious Helen Josephine "Josie" Mansfield, who had been the mistress of Gilded Age Robber Baron "Diamond Jubilee" Jim Fisk and, purportedly, his murderer, Edward S. Stokes. After the romance cooled, however, Wesner returned to the United States and resumed her career with Tony Pastor, winning even wider audiences. Her most celebrated era was the 1880s; her act included not only songs celebrating the "sporting" life and skits such as her popular rendition of a drunkard getting a barber's shave, but also monologues containing advice for men about how to court, treat and satisfy women.

Timeline & Places:

• December 15, 1847: born.

• October 27, 1931: died. Buried at Montparnasse Cemetery, 3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014 Paris, Francia


Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
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Queer Places, Vol. 3.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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Queer France: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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Tags: days of love, queer places

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