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Collection Overview

Lee, Gypsy Rose, 1914-1970
Gypsy Rose Lee Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1


Consists of the original typescript, and related letters, of the crime novel The G-String Murders by Gypsy Rose Lee, the American burlesque entertainer and film star.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the original typescript of Lee's murder mystery thriller The G-String Murders and twelve (of thirteen) letters she wrote to her publishers about it. Lee wrote the letters, dated from January 4, 1941, to August 28, 1941, while on a tour of different cities; they discuss, among other subjects, drafts of the manuscript, changes that need to be made, and publicity for the book. (One of the original letters, dated June 20 and sent from the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, is missing). The typescript, which includes holograph corrections and annotations, was apparently typed by Lee on her new typewriter with a blue ribbon, which she mentions in her letter of Feb. 19. Also included is a pamphlet from the publishers of the book reprinting all thirteen letters. The publishers indicate that "As can be seen at a glance, the correspondence began on an extremely polite and formal plane. Like Miss Lee's celebrated specialty, however, it gradually built to a stunning climax." The pamphlet is autographed by Lee.


Arranged by accession number.

Collection Creator Biography:

Lee, Gypsy Rose, 1914-1970

Gypsy Rose Lee, born Rose Louise Hovick in Seattle, Wash., was an American actress and burlesque entertainer. She appeared in vaudeville acts with her sister June beginning in 1919, and made her debut in a burlesque show in 1929, taking the name Gypsy Rose Lee. She became the headliner at Billy Minsky's Republic Theatre on Broadway in 1931, and appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies in 1936. Lee eventually traveled to Hollywood, where she was billed as Louise Hovick. She returned to New York City and fell in love with Michael Todd (1909-1958), and later appeared as an actress in many of his film productions. In 1941, Lee wrote or co-wrote a mystery thriller called The G-String Murders, in which she herself played detective; it was made into the 1943 film Lady of Burlesque, starring Barbara Stanwyck. She published another mystery novel, Mother Finds a Body, in 1942. Her best-selling memoirs, ns2:titled Gypsy, were published in 1957, and were taken as inspirational material for the Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents musical Gypsy: A Musical Fable. Lee went on to host a television talk show, Gypsy (1958).

A smoker, Gypsy Rose Lee was diagnosed in 1969 with lung cancer and died in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 59. She was noted for her grace, style, and sophisticated wit.

Collection History


Gift of Gypsy Rose Lee on September 3, 1942 (AM12457).


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on May 11, 2006. Finding aid written by Dina Britain on May 12, 2006. Folder inventory added by James Clark '14 in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Gypsy Rose Lee Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1