Contents and Arrangement

Vardaman Side Profile Portrait, circa 1901-1925

1 folder

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


This collection consists of personal, business, and family correspondence, appointment books, documents, photographs, scripts, sheet music, playbills, theater souvenir books, clippings, and other materials created by or related to vaudeville performer Vardaman (1877-1945). Materials are both professional and personal in nature, though the majority have to do with Vardaman's vaudeville career.

Vardaman's correspondence with theater managers, fellow entertainers, and admirers, route sheets and artist's contracts, and appointment books all provide insights into his travels within the United States and internationally from 1903 to 1925. There are also annotated scripts, sheet music, and lyrics sheets used by Vardaman during his performances. Photographic materials include studio portraits of Vardaman in costume and photogravure printing blocks used to print advertisements for his performances, as well as more informal snapshots, such as photographs of Vardaman with family and friends, travel photographs, and associated negatives. There is also a significant group of photographs of other vaudeville, minstrel, and burlesque performers active from the 1880s through the 1920s, including other acts who toured as female or male impersonators. Most of these prints are inscribed to Vardaman from the entertainers pictured, many of whom he likely met on the road.

Printed materials in the collection also document Vardaman's professional career, as well as the late 19th and early 20th century vaudeville community more broadly. There are clippings with reviews and announcements about Vardaman's performances, including a scrapbook, as well as playbills both for Vardaman's appearances and those of other entertainers who appeared at the same theaters. There are also some theater souvenir books, including materials related to Julian Eltinge (1881-1941), and programs from other theatrical performances.

The majority of the collection appears to consist of Vardaman's own papers, though a small amount of family papers and printed materials may have been added by later custodians of the collection before it arrived at the library.

Collection History

Archival Appraisal Information:

No material was separated from the collection during 2018 reprocessing.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Vardaman Side Profile Portrait; Vardaman Collection, TC089, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 2