Burlesque was popular in London from the 1830s to the 1890s, and the exotic dance shows were introduced to the US in the 1840s. British burlesque functioned like sketch theater, including sexually suggestive dialogue and skimpy female costumes, while American shows were more focused on strip teases and remained popular until the 1930s.
These photos are a relic from another time, when men liked women with thick thighs, pale skin, and elaborate costumes — at least when it came to burlesque show, the classier grandmother of stripping.
The images are collected from the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs, part of McCaghy’s personal art collection. McCaghy works as professer emeritus of the Department of Sociology at Bowling Green State University.
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