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Minsky's Burlesque Records (MS-00290)

Abstract

Minsky's Burlesque Records (1922-1978) contain scripts, publicity, photographs, financial records, payroll records, sheet music, newspaper clippings, contracts, and correspondence. Also included are the personal papers of noted burlesque producer Harold Minsky, who was known for creating the "family burlesque" style of entertainment and for introducing the topless showgirl to Las Vegas, Nevada at the Dunes Hotel in 1957.

Finding Aid - PDF
Date
1922-1978
Extent
11.95 Cubic Feet (27 boxes)
10.84 Linear Feet
Resource Type
Records
Creator/Contributor Links
Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research, with the exception of materials that are restricted to protect personally identifiable information. Restrictions are noted at the file level of this inventory and will be open for research use January 1, 2051.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.

Collection Type
Scope and Contents

Minsky's Burlesque Records (1922-1978) contain scripts, publicity, photographs, financial records, payroll records, sheet music, newspaper clippings, contracts, and correspondence. Also included are the personal papers of noted burlesque producer Harold Minsky who was known for creating the "family burlesque" style of entertainment and for introducing the topless showgirl to Las Vegas, Nevada at the Dunes Hotel in 1957.

Biographical / Historical Note

Harold Minsky (1915-1977) began producing the burlesque shows he called "follies" at New York City's Gaiety Theatre in 1934. While popular with European immigrants more familiar with risqué performances, The New York Times criticized the shows as being "dirtier" than burlesque. In 1943, Mayor La Guardia ordered all burlesque theaters closed in New York. Minsky, through his attorney Morris Ernst, demanded a "just cause" hearing to reopen his theatre, but after months of litigation the ban was upheld by the Supreme Court and Minsky was forced to declare bankruptcy. Undaunted by this setback, he moved his shows to such places as Chicago, Illinois; Hollywood, California; Miami, Florida; Newark, New Jersey; and Cincinnati, Ohio, introducing "family style" burlesque and "ladies day" to entice women to attend.

After introducing burlesque to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1957 at the Dunes Hotel, Minsky produced shows at the Thunderbird, Aladdin, Silver Slipper, Fremont, and Frontier hotels. A book published in 1960 based on the stage productions, titled The Night They Raided Minsky's was followed by a motion picture of the same name in 1967.

Successful in the 1950s and 1960s, the popularity of burlesque declined in the 1970s. Harold Minsky died on December 25, 1977, shortly after his last show at the Fremont Hotel in Las Vegas closed. His wife, Patricia, kept the show alive in other American cities until 1978, when the last Minsky's Burlesque was performed for the public.

Arrangement

The materials are arranged into three series:

Series I. General records and papers, 1922-1978;

Series II. Hotel records, 1953-1978;

Series III. Sheet music, undated.

Related Materials

The following resources may provide additional information related to the materials in this collection:

Donn Arden Papers, 1918-1994. MS-00425. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dunes Hotel Records, 1955-1992. MS-00328. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mida Mae Dick Papers, 1945-1986. MS-00259. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Preferred Citation

Minsky's Burlesque Records, 1922-1978. MS-00290. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

EAD ID
US::NvLN::MS00290
Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated from 1978 to 1982 by Patricia Minsky Shapiro; accession number 87-97.

Processing Information

Collection was processed in 1996 by Joyce Marshall. In 2017 Joyce Moore revised and enhanced the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards. In 2018, as part of an archival backlog project, Melise Leech rehoused part of the collection and updated the finding aid to bring it into compliance with current professional standards.

Separated Materials

Some of the photographs from this acquisition were removed from the collection and placed in Harold Minsky Photographs, 1957-1977. PH-00075. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

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