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Harold Minsky Photograph Collection (PH-00075)

Abstract

The Harold Minsky Photograph Collection (1957-1977) contains photographic prints, negatives, and slides collected by Las Vegas burlesque show developer Harold Minsky. Subjects include performers in costume, showgirls, comedians, advertisements for shows, performances, and some of the venues at which Minsky's shows were held, including the Thunderbird Hotel and Casino, the Aladdin Hotel and Casino, and the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Finding Aid - PDF
Date
1957 to 1977
Extent
1.36 Cubic Feet (14 hanging folders, 1 shared box, 1 shared binder, and 1 flat file)
3.0 Linear Feet
Resource Type
Collection
Creator/Contributor Links
Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Some collection material has been digitized and is available online.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Collection Type
Scope and Contents

The Harold Minsky Photograph Collection (1957-1977) contains photographic prints, negatives, and slides collected by Las Vegas burlesque show developer Harold Minsky. Subjects include performers in costume, showgirls, comedians, advertisements for shows, performances, and some of the venues at which Minsky's shows were held, including the Thunderbird Hotel and Casino, the Aladdin Hotel and Casino, and the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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 and Casino, Minsky produced shows at the Thunderbird Hotel, the Aladdin Hotel and Casino, the Silver Slipper Hotel and Casino, the Fremont Hotel and Casino, and the Frontier Hotel. A book based on the stage productions, entitled The Night They Raided Minsky's was published in 1960 and 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.

Source:

Joanne Goodwin, "Minsky's Burlesque," Online Nevada Encyclopedia. Accessed October 2010. http://www.onlinenevada.org/articles/minskys-burlesque

Arrangement

Materials are arranged into three series:

Series I. Costumes, 1957-1972;

Series II. People, 1960s-1970s;

Series III. Publicity, 1960-1977.

Related Materials

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

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

Harold Minsky. Interview, January 21, 1970. Arnold Shaw Oral History Project. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Preferred Citation

Harold Minsky Photograph Collection, 1957-1977. PH-00075. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

EAD ID
US::NvLN::PH00075
Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated in 1981 by Patricia Minsky Shapiro; accession number 1987-97, and in 2012 by Joan Houston; accession number 2012-27.

Processing Information

Materials were processed by Joyce Moore in 1996. In 2015, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Lindsay Oden wrote the collection description in compliance with current professional standards. In 2019, as part of an archival backlog elimination project, Melise Leech added additional material and updated the finding aid to bring it into compliance with current professional standards.

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