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May IrwinSinging, Shouting, and the Shadow of Minstrelsy$
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Sharon Ammen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040658

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040658.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Introduction

Introduction

May and Me

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
May Irwin
Author(s):

Sharon Ammen

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252040658.003.0001

The author, through anecdote and personal history as a professional performer, reveals how she discovered May Irwin. Although Irwin was a major star in vaudeville and musical farce from 1890-1920, she has been largely forgotten today. Irwin’s personal and public successes exceeded those of contemporaries such as Trixie Friganza, Eva Tanguay, Marie Dressler, and Sophie Tucker, yet this is the first full length study of her life and work. She may have been forgotten because of: her status as a female comic star in vaudeville; her failure to make the leap into film; the difficulty in researching her life and work; and her association with the birth of the ragtime “coon” song. This study examines her strategies for success.

Keywords:   May Irwin, ragtime, vaudeville, female comic star, Marie Dressler, Sophie Tucker, Trixie Friganza, Eva Tanguay, coon song.

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