Like many performers, Julia Rooney came from a showbiz family. Her father was Pat Rooney Sr, (1848–1892), a young, short and slight Irish immigrant who boxed and wrestled his way in America to become a famous singing and clog-dancing veteran of variety saloons. Later, he led his own variety troupe, earning as much as a thousand dollars a week. His five children, all of whom were musical, followed him into show business. The most famous of them, Pat Rooney Jr (1880-1962), spent seventy years on stages from vaudeville to Broadway, even into film and television.
Of all the forgotten geniuses of vaudeville, Joe Cook (born Joseph Lopez in Evansville, Indiana 1890 - died New York State, May 15, 1959) is arguably the greatest.
Vaudeville produced every kind of dancer from the Classical exoticism of Isadora Duncan to the waltz clogging of Pat Rooney to the bouncy tapping of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.
Gilda Gray (October 24, 1901 – December 22, 1959) was a major star as an actress, dancer and flashy personality in the 1920s. Extraordinarily beautiful and famous for her legs, she became one of the symbols of the liberated woman in the flapper era, along with the likes of Clara Bow, an image she enhanced by frequently appearing in exotic roles and wearing next to nothing. Her foreign accent also added to the mystery.
The University of Arizona has a considerable collection of Fred Astaire sheet music from his earliest days partnering with sister Adele Astaire through his golden period with RKO Pictures.
This series comprises photographs and two scrapbooks, documenting the career of Pearl (Dorothy Elizabeth) Hoff (1912-2003), whose stage name was Doreen Rae. The scrapbooks contain mostly newspaper clippings, with some photographs and other texts. There are loose photographs and a few clippings, many of them apparently removed from another scrapbook. There is a short biographical sketch written by her daughter, Carolyn Mooney, who contributed these materials. (Note: This collection was originally received organized as part of the Performers files.)
Julia Rooney (1887–1990) has left her family scrapbook to the American Vaudeville Museum and her famous family connections ensure that her gift, now in the University of Arizona collection, is virtually a who was who of vaudeville.
Florence Walton and Maurice Mouvet, known as “The Waltons” or “Florence and Maurice Walton” were among the most famous vaudeville and society dancers of their age in the 1910s. Vernon and Irene Castle are more remembered today as the most famous of the ballroom dancers of the period, but during this period the Waltons were almost equally famous and perhaps even better known to a good deal of the general public.
Rose "Rosie" Dolly (October 25, 1892 – February 1, 1970) and Jenny Dolly (October 25, 1892 – June 1, 1941) and Janka (later known as Yansci or Jenny) Deutsch were twins born on October 25, 1892, in Balassagyarmat, Hungary. Their family came to America in 1905 and they both began to study dance, becoming prolific at tandem dancing, that is, moving simultaneously.