Fascinating Photos of 19th Century Vaudeville and Burlesque Performers

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Earlier today, our friends over at Coudal Partners tipped us off to an amazing batch of vintage photos from the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs on Flickr, and we’ve been poring over the images ever since. Housed at Ohio State’s Lawrence & Lee Theatre Research Institute, McCaghy’s expansive collection contains a wide variety of materials related to striptease research and memorabilia, spanning from the mid-19th century to the present day — quite the treasure trove, if you’re a fan of burlesque. Whether you’re looking for some over-the-top sartorial inspiration, a little early afternoon titillation, or proof of how standards of beauty are always evolving, we’re pretty sure that you’ll find it thanks to the lovely ladies after the jump.

Vernona Jabeau, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Unnamed actress, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Miss E. Darcey, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Unnamed actress, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Eliza Blasina, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Rose Hamilton, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Lottie Grant, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Viola Clifton, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Marion Manola, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Mlle Conalba, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Josie Gregory, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Dolly Adams, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Carrie McHenry, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Elvira Viola, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Emma Burgess, 1890. From the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs. Courtesy of Ohio State University, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute