Ralph W. Judd collection on Cross-Dressing in the Performing Arts
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection consists of materials collected by Ralph Judd relating to the history of cross-dressing in the performing arts. The collection is focused on popular music and vaudeville from the 1890s through the 1930s, and on film and television: it contains few materials on musical theater, non-musical theater, ballet, opera, or contemporary popular music. The materials consist primarily of sheet music, 1848-1988 (bulk circa 1895-1940), and studio publicity stills of motion pictures, 1900-1996, and of television productions, circa 1950-2000, that depict men and women dressed in attire considered appropriate to the opposite gender. The sheet music also includes a substantial number of items whose covers do not depict cross-dressing, but which (1) were performed by known homosexuals, (2) have titles with a “gay” connotation according to present GLBT and mainstream sensibilities; (4) have front pages that depict men or women in positions that could be construed as “gay” or “lesbian” according to current sensibilities; (5) are considered “camp” according to current sensibilities, and (6) celebrate patriotic themes. The collection includes a separate series of sheet music and photographs relating to Julian Eltinge, perhaps the greatest female impersonator of the 20th century, and a small album of photographs and postcards relating to other musical theater and vaudeville stars of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The collection also contains a series of Research Files, arranged in a number of sub-series and consisting largely of studio stills, supplemented by press kits and other publicity materials, programs, reviews, photocopies, and clippings from newspapers and the popular press. The People sub-series includes information on several prominent female impersonators, such as Jim Bailey and Charles Pierce. The significance to cross-dressing of a substantial portion of the materials, in particular in the Motion Pictures sub-series, is not readily apparent from the documents at hand.
The collection includes a number of booklets on cross-dressing published by Judd; copies of his regular columns published in the cross-dressing press; and final drafts of several unpublished works on cross-dressing in motion pictures and in television. The collection also contains small number of periodicals published by the cross-dressing community; over 100 posters of motion pictures and theatrical performances that contain cross-dressing; and the remainder of Judd’s collection (originally numbering over 183 items) of VHS videos of motion pictures that depict cross-dressing.
- 1848-circa 2000
- Judd, Ralph (Person)
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).
Ralph Waverly Judd was born in Zillah, Washington, on April 22, 1930. He entered Harvard as a Harvard National Scholar in 1947. The following year he enlisted in the Massachusetts National Guard and was elected Chairman of the Harvard Smoker Committee. He enlisted in the US Coast Guard in 1949, being appointed cadet in 1950. While at the Coast Guard Academy he served as editor-in-chief of the cadet magazine, Surf 'n' Storm. Upon graduation in 1954 he was commissioned ensign. In 1955, while serving on the Northwind, he helped build the DEWline (Distant Early Warning). He served as Airborne Ice observer during the International Geophysical Year, and delivered motor fuel to Sir Edmund Hillary of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole. After duty in 1958 as executive officer of the Ivy, the world's largest buoy tender, he returned to the Coast Guard Academy as cross country coach, and advisor to the cadet magazine; he became Chief of the Physics Section in 1962. In 1964, he obtained an MBA from George Washington University and was assigned commanding officer of the Comanche. In 1966, he was Executive Officer for Precommissioning Detail, Tight Reign, in Bangkok, Thailand, then Construction Expediter and first Commanding Officer of the only US Coast Guard station in Vietnam. In 1968, he was appointed first Chief of Coast Guard Exchanges, Commissaries, Clubs and Messes. In 1971, he served as commanding officer of the Rockaway out of New York. He retired with the rank of Commander in 1972, and entered on a career as writer. He published his first book, The Coast Guard in Film, in the 1970s. He began collecting materials for what became the world's largest collection on cross-dressing in the performing arts in the late 1970s, and in 1988 earned a PhD in Communications from Clayton University with his thesis, Origins of Crossdressing: A History of performance en travesty. He continued to publish widely, including the pictorial books Drag Gags; Fun with Female Impersonation from the Movies (1991), and Drag Gags Return; Tongue-in-Cheek Fun with Female Impersonation from the Movies (1992), and articles in such mainstream periodicals as Readers Digest, US Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association Bulletin, National Lampoon, Christopher Street, and Veterans Voices, and in a large number of specialty publications addressing the cross-dressing community. He died in Seattle, Washington, on December 20, 2007.
20 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Materials collected by Ralph Judd relating to the history of cross-dressing in the performing arts. The collection is focused on popular music and vaudeville from the 1890s through the 1930s, and on film and television: it contains few materials on musical theater, non-musical theater, ballet, opera, or contemporary popular music. The materials consist primarily of sheet music, 1848-1988 (bulk circa 1895-1940), and studio publicity stills of motion pictures, 1900-1996, and of television productions, circa 1950-2000, that depict men and women dressed in attire considered appropriate to the opposite gender. The collection also contains a series of Research Files, arranged in a number of sub-series and consisting largely of studio stills, supplemented by press kits and other publicity materials, programs, reviews, photocopies, and clippings from newspapers and the popular press. The collection includes Judd’s writings, both published and unpublished, including his columns published in the cross-dressing press, as well as over 100 posters of motion pictures and theatrical performances that contain cross-dressing, and the remainder of Judd’s collection of VHS videos of motion pictures that depict cross-dressing.
Arranged in the following series:
- Series 1. Sheet Music
Series 2. Photographs and Postcards
- Sub-Series 2.1. Motion Pictures
- Sub-Series 2.2. Television
- Sub-Series 2.3. Vaudeville Postcards
Series 3. Julian Eltinge
- Sub-Series 3.1. Photographs
- Sub-Series 3.2. Sheet Music
Series 4. Research Files
- Sub-Series 4.1. Motion Pictures
- Sub-Series 4.2. People
- Sub-Series 4.3. Subjects
- Sub-Series 4.4. Theater and Music
- Sub-Series 4.5. Publications
- Series 5. Posters
- Series 6. Videos
- Series 7. Writings
- Series 8. Personal
- Series 9. Ephemera
Custodial History note
The albums of sheet music (Series 1) were received by Berkovitz from Judd on May 2, 1999.
Gift of Fred Berkovitz, October 19, 2002; November 30, 2002; March 2, 2003; March 27, 2003.
Bulliet, C. J. Venus Castina : Famous female impersonators celestial and human. New York: Covici, Friede, 1928. Limited edition: number 777 of 960. Transferred to Library Collection, locked room.
General Physical Description note
11 archive cartons + 2 archive half-cartons + 1 records box + 8 oversize boxes + 19 clamshell albums + 14 albums.(20 linear feet).
Collection processed by Michael Palmer, Jim Deeton, and David Hensley, between November 2007 and September 2008. Processing this collection has been partially funded by generous grants from Jim Deeton and David Hensley.
- Finding Aid to the Ralph W. Judd Collection on Cross-Dressing in the Performing Arts
- Michael P. Palmer
- © 2009
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in: English
- Processing partially funded by generous grants from Jim Deeton and David Hensley.