Effie May Norris, undated. Property of the University of Washington, Special Collections Division.
Prior and Norris Troupe Photographs
University of Washington
From its humble beginnings in the music hall and barroom shows of the mid 1800s, vaudeville, a collection of variety acts consisting of songs, dances, acrobatic and other novelty performances, became one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the United States from the turn of the century until the 1930s. By 1919, there were reported to be more than 900 vaudeville theaters across the country, each theater playing as many as eight or nine acts per day. The industry employed thousands of individuals at any given time. For most of these performers, it was not any easy life. Poor pay coupled with the pressures of itinerant life, produced an industry whose turnover rate was as high as 70% per year. Although the majority of these performers remained obscure, many successful comedians began their careers by playing the vaudeville circuits including W.C. Fields, Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Bob Hope, and the Marx Brothers.
The collection includes photographs and ephemera relating to the career of Pat Prior and Effie Norris and the history of vaudeville. This includes images of friends and colleagues of Prior and Norris, identified and unidentified vaudeville performers of the late 1800s and early 1900, publicity postcards, and vaudeville stage productions, the most significant being Fanchon and Marco.
Additional information is available on University of Washington's Prior and Norris Troupe photographs website.