Stars of Vaudeville #342: Edith Wilson
Originally posted in 2011.
Edith Wilson (born Edith Goodall this day in 1896 and not to be confused with the First Lady during World War I) was a blues and jazz singer who got her start in black vaudeville and Chicago night clubs before moving up to all-black Broadway revues in the 1920s. (She replaced Mamie Smith in a show called Put and Take before moving up to The Plantation Revue and others. The Jazz Age would prove to be her salad days, although her career managed to ride out the Great Depression and all that followed.She sang in the big bands of Noble Sissle, Cab Calloway and others; she did live shows as one of several “Aunt Jemimas” for Quaker Oats, and she even did some recording with Eubie Blake as late as 1972. She was to continue performing until her death in 1981.
Here she is laying down the “Rules and Regulations of Razor Jim” (1922):
To learn more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc