Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.
Search for free, downloadable images taken from our library and museum collections, including paintings, illustrations, photos and more.
Two black actors, Gregory and Brown, one in drag, dancing the Cake-Walk in Paris. Photographic postcard, 1903.
- Part of
- The James Gardiner Collection. Photographs.
Public Domain Mark
You can use this work for any purpose without restriction under copyright law.
Public Domain Mark (PDM) terms and conditions https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0
Selected images from this work
About this work
[Paris?] : [publisher not identified], 
1 photographic postcard ; 13.9 x 9 cm
Le cake-walk. Dansé au Nouveau Cirque. Les nègres
Channing Gerard Joseph, 'The first drag queen was a former slave', The nation, 31 January 2020 (about William Dorsey Swann, b. 1860; this photograph reproduced)
Valerie Edwards, 'From slave to Queen: The extraordinary life of William Dorsey Swann who was born into slavery in the 1800s and became the 'first drag queen to fight for queer freedom"', Mail online, 3 February 2020 (this photograph reproduced)
Wellcome Library no. 2044881i
The following description was provided by James Gardiner: "The man in drag wears a long dress with frilly trim and a large bonnet; standing next to a man in stripey jacket and trousers with a top hat and cane. The Cake-Walk was a dance which originated in the United States, apocryphally as a form of entertainment developed by black slaves on cotton plantations in the Deep South. It increased in popularity, and by the turn of the nineteenth century had developed into commercial entertainment that was exported to Europe. It rapidly became a 'dance craze' in Paris, and the catalogued photograph shows two black (American?) performers, both men, one wearing a frilly bonnet and ruffled dress, performing at the Nouveau Cirque . Gregory and Brown introduced the Cake-Walk to Paris in 1902 (Gerard Koskovich)."
This work is untitled: the title has been supplied by the cataloguer for identification purposes.
Where to find it
Photograph album labelled ‘Drag'
Location Status AccessClosed stores