James Gardiner Collection: photograph album labelled Drag.

[between 1860 and 1989]
Part of:
The James Gardiner Collection.
  • Pictures

Collection contents

Online resources

  • Related materials at Wellcome Library Listen to an interview with James Gardiner: View resource

About this work

Also known as

Previous title: Black album labelled drag


The album contains a mixture of 269 photographs, prints and postcards collected and arranged by James Gardiner depicting theatrical female impersonation and drag performers in music hall, commercial theatre, pantomime, and amateur theatricals between 1860-1990, although most date from 1900-1950. Styles range from comedic and pantomime drag characters, glamour drag, quick change artists, historical characters, and celebrity impersonators. Many of the postcards contain messages on the reverse.

Whilst female impersonation and theatrical drag during the late 19th and 20th centuries was seen primarily as a form of entertainment, the images can also be read to show hidden sexual and gender non-conforming identities. Some of the catalogue records contain a description provided by James Gardiner which may include his own interpretation or further contextual information on the image and its subjects.


[between 1860 and 1989]

Physical description

1 album : photographic prints, process prints


Wellcome Collection 2914633i


Where to find it

  • Photograph album labelled ‘Drag'

    Closed stores

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