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Women’s History Month: Tallulah Bankhead

Stage and screen actress Tallulah Bankhead is one of many Hollywood personalities featured in the Libraries' Celebrity Caricature:

In the late 1990's the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG Library) made a special effort to collect materials on caricature and cartoon in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 1998 exhibition Celebrity Caricature in America, curated by Wendy Wick Reaves. Among our holdings are more than 80 issues of Vanity Fair, as well as the Raymond W. Smith Collection of Caricature and Cartoon Books of over 500 items. Displayed here is just a small sample from our collection, featuring Al Hirschfeld, Miguel Covarrubias, some of their contemporaries, and works from Vanity Fair.

Tallulah Bankhead flew through the air with the greatest of ease in Midgie Purvis, 1961

"Tallulah Bankhead flew through the air with the greatest of ease in Midgie Purvis, 1961"
Al Hirschfeld, 1961, Ink drawing, The American Theatre as seen by Hirschfeld, New York: Braziller, 1961.

Although Mary Chase's Midgie Purvis only ran for 21 performances at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York (February 1-18, 1961), its star Tallulah Bankhead was nominated for a Tony for her role as an eccentric middle-aged woman who runs away from her family, disguised as an 80-year old cleaning woman, and becomes a baby-sitter. —Elizabeth Periale

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