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Finocchio's collection
1999-79  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection contains materials relating to Finocchio’s, one of the oldest and best-known female impersonation clubs in the world. The collection is arranged into four series: Production Material and Ephemera, Photographs, Garments, and Artifacts.
Background
Finocchio's was one of the oldest and best-known female impersonation clubs in the world. For over 60 years, performers sang, danced, and bantered with the audience. Finocchio’s opened in the late 1920s or early 1930s in the bohemian neighborhood of North Beach in San Francisco. It was originally owned by Marjorie and Joseph Finocchio. During Prohibition the club began featuring female impersonation shows and became a popular space among both tourists and the queer community. Finocchio’s performances featured some of the country’s most famous female impersonators including Walter Hart, Ray Bourbon, and Lucian Phelps. It also attracted many Hollywood celebrities over the years ranging from Bob Hope to Tallulah Bankhead. The club moved locations several times before opening at 506 Broadway Street, where it remained from 1936-1999. A popular restaurant called Enrico’s, was located below the nightclub and was owned by Enrico Banducci. Although over time Finocchio’s reputation as a queer hangout spot faded, its popularity with tourists did not. The club was an official stop on the Gray Line Nightclub Tour for over 50 years. Marjorie Finocchio died in San Francisco in 1956 and Joseph Finocchio died in 1986. Joseph’s second wife, Eve, operated Finocchio’s until it closed in 1999.
Extent
65 linear feet (3 boxes, 5 cartons, 19 oversize boxes, 19 artifacts)
Restrictions
Copyright to material has been transferred to the GLBT Historical Society. All requests for reproductions and/or permission to publish or quote from material must be submitted in writing to the GLBT Historical Society Archivist.
Availability
Collection is open for research. Some oversized artifacts may require advance research notice. Contact the archivist for more information.