Burlesque Archive: “Strip Teasing is the Most Mysterious and Glamorous of Professions”

Ann Corio was one of the leading burlesque striptease dancers of the 1930s. She then transitioned into straight acting roles on film and the stage in the 1940s and 50s, and launched a popular touring production called This Was Burlesque in 1961. A fascinating archive of Corio’s letters is a highlights of the March 31st Printed & Manuscript Americana auction. The letters were written to her friend and publicist Edward Jaffe, a celebrity in his own right, who was said to be the inspiration for Tony Curtis’s character in The Sweet Smell of Success. The letters are filled with Corio’s insightful commentary on the entertainment industry and constant brainstorming for publicity ideas—gags, gossip, rumors, or anything else that might get her name in the papers. 

Corio’s philosophy was summed up in one early 1940s letter, “My book agent advised me not to write any more columns—but of course, I’m out for all I can get.” She also asked Jaffe to contact columnists with this risqué pitch: “I have an idea for a story. …99% of American women would jump at the opportunity to do a strip. They are all strip teasers at heart. …Strip teasing is the most mysterious and glamorous of professions.” 
Corio, Ann. Fascinating archive of a burlesque star’s letters to her publicist, 1940-61. Estimate: $1,000 to $1,500.