Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Ricki Covette Burlesque Collection

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1335
Creators:
Covette, Ricki
Jewell, Irene
Dates:
1940ā€“2002
bulk 1950sā€“1970s
Languages:
English
,
Japanese
.
Physical Description:
2 Cubic feet
6 boxes, 2 map folders
Repository:
This collection consists of eight scrapbooks and five posters documenting the burlesque career of Irene Jewell (stage name Ricki Covette), who at 6'8" was billed as "The World's Tallest Exotic Dancer." The albums contain clippings; letters; certificates; photographs, including photographs of her act; ephemera, such as postcards, travel brochures, postcards, and decals, from her travels; advertisements; and theater programs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Scrapbooks and posters documenting the burlesque career of Irene Jewell (stage name Ricki Covette), who at 6'8" was billed as "The World's Tallest Exotic Dancer."

Arrangement
Arrangement
Collection is arranged into two series.
Series 1: Scrapbooks
Series 2: Posters

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Born in 1925 in rural Alberta, Canada, Irene Jewell aspired to become a singer and dancer. Moving to the United States in the 1950s, Jewell began a thirty-year career in show business, including theater, small parts in television and film, but especially burlesque, under her stage name "Ricki Covette." Billed as "The World's Tallest Exotic Dancer" at 6'8" and the "Glamazon," Covette's career spanned the peak of burlesque's popularity; her career highlights included headlining at clubs, including an 82-week stint at the ShoBar in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a solo act world tour in Japan, the United Kingdom, and the Americans. Besides her burlesque career, Covette also had parts in theater, including playing the role of Gymnasia in the 1963-1964 tour of
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
, and appearing in the 1966 film
The Swinger
. After she left show business, she started a successful second career as a real estate broker in the Los Angeles area and travelled with her husband, cinematographer Stuart Jewell, shooting footage of nature and culture. In 2010 she appeared in Leslie Zemeckis's documentary,
Behind the Burly!
Covette died in February 2016.

Administration
Author
Patti Williams
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the Archives Center in 2014 by Irene Jewell (stage name Ricki Covette).
Processing Information
Collection is processed.

Digital Content

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Social Security numbers are present and have been rendered unreadable and redacted. Researchers may use the photocopies in the collection. The remainder of the collection has no restrictions.
Preferred Citation
Ricki Covette Burlesque Collection, 1940ā€“2022, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Advertisements -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brochures -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Burlesque (Theater) -- 1920-1970 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Burlesque shows -- 1920-1970 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Certificates -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Decals Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th century. Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Postcards -- 20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Striptease -- 1920-1970 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stripteasers -- 1920-1970 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Theater programs -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu