Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 64° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: City vaudevillian heading to the Big Top

Gertrude Hoffman, the vaudeville dance star playing Spokane’s Orpheum Theater, was closing a contract with Ringling Brothers. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Gertrude Hoffman, the vaudeville dance star playing Spokane’s Orpheum Theater, was closing a contract with Ringling Brothers. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Gertrude Hoffman, the vaudeville dance star playing Spokane’s Orpheum Theater, said she was ready to take up a new career “as a maid of the sawdust.”

She meant that she was joining the circus.

She was closing a contract with Ringling Brothers to stage a “big opening pageant and spectacular ballet” for next season.

“I think I’ll like circus life,” she said.

She was considered to be an “art” dancer, and her interview with the Spokane Daily Chronicle included one provocative statement.

“I love the nude,” she said. “Why shouldn’t I say it? The body is beautiful to me. Why should I burden it?”

However, she was irritated when she imagined people coming to her performances just “because of lurid newspaper notices of bare-kneed girls.”

“My girls and I dance for the pleasure of depicting scenes gracefully and artistically, and not for the satisfaction of any special set of people,” she said.

From the boxing beat: John L. Sullivan, the former heavyweight champion, died in Massachusetts at age 59.

The Chronicle noted that he had made five visits to Spokane as a vaudeville performer after he retired from the ring. He sparred with another retired boxer and told stories about his career.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.