8 x 10 inches | Gelatin silver print
Toni Elling is a burlesque performer born Rosita Sims in Detroit, Michigan. Bored with her job, Elling got into burlesque at age 32 in 1960. She named herself after bandleader and friend Duke Ellington and thereafter became known as "the Duke's Delight" and "Satin Doll" (one of Ellington's most famous compositions).
Elling declined to remove her panties or even to wear a g-string because, as she said, “It’s entertainment, yes, but the idea is to suggest what’s there, not throw off all your clothes and reveal everything. That’s why they call it strip-tease.”
Elling retired in 1974 and in 2016 was inducted into the Burlesque Hall of Fame.
Born in Vienna, James J. Kriegsmann was a celebrity and theatrical photographer in New York who worked from 1929 to the early 1960s. Kriegsmann became the official in-house photographer for Harlem’s Cotton Club and was popular among the Black community.