Blanche Selwyn began her career in British vaudeville but soon migrated to the U.S. where she enjoyed great success as a male impersonator. In 1873 Selwyn married her second husband and business partner, Ben Gilfoil. By the end of the 1870s Selwyn owned and managed her own variety company. Audiences loved Gilfoil’s parody of Selwyn’s male impersonation. Unlike the British Blondes, male impersonators like Selwyn received few negative reviews. America delighted in this form of transvestitism.


  • Title: Blanche Selwyn
  • Creator: Jeremiah Gurney
  • Location: New York, New York
  • Physical Dimensions: Carte-de-visite, 4" x 2 1/2"
  • Provenance: The Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation
  • Subject Keywords: Cross-dressers
  • Type: Photograph
  • Publisher: Gurney & Sons
  • Date: ca. 1870

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