Cdv photograph of Lydia Thompson, signed on verso " To Captain Little in Remembrance of- Lydia Thompson, Dublin, Nov 28, 1861. Backmark of Granfield, Dublin.
Already a star in Europe, the British born Lydia Thompson made her first appearance on the American stage at Wood's Theater, New York, on 28 September in Burnand's burlesque Ixion. She made an enormous effect with her extremely sexy (but never vulgar) performances, and what had been intended to be a six-month tour eventually developed into one of more like six years. Within nights, Lydia Thompson became the unquestioned burlesque queen of her period, leading her company of `British Blondes' (several of whom were not one or the other) around the country. The blondes' trademarks were short trunks and shapely thighs, and the company thrived on a slightly scandalous reputation which Lydia and her managers fostered finely, winning nationwide publicity with the tales of her `lesbian attacker' and of her public horsewhipping of the ungentlemanly proprietor of the Chicago Times who had published a piece reflecting on the virtue of the 'blondes'.