Skip to main content

Irma’s Favorite School

June 2023
1min read

Ralph G. Allen’s article on Philadelphia’s Trocadero (“Burlesque,” June/July 2002) in the middle of the last century brought back floods of memories. Fifty years ago I held the presses on the Haverford News so that we could review the week’s show at the Troc. The resulting furor at Quakerly Haverford College inspired one of the freshmen to bring the week’s headliner, Irma the Body, to the campus for a visit. At dinner he and Irma challenged us to visit the Troc for the evening’s show.

That night, for the first time in burlesque history, I suspect, rows of eager college students challenged the old men with bottles in paper bags for seats in the house. We had our reward when in her grand finale Irma appeared not in pasties and a G-string but in two Haverford buttons and a Haverford pennant. We never found out what the management or the habitués thought of the event, but for the students it was a bright spot in a quiet winter.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.