Little Egypt

(c.1860-1920)

      Little Egypt was a vaudeville performer in the 1890s. Who it has now been proven did not dance at the Chicago Fair. Or has it. For there were two Little Egypts. Fahreda Mahzar claimed that she danced at the Chicago Fair and that she was referred to by some as La Petite Egypte. Now there was a Farida at the Chicago Fair and there was a dancer La Petite Egypt so she could be telling the truth. As to the Little Egypt that danced at the Seeley dinner, this was Ashea Waba, who Sol Bloom insisted did not dance at the fair

      After the Chicago Fair ended the Midway Plaisance moved to New York. The Midway played Doris’s Museum in Mid-November and the next week Proctor’s introduced Little Egypt among its vaudeville acts. The Midway moved to the Grand Central Palace but when the theater got raided Fahreda quit the show. She begin billing herself as La Petite Egypte, playing A la Cascade New Year’s Eve and then joining a variety company managed by an ex-boxer named Adolph “Dolly” Lyons

      On the evening of December 19, 1896, Little Egypt was performing at a bachelor party for Herbert Seeley at Sherry’s restaurant. The story goes that while rumors were circulating that Teddy Roosevelt was invited to the dinner, a rival dancer Annabelle Whitford and her agent William S. Moore filed a police complaint that Little Egypt had been hired to dance nude. Now in 1896 Teddy Roosevelt as President of the New York Police Commission was giving the police a hard time. The raid was then ordered in retaliation for his efforts to reform the police department. When it turned out that there was no truth to either rumor the police ended up getting invested rather then Little Egypt and Little Egypt went on to star in a burlesque of the whole affair at Oscar Hammerstein’s Olympia

      Who was Little Egypt? Benjamin Falk took four cabinet-size (6-1/2×4-1/2in) photographs of Little Egypt in !894/95. The answer is somewhere in four dusty boxes of the Falk Papers at the New York Public Library.