C.G. CONN LTD. LADIES BAND
Organized about 1921-1922 (probably the date of this photo). They had quite a succession of directors over the years. It was under the direction of Dick Bressler that the band attained its greatest size, 65 members with full instrumentation, and its greatest fame. For a number of years in the 30s it played regularly in the South Bend city series to crowds as large as 8,000. Before the days of fame were many days of fun. Ruty Boyland Claussen recalled a time when some of the members could play only one note. Willingness to be taught was the only requirement. Both instruments and instruction were furnished by the company.
EDNA CROUDSON'S RHYTHM GIRLS
This all-female sextet existed at least as early as 1928. In 1929 their most famous member, Ivy Benson, joined after being discovered by Henry Croudson, a cinema organist at a Leeds, England theater. She played with the Rhythm Girls until 1935, when she went on to lead several all-female groups.
BABE EGAN AND HER HOLLYWOOD RED HEADS
Mary Florence Egan was was born in 1897. She was not only one of the first female bandleaders but also a great violinist. Babe started her all-girl band the Hollywood Redheads in 1924. The Redheads toured not only the United States and Canada, but also all over Europe during the Vaudeville days. It was said by many female musicians in later years, that Babe and her all-girl band inspired them to get into music as professionals. The Hollywood Red Heads disbanded in 1933.
|Babe Egan and Her Hollywood Red Heads|
BOBBIE HOWELL'S AMERICAN SYNCOPATORS
Included trumpeter Dolly Jones, later known as Dolly Hutchinson, who was one of the first women to make a jazz record.
HELEN LEWIS & HER ALL-GIRL JAZZ SYCOPATORS
Helen formed her All-Girl Jazz Syncopators around 1923. Around 1925 they filmed and released a Phonofilm. Despite the significance of their pioneering status, there is surprisingly little documentation of them.
|Helen Lewis and Her All-Girl Jazz Syncopators|
Formed in Chicago in 1925, they headlined the Ziegfeld Follies of 1927 and toured North America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and South America before disbanding in 1937.
From the short film Maids & Music (1938)
Serenading to cows for University of Wisconsin in a scientific test
of whether cows would give more milk to the soothing strains of music.
These girls hailed from Indiana and, in 1927, billed themselves as "America's Greatest Girl-Band." They recorded a single record for Brunswick and existed primarily as a touring "territory band." After Babe Egan and her Hollywood Redheads threatened to sue over their name, they changed it to Bobbie Grice's Fourteen Bricktops.
For many of the 1940s musicians, going on the road with a band provided an escape route from less desirable situations. As early as 1926, white trombonist Velzoe Brown was delivered from a dreaded secretarial career when she added her horn case to those strapped atop the touring car of the Pollyanna Syncopators.