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Collection #142

Jackie Curtis Papers

Date:1947 - 2003 (Bulk 1964 - 1985)
Size:3.5 feet


A gift of Jackie Curtis’s estate.

Use Restrictions

Any copyright to these materials owned by the donor(s) is retained until their death(s), upon which copyright is transferred to The Center.

Scope and Content

The collection contains play scripts and poems written by Jackie Curtis as well as scripts for plays Jackie appeared in as an actor. It includes other examples of Jackie’s writing in journals and notebooks of random ideas for stories, plays and dialogue. There are several scrapbooks containing photos and collages with notes and comments. There are posters, flyers, programs, reviews, photos and publicity materials for plays Jackie wrote and appeared in as well as for plays by others Jackie performed in. There are also posters and other material related to Jackie’s cabaret performances. There are clippings and copies of interviews and articles about Jackie Curtis, some written after Jackie’s death. There are letters to and from family and friends. There is a large amount of photos pertaining to Jackie’s career as a performer, mostly in drag, but some not. While many of the photos are formal headshots and portraits, there are also many informal snapshots with friends at parties and events. There are also some family and childhood photos and many of teenage Jackie. There are some receipts and records related to Jackie’s hospitalization and prescription drug use in Jackie’s last years.

History or Bio

Jackie Curtis is mostly known for appearing with fellow “Superstars” Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn in several Paul Morrissey films such as “Women in Revolt,” produced by Andy Warhol. However, Jackie’s work as a playwright and performer in the downtown theater scene in the 1960s and ’70s is Jackie’s most influential legacy. Jackie was born in 1947. Jackie’s parents divorced when Jackie was very young, and Jackie was raised mostly by Jackie’s grandmother in the East Village of New York City, who owned a local bar called Slugger Ann’s. Jackie attended the School of Art and Design and Hunter College. Jackie became fascinated with performing at an early age, attending theater and collecting autographs. When Jackie was twelve Jackie was befriended by Carol Burnett who was appearing in “Once Upon A Mattress” at the theater across the street from Jackie’s grandmother’s bar. At nineteen Jackie appeared in a play by Tom Eyen at La Mama, “Miss Nefertiti Regrets,” that starred Bette Midler. Around this time Jackie began creating the persona that defied gender and sexuality classifications of the time, appearing in female attire but quite often without any pretense of “passing,” with slapdash makeup and shabby thrift shop dresses. Jackie wasn’t male, female or transgender, “just Jackie.” Jackie became a fixture of Andy Warhol’s factory scene and played the part of “superstar” with relish. Jackie’s association with Warhol helped get Jackie’s first plays noticed, such as “Glamour, Glory and Gold” in 1967, which Jackie wrote and appeared in along with fellow Warhol “superstar” Candy Darling and a young unknown actor named Robert De Niro. Jackie’s play “Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit” was produced by John Vacarro’s Playhouse of the Ridiculous in 1969. “Vain Victory” written by and starring Jackie ran at La Mama for many months in spite of mixed reviews. In addition to appearances in film and plays, Jackie performed successfully in several cabaret venues. Some of Jackie’s poems were published, and Jackie often participated in Poetry Project events. Jackie spent some time in Los Angeles in the late 1970s, unsuccessfully attempting to find serious acting roles. In 1983 Jackie appeared in “I Died Yesterday” by Nick Markovich about Frances Farmer. Jackie’s last appearance was in Jackie’s play “Champagne” in 1985. That same year Jackie died of an accidental heroin overdose.

Folder List

Box 1

1. Journal March, 1975
2. Journal 1979-1980 [names, phone numbers, notes]
3. Sections of Memoirs with David Dalton
4. Transcription of Tapes [Susan, David, Jackie]
5. Misc. Notes & Ideas for Dialogue, Poems
6. The Wit & Wisdom of Jackie Curtis
7. Tomato Soup [synopsis, dialogue, lines, Ideas]
8. Poems & Song Lyrics
9. Poems by Jackie Curtis
10. Misc. Writing [unidentified dialogue]
11. Scrapbook Collages
12. Journal: Parousia S.O.M. The King of Fict.
13. Wild Orchids [Book of Poems by Jackie Curtis]
14. Red Movie, Projection Womb [2 stories, poem & misc. writing]
15. Misc. Writing by Jackie Curtis

Box 2

16. Photo Diary [from Peter Groby 1979-1982]
17. Journal [undated, random notes, lists]
18. Diary 1985
19. Scrapbook
20. Scrapbook
21. Scrapbook
22. Scrapbook
23. Journal [about movies, actors]
24. Address book 1977
25. Misc. Personal Notes & Receipts
26. Jackie Curtis Resumes, Mailing List, Agent List
27. Letters & Postcards from Friends
28. Lawyer Letter to Landlord, Mark Upton IOU, Hospital release
29. Letter from Therapist, Medicaid Records, Hospital Card, Prescriptions

Box 3

30. Family Letters
31. Misc. Notes & Letters to Jackie
32. Funeral Card, Ellen Stewart Memorial Poem
33. Eulogy by Glen Orr
34. Stars Fell in Alabama [poem for Jackie Curtis, unknown author]
35. Autograph book
36. Autographed Photos & Programs
37. Jackie Curtis Directors chair back
38. 45 RPM Record [inscribed to Debbie Kane]
39. WR: Mysteries of the Organism [book]
40. WR: Mysteries of the Organism [press information for film]
41. The Language of Flowers [book]
42. Ashes of Roses by Robert Perry [book, poetry]
43. Poetry Project [flyers, posters, programs]
44. Reviews and Interviews [newspaper clippings]
45. NYB Magazine “The Familiar Made Unfamiliar” by Jackie Curtis as told to Charles Austin
46. Details Magazine 1985 [article by Penny Arcade]
47. Selfish Lullaby: The Story of Jackie Curtis by David Dalton & Jackie Curtis
48. Tangerine #8 1/2 [Magazine: Tribute to Jackie]

Box 4

49. inter/VIEW with Eric Emerson
50. “Jackie” by Gerald Dugan [Play Script & Letter]
51. Cabaret Show: Posters, Ads, Photos
52. Sheet Music
53. Yearbook: School of Art & Design 1964
54. 50th Anniversary Program
55. Press Releases, Publicity Clips
56. Jackie Curtis Nightclub Act 1984
57. Programs from Play/Script Readings
58. Metamorphemyth [play script]
59. Champagne by Jackie Curtis [original play script]
60. Champagne by Jackie Curtis [scripts with notations]
61. Champagne [script with collage cover, notes]
62. Poster & Program for Champagne
63. Cock Strong, Playhouse of the Ridiculous, Cafe La Mama [photo album]
64. Program for Cock Strong
65. Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit [promo flyer, ad]
66. Astral World by Jackie Curtis [play script 1976]
67. Blood Red Rose [P.R. photo & song lyrics]
68. Strangers When We Meet [script about Andy Warhol’s Factory]

Box 5

69. Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit [script]
70. Born Too Late or the Cinema Du Mah Mind [script & music for cabaret act 1981]
71. Astral World [play script]
72. Copyright certificate, Astral World
73. Glamour, Glory and Gold by Jackie Curtis [play scripts w/ notes]
74. Glamour, Glory and Gold [promo material, reviews]
75. Glamour, Glory and Gold by Jackie Curtis [intro by Joey Preston]
76. Theodora: A new Musical Comedy by Jackie Curtis [script]
77. The World 38 [book of poetry including “The Star” by Jackie Curtis]
78. Andy Warhol presents Women In Revolt [screenplay]
79. Tyrone X by Nick Markovich [Jackie Curtis’ script]
80. The Francis Farmer Story by Nick Markovich [play script]

Box 6

81. Lucky Wonderful: A Musical Comedy [Book by Jackie Curtis, Music & Lyrics by Paul Benedict]
82. Astral World [first draft script]
83. Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit [script, intro by Craig Highberger]
84. Vain Victory by Jackie Curtis [play script]
85. Vain Victory by Jackie Curtis [script, intro by Craig Highberger]
86. Vain Victory by Jackie Curtis [script]
87. Jackie by Gerald Dugan [play script 1986]
88. Photos of Friends
89. Contents of small Photo book
90. Lucky Wonderful Rehearsal Photos
91. Photos from Parties and Plays

Box 7

92. Photos, Young Jackie Curtis [teenage]
93. Tyrone X [play program, P.R. clips, photos]
94. I Died Yesterday PR packet, Photos of Jackie as Frances Farmer
95. Vain Victory [photos, promo material, reviews]
96. Jackie Curtis Photos [slides]
97. Press Releases
98. The Trojan Women & Performance for Peace [programs]
99. Contact Proofs & Negatives
100. Jackie Curtis Photos [headshots & P.R. photos]
101. Family & Childhood Photos


Box 8

102. Calendars 1983, 1984, 1985
103. Photos and Clippings [large portfolio]
104. Photos and Clippings [large portfolio]
105. Jackie in I Died Yesterday [large photo prints by photographer Gerry Vezzuso]