Texas Guinan

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Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan (January 12, 1884 – November 5, 1933) was an American saloon keeper, actress, and entrepreneur.


Early life

Guinan was one of five siblings born in Waco, Texas to Irish-Canadian immigrants Michael and Bessie (née Duffy) Guinan. She attended parochial school at the Loretta Convent in Waco. When she was 16 years old, her family moved to Denver, Colorado where she was in amateur stage productions and played the organ in church. Guinan married John Moynahan, a cartoonist for the Rocky Mountain News, on December 2, 1904. The union was childless. Moynahan's career took them to Chicago, where Guinan studied music before divorcing him and starting her career as a professional singer. She toured regional vaudeville with some success, but became known less for her singing than for her entertaining "wild west"-related patter.[citation needed]

Career rise

In 1906 she moved to New York City, where she found work as a chorus girl before making a career for herself in national Vaudeville and in New York theater productions. In 1917, "Texas" Guinan made her film debut in a silent film called The Wildcat. She became the United States' first movie cowgirl, nicknamed "The Queen of the West". She claimed she had a sojourn in France, entertaining the troops during World War I.

Prohibition years, "300 Club"

She was one of the first female emcees. Upon the introduction of Prohibition, she opened a speakeasy called the 300 Club at 151 W. 54th Street in New York City. The club became famous for its troupe of forty scantily-clad fan dancers and for Guinan's distinctive aplomb, which made her a celebrity. Arrested several times for serving alcohol and providing entertainment, she always claimed that the patrons had brought the liquor in with them, and the club was so small that the girls had to dance so close to the customers. Guinan maintained that she had never sold an alcoholic drink in her life.[citation needed]

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