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28 October 2014

Black Parrot Tea Shoppe Hobo-Hemia, raided 1923

In February 1923 the Charles Street Police Station in Manhattan was paying special attention to Greenwich Village. Deputy Inspector Joseph A. Howard and Captain Edward J. Dempsey of the Charles Street Station, and a party of ten detectives visited each tearoom and cabaret.

Detectives Joseph Massie and Dewey Hughes of the Special Service Squad were assigned to the Black Parrot Tea Shoppe Hobo-Hemia, 46 Charles Street, to witness what they had been informed would be a “circus", and arrested five women and eight men.

However on closer inspection, Ruby Bernhammer 21 from West Hoboken, New Jersey, did not meet their definition of a woman. Bernhammer was charged with disorderly conduct for giving an indecent dance, and they gave her name as 'Harry'.

Another arrested was Arthur C. Budd also 21 who worked as a female impersonator in “The Lady in Ermine” at The Century Theater under the name Rosebud.

The next day the local magistrate dismissed charges against all but the proprietors of the Black Parrot. Rosebud lost his job at The Century Theatre, but was working again the next year.
  • "Village Raid Nets 4 Women and 9 Men: Detectives Thought They Had Five Females, but Misjudged One Person by Clothing”. New York Times, February 5, 1923: 17.
  • "Board Ship to Get Big Liquor Agent". New York Times, February 6, 1923: 23.
  • "Cabaret" column. Variety, February 15, 1923: 30.
  • Chad Heap Slumming Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885-1940. University of Chicago Press,2009: 353.
  • "Mae West: Rosebud". Mae West, July 26, 2008. http://maewest.blogspot.ca/2008/07/mae-west-rosebud.html.
IBDB(Arthur C Budd)   
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In contradiction to the New York Times, Variety claimed that the one “togged up in complete female attire” was Rosebud.

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