|Birth name||Elida Mary Morris|
|Also known as||Elida Morris Cooper|
November 12, 1886|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
|Died||December 25, 1977
Santa Barbara, California, United States
|Genres||Popular music, vaudeville|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, comedienne, actress|
She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She started her career in minstrel shows, and first recorded for Victor Records in 1910. A soprano, she also recorded for Columbia. Her successful solo recordings included "Kiss Me, My Honey, Kiss Me" (1910) and "If I Had Someone At Home Like You" (1914). One of her successes in 1910 was "Stop, Stop, Stop (Come Over and Love Me Some More)", written by Irving Berlin, which she sang with "considerable rhythmic and melodic freedom... speaking the key words "Stop, stop, stop" in an obviously provocative way".
She sang in the new "syncopated" style, and was sometimes described as a "coon shouter". In a 1912 Victor catalog, she was described as "The Girl Who Chases Away All Gloom". She recorded "Play Me a Good Old-Fashioned Melody" in 1912; the sheet music cover showed her as a male impersonator, but it is unclear whether this was a regular part of her vaudeville performances. She also recorded in duos with Billy Murray ("Angel Eyes", 1910), Walter Van Brunt ("I've Got Your Number", 1911), and Sam Ash ("Hello, Frisco!", from Ziegfeld Follies of 1915).
She appeared in The Passing Show of 1916, a novelty vaudeville show starring Ed Wynn. The programme notes report her as saying: "I would love a husband... if I could find one that suited. I would just love to be the boss, you understand, if I launched into matrimony, because it is the age of equal rights and I just love the suffrage idea." She also sang in opera. She made at least four trips to perform in England between 1912 and 1920, and also performed in France and South Africa.
In 1923 she married Norwood R. Cooper, and retired from the stage. She became one of the founder members of the Women's Aeronautical Association, an organisation to which Amelia Earhart also belonged. In 1932 she launched a vocal training studio in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, and in World War Two she became Director of Volunteer Camp Shows, booking stars to entertain US troops. She was reportedly still active in her church choir in 1973.
She died in Santa Barbara, California in 1977 at the age of 91.
- US Passport Application, 1912. Retrieved 4 June 2013
- Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954: The History of American Popular Music. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 324. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
- Victor Records discography. Retrieved 4 June 2013
- Charles Hamm, Genre, Performance and Ideology in the Early Songs of Irving Berlin, in Simon Frith (ed.), Popular music. Vol. 3: Popular music analysis, Routledge, 2004, p.61
- Liner notes to Come Josephine in my Flying Machine: Inventions and Topics in Popular Song 1910-1929, New World Records. Retrieved 5 June 2013
- The Mainspring Press Record Collectors' Blog, 100 Years Ago at the Victor Talking Machine Company: Highlights from the April 1912 Catalog, 30 March 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2013
- Elida Morris, male impersonator, 1912, at Queer Music Heritage. Retrieved 4 June 2013
- IMDb: The Passing Show of 1916. Retrieved 4 June 2013
- US Passport Application, 1917. Retrieved 4 June 2013
- US Passport Application, 1918. Retrieved 4 June 2013
- US Passport Application, 1920. Retrieved 4 June 2013
- Philadelphia, PA, Marriage Index, 1923. Retrieved 4 June 2013
- The Van Nuys News, November 1, 1932, p.4