|Birth name||Loretta Mary Aiken|
March 19, 1894|
Brevard, North Carolina, U.S.
|Died||May 23, 1975
White Plains, New York, U.S.
|Medium||vaudeville, television, stand-up, film|
Early years 
Mabley was born in Brevard, North Carolina. Although she always claimed a birthdate of 1894 and that she was one of a family of twenty children, the 1900 Federal Census shows "Loretter Aiken" in Brevard was born in March 1897 and was the youngest of four (out of five) surviving children of James P. and Mary Aiken. Her father owned and operated several businesses, while her mother kept house and took in boarders. Her father died in an accident when Loretta was eleven. In 1910, her mother took over their primary business, a general store.
James Aiken's father, Henry Aiken, was part white. His mother, Bettie, was able to read and write in the 1870 census, five years after the abolition of slavery, which suggests she may have been a free woman of color. Loretta Mabley's genealogist, D. Richmond, wrote: "She has a very interesting lineage worth researching." 
By the age of fifteen, Mabley had been raped twice and had two children who were given up for adoption. She was pressured by her stepfather to marry a much older man, but was encouraged by her grandmother to strike out on her own. Mabley ran away to Cleveland, Ohio, joining a traveling minstrel show, where she sang and entertained.
She took her stage name, Jackie Mabley, from an early boyfriend, commenting to Ebony in a 1970s interview that he'd taken so much from her, it was the least she could do to take his name. Later she became known as "Moms" because she was indeed a "Mom" to many other comedians on the circuit in the 1950s and 1960s. She came out as a lesbian at the age of twenty-seven, becoming one of the first triple-X rated comedians on the comedy circuit.
During the 1920s and 1930s she appeared in androgynous clothing (as she did in the film version of The Emperor Jones with Paul Robeson) and recorded several of her early "lesbian stand-up" routines. Mabley was one of the top women doing stand-up in her heyday, eventually recording more than 20 albums of comedy routines. She appeared in movies, on television, and in clubs, and performed at the Michigan Women's Festival shortly before her death in 1975.
Mabley was one of the most successful entertainers of the Chitlin' circuit, earning US$10,000 a week at Harlem's Apollo Theater at the height of her career. She made her New York City debut at Connie's Inn in Harlem. In the 1960s, she become known to a wider white audience, playing Carnegie Hall in 1962, and making a number of mainstream TV appearances, particularly her multiple appearances on the The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour when that CBS show was the number one show on television in the late 1960s, which introduced her to a whole new Boomer audience.
Mabley was billed as "The Funniest Woman in the World"; she tackled topics too edgy for many other comics of the time, including racism. One of her regular themes was a romantic interest in handsome young men rather than old "washed-up geezers," and she got away with it courtesy of her stage persona, where she appeared as a toothless, bedraggled woman in a house dress and floppy hat. She also added the occasional satirical song to her jokes, and her cover version of "Abraham, Martin and John" hit #35 on the Hot 100 on 19 July 1969. At 75 years and 4 months old, Moms Mabley became the oldest person ever to have a US Top 40 hit.
She had four children (aside from the two who were given up for adoption when she was a teenager) and five grandchildren.
Mabley died in White Plains, New York in 1975 at the White Plains Hospital where she had been a patient for six weeks, from heart failure. She was survived by her children, Bonnie, Christine, Charles, and Yvonne Ailey. Funeral services were held at Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church. She is interred at Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York.
- 1967 The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
- 1969 The Ed Sullivan Show
- 1970 The Bill Cosby Show
- 1900 Federal Census for Brevard Township south part Town of Brevard, Transylvania County, North Carolina Enumeration District 112, Page 24, Line 27
- "Jackie "Moms" Mabley". The African American Registry. 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-22.[dead link]
- "Monday Mar. 19, 2012". The Writer's Almanac. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- Kliph Nesteroff (26 August 2007). "Moms Mabley - Agitation in Moderation". WFMU's Beware of the Blog. WFMU-New York. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
- "Moms Mabley: She Finally Makes the Movies". Ebony. April 1974. p. 88. "But instead of making a name for Loretta Aiken during this time, Moms was taking a name from a man named Jack Mabley. 'Jack was my first boyfriend,' Moms says... 'He took a lot off me and the least I could do was take his name.'"
- Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical ...Keith Stern - Page 295
- "Moms Mabley". Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. 2009. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
- Jackie Mabley pics-celeb.com Retrieved 2010-10-30
- Appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 21 Jan 1972
- Leslie Bennets (9 August 1987). "The Pain Behind The Laughter of Moms Mabley". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- Alden Reimonenq (9 October 2007). "The Harlem Renaissance". glbtq Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
- "Moms Mabley Biography". St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Thomson Gale. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- M.Cordell Thompson (24 July 1975). "Moms Mabley Leaves $½ Million Estate". Jet. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
- United Press International, "'Moms' Mabley Dead at 75", Playground Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Sunday 25 May 1975, Volume 30, Number 92, page 6A.
- Internet archive free download available
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Moms Mabley|
- Agitation in Moderation: The Moms Mabley Story by Kliph Nesteroff
- Moms Mabley at Find a Grave
- Moms Mabley at the Internet Broadway Database
- Moms Mabley at the Internet Movie Database