MCNY Blog: New York Stories

Iconic photos of a changing city, and commentary on our Collections & Exhibitions from the crew at

Gertrude Hoffman and the Dance That Offended Public Decency

Gertrude Hoffman_clipping

The Museum’s ongoing exhibition Activist New York recently debuted a new case study that explores the battle over birth control and obscenity laws that raged in New York at the turn of the 19th century. A visitor to the new “Social Purity” case will notice a photograph of a scantily clad woman lounging in front of a lion skin. This is the dancer Gertrude Hoffman (sometimes spelled Hoffmann), and it was her portrayal of the princess Salome and her subsequent arrest that earned her a spot in Activist.

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This entry was posted on August 3, 2017 by in Exhibitions, Theater Collection.

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