Gallery One
    Gallery Two
    Gallery Three
     Gallery Four
     Gallery Five
     Gallery Six
     Gallery Seven
     Gallery Eight
Gallery Nine
    Gallery Ten
     Gallery Eleven
     Gallery Twelve
     Gallery Thirteen
     Gallery Fourteen
     Gallery Fifteen
    Gallery Sixteen
    Gallery Seventeen
     Gallery Eighteen
     Gallery Nineteen




Vent Haven Museum

Home  William S. Berger   ConVENTion  Multimedia Figure of the Month FAQ


1138.jpg (41186 bytes)Gallery Four: Harry "The Great" Lester (14 images)

"The Great Lester" was arguably the greatest ventriloquist of the vaudeville era. If Edgar Bergen is the father of modern ventriloquism, then Lester would be the grandfather. Lester was a world renowned ventriloquist at the turn of the 20th Century, and along with his figure, Frank Byron, Jr., entertained thousands. In later years Lester was a noted teacher of ventriloquism, and his students include, among many others, Edgar Bergen himself. In fact, a written testimonial by Bergen stating that the Great Lester is the greatest of all ventriloquists and the greatest of all teachers of ventriloquism hangs on the wall of the Josephine Berger Memorial Building at Vent Haven. And it was a performance by the Great Lester, which W.S. Berger viewed as a young man early in the 20th century, which inspired Berger to begin collecting the ventriloquist memorabilia that eventually became Vent Haven. 

Below and to the left above are 14 of the many photos of Lester from the Vent Haven collection. The first six are portraits of Lester alone as a young man. The next five show Lester with the figure that made him famous, Frank Byron, Jr. (who is currently a resident of Vent Haven Museum). The final three are photos of Lester later in his life. The first two are Lester with a figure named Broadway Eddie, which Lester used in his later years. The third photo shows Lester with an unknown figure. Interested website visitors might want to pay particular attention to the signatures of the photos below, which often contain interesting information, as Lester was aware of Berger's desire to capture the history of ventriloquism and was himself very interested in seeing it preserved. Most of these photos, in fact, have long paragraphs written on the rear describing the photo and when it was taken. Viewers might also be interested in the framed boards behind Lester in the final photograph. These were teaching instruments used in his ventriloquism coaching. These boards are also now a part of the Vent Haven archives.

 136.jpg (53708 bytes) 1435.jpg (40251 bytes) 182.jpg (49002 bytes) 1072.jpg (38504 bytes) 174.jpg (46381 bytes)

02.jpg (87277 bytes) 03.jpg (51056 bytes) 1468.jpg (44841 bytes) 190.jpg (74523 bytes) 705.jpg (67296 bytes)

162.jpg (76083 bytes) 176.jpg (84184 bytes) 169.jpg (79510 bytes)


Copyright 2007 Vent Haven Museum
Home | W.S. Berger | ConVENTion | Multimedia | Figure of the Month | FAQ | Contact Us