LaDonna LaMoore Collection


LaDonna LaMoore Collection


This collection contains award plaques, photographs, and video belonging to LaDonna LaMoore (aka Virgil Bo Swaitek) from her career as a drag performer.

LaDonna LaMoore, (born May 14th, 1963 and raised in Cooksburg, PA) is a Hottelville-based drag performer. LaDonna began performing in drag after moving to Pittsburgh 1983 with friends from her hometown. After a close friend pushed her into entering the 1986 Miss Pegasus Pageant at Pegasus Lounge, she met her future drag mother, Miss Cassie (aka Bruce Kovac, Miss Pittsburgh 1983) and became connected with a wide network of performers.

LaDonna continued to perform in pageants, benefits, and shows around the city, as well as in nearby Ohio, while still working as a bartender and waiter at various gay nightclubs through the 1980s, including the Norreh (1227 Herron Ave), the Crossover (1241 Western Avenue), Zack’s 4th Avenue (333 Fourth Avenue), the Arena Health Club (2025 Forbes Avenue) and the House of Tilden (941 Liberty Avenue), as well as East End Floral (236 Shady Avenue), and at Kaufman’s north side warehouse.

LaDonna currently holds the titles of Miss Norreh 1987, Miss Pennsylvania USA 1990, Miss Congeniality of Miss Pennsylvania USA 1991, Miss Continental Pennsylvania 1989, Miss Pennsylvania Entertainer of the Year 1991 as well as the 1993 “Dedication to Female Impersonation Award presented by M.B.D. Productions.

LaDonna’s personal collection was donated to the PQHP archives on July 26 2018 following an oral history interview with Harrison Apple in October of 2017. Though she had kept a large collection of costumes, videotapes, and photographs from her career, a house fire destroyed a significant amount of her belongings. This collection reflects some of her connection to and influence on the city on stage.
Three types of materials pertaining to LaDonna's drag career in the 1990s can be found in this collection:

Plaques: Awards received by LaDonna during her career. These date 1990-1993.

Photographs: One photograph of LaDonna dating to 1990.

Videos: One VHS-to-DVD transfer of Miss Gay USA Pennsylvania 1990. The VHS tape itself survived a house fire in which much of LaDonna's other possessions were destroyed. LaDonna had the tape digitized and donated a copy of the DVD to the PQHP.




LaDonna LaMoore (donor)


Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC 3.0 US)
These materials may be shared and adapted for non-commercial purposes, but the materials must be attributed to the Pittsburgh Queer History Project. Please see the Creative Commons license website for details.




1 linear foot
1.18 GB


These materials were donated by LaDonna LaMoore in June 2018. Photographs and scans were taken by H. Apple and D. Lamorte at that time.
Accession 2018-04.

Items in the LaDonna LaMoore Collection Collection