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In 1847 the London & Brighton Railway ordered a new locomotive from the E. B. Wilson Railway Foundry at Leeds. David Joy was given the task of designing what became known as the Jenny Lind. The Jenny Lind differed from contemporary locomotives in having inside bearings for the driving wheels, and outside framing and bearings for the leading and trailing wheels. The Jenny Lind was an immediate success and the Wilson Railway Foundry was soon producing one of these locomotives per week for railway companies all over Britain.
About The Jenny Lind House
This building was nick-named after the nineteenth-century opera star, Jenny Lind, also known as "The Swedish Nightingale". History has it that she stayed in Yellow Springs during the Philadelphia portion of her P. T. Barnum-sponsored concert tour in 1850. The tour began when she sailed into New York Harbor and was greeted by a crowd of more than 30,000 New Yorkers. The astounding thing about her reception is that no one in America had ever heard her voice. Thanks to the showmanship of P. T. Barnum, her tour was a remarkable success. The first ticket to a Jenny Lind concert in America was sold for $225, an expensive concert ticket by today's standards and a simply staggering amount in 1850. Most of the tickets to Jenny Lind's first concert sold for about six dollars, but the publicity surrounding someone paying more than $200 for a ticket served its purpose. People across America read about it, and it seemed the whole country was curious to hear Jenny Lind sing. She continued performing in America until she returned to Europe in 1852.
About the village of Yellow Springs
During the colonial period, the mineral springs in the village attracted hundreds of bathers a day and it remained a spa until 1865, except for four years (1777-1781) during the Revolutionary War. The first Inn (our previous location) dated from the 1760's and served as General George Washington's headquarters during the Battle of Brandywine. For four years Yellow Springs was the site of the only hospital officially authorized by the Continental Congress. That building later served from 1869 to 1912 as a Soldiers Orphans School for the children of Civil War veterans.
When the number of Civil War orphans declined to the vanishing point, the School was put up for sale and was eventually purchased by The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Thousands of students from the United States and abroad attended the school, which by the 1930's also offered teacher certification in the fine arts for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Instruction. Although regular classes were only conducted in the summer, instructors from the PAFA visited throughout the year to offer students criticism of their work. A newspaper wrote in 1925 that "the rare charm of the old Revolutionary place and its delectable countryside have made possible the only summer school of art in the United States of this sort, a school where students live together for four months and not only learn from their instructors but from the give-and-take of constant daily foregathering."
Art students sketched and studied in the Portico which connected the Lincoln building (currently the Library) and the Inn. They also worked in the Chester Springs Studio, which was originally built as a stable. The East Meadows was the site of the spa's bath houses, a gazebo, and a pool house dating to the 1830's the West Meadows contain the restored "Oriental Bog Gardens" originally built in the 1920's for the art students to sketch. Four other houses, including this one, became residences for students.
Across the old tennis court behind the Studio is a path that leads to the "Oriental Bog Gardens" originally installed in the 1920's to provide inspiration and subject matter for students at the Country School. There are also two historic springhouses, one of which was also named after Jenny Lind. Legend has it that she was lowered into the pool on a swing during a private bathing session.
The Crystal Diamond Springhouse, c. 1840, houses a magnesium spring whose waters are crystal clear and sparkle like diamonds. It has a unique diamond shaped pool as well as a diamond shaped opening in the roof. The interior of both springhouses can be viewed through openwork iron doors. A wood chip path leads you through the lush gardens.
"Of the various watering places and rural retreats which invite the languid, the listless, or the laborious citizen to invigorate his system, to relax from the fatigues of business, or to restore his declining health, none certainly combines so many advantages as this delightful spot. Its proximity to the city, the salubrity of the air, the purity of the water, the coldness and clearness of the bath, the fertility of the soil, and the variegated scenery which surrounds it, all conspire to charm the senses, and to sooth, and exhilarate the mind."
(From a series on American Scenery in The Port Folio, 1810).
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Jenny Lind - History
Due to illness, lack of food, and lodging, the majority left the group in Andover and went their separate ways. Only Pastor Esbjörn and a handful of his faithful followers remained in Andover to build the first church. Construction began in 1851. Lumber which was to have been used for the church was lost when cholera struck. The basement of the church became a hospital for the people with cholera. There is no steeple because the wood was needed for coffins. The 45-by-30-foot church was finished in 1854.
The church was later named after world-renowned Swedish singer Jenny Lind, who donated $1,500 toward its construction while she was on a concert tour in the eastern United States. However, she never saw the church or visited Andover.
The church was considered a masterpiece when it was new and could accommodate, at the most, 300 people. At one time, a rectangular hole was cut in the sanctuary floor so that people in the basement could hear the service.
Hundreds of settlers died of cholera in the early 1850s and are buried in mass graves in the chapel cemetery and a block south and a block north of the chapel.
This photograph shows a base relief by Bror Hjort depicting Paul Esbjörn and his wife Amalia standing in front of the chapel. The relief is located in the Lutheran Church, Ostervåla, Sweden.
The congregation grew so large that Augustana Lutheran Church was built, across the street a block away. Construction began in 1867 and the building was completed in 1870. Church members traveled from all around the area, from the Quad-Cities to Galesburg, to worship in the new church.
In 1870 a meeting occurred in Andover at which the Norwegian group separated from what had been known as the Scandinavian Lutheran Augustana Synod. It was a peaceable event. After the last joint session in the new church, the Norwegians went over to the chapel to organize their own body. There was disagreement among them with the result that one part eventually founded Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and the other, Augsburg College and Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. They formed the Norwegian-Danish Augustana Synod and, "on both sides the fervent hope was voiced that, as hitherto we had been united in love, so henceforth we might sustain toward each other the relationship of sister synods."
The little chapel continued to be used for various church functions until 1947. The chapel was given its name in 1948 as it was presented to the Augustana Synod.
Over the years it fell into disrepair. In 1973, Conrad Bergendoff, president emeritus of Augustana College, spearheaded a drive to restore and maintain Jenny Lind Chapel. The work paid off with a listing in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The Chapel, on a seven-acre site, is now owned and managed by the Northern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Part of the brick foundation on the west wall is exposed, as is one of the huge timber support beams in the basement ceiling. The bricks were made by the settlers from clay on land near the Chapel.
During restoration, the Chapel's basement was converted into a museum through the work of Hortense and Everett Lindorff. The museum has many artifacts and much history of the early settlers, including immigrants' letters written in Swedish, which Dr. Bergendoff translated to English.
Dr. Bergendoff's contributions to the restoration and museum live on today in an audiotaped narration of the history of the settlers and Chapel, which museum visitors can listen to.
The Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, located at Augustana College, is a national archives and research institute providing resources for the study of Swedish immigration to North America, the communities the immigrants established, and the role the immigrants and their descendants have played in American life. Here is a tabulation of the records they have archived for the Jenny Lind Chapel.
Jenny Lind’s American Tour
Dubbed “The Swedish Nightingale,” Jenny Lind was one of the most famous sopranos in history. She also was an exceptionally shrewd businesswoman.
More than a century before the Beatles mesmerized screaming American audiences and launched the “British invasion” in popular music, another European performer took the country by storm. Jenny Lind, initially famous as a stage star from England and France to her native Sweden, came abroad at the behest of legendary promoter P.T. Barnum.
She did not come cheaply. The terms she demanded were so extravagant they drove Barnum to the brink of bankruptcy and placed his entrepreneurial future at great risk. In the end, however, she more than proved her worth.
The Swedish Nightingale
Born 6 October 1820 in Stockholm, Johanna Maria Lind was gifted with a rare singing voice that came to the attention of operatic performers and instructors when she was a child. At about age 10, she was enrolled at the Royal Theater School in Stockholm, studying voice and drama and performing onstage.
As her soprano voice developed during her teen years, she became a noted attraction with the Royal Swedish Opera. Her professional career proceeded rapidly after her stellar performance in Der Freischütz, a German romantic opera by Carl Maria von Weber, at age 18.
Jenny Lind’s nickname “Swedish Nightingale” was taken from one of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, “The Nightingale.” Andersen during the early 1840s met and fell in love with her, but she declined to marry him. (Among her other unsuccessful suitors was composer Felix Mendelssohn.)
By the time she was 30, she had emerged as one of Europe’s most popular performers. In America, thanks to an advance blitz of newspaper coverage drummed up by master marketer Barnum, she was destined to become a superstar.
Lind Breaks Barnum’s Bank Accounts
She would tour the United States, Lind told Barnum, only on guaranteed, pricey contractual conditions. She would need full orchestral accompaniment, with a noted conductor and accompanying baritone. She needed a sizeable complement of assistants. She wanted private carriages to transport her around the cities on her tour.
And she demanded $1,000 for each performance.
Barnum accepted the deal, but Lind was skeptical he had the means to meet her terms. As security, he had to come up with $187,500 in advance.
This represented an astounding fortune in 1850. Barnum was able to raise just more than $180,000 and had to borrow the rest.
Barnum’s Gamble Pays Dividends
Barnum was a showman who knew well how to generate newspaper headlines. He promoted Lind not just as a soprano par excellence but as a generous benefactress of worthy causes. All her life, Lind frequently gave free benefit concerts for hospitals, educational facilities, churches and other entities, as well as individuals in need.
At the time, Lind was virtually unknown in the United State. So effectively did Barnum publicize Lind’s arrival in advance, though, that a throng of 40,000 crowded the dock to greet her ship in New York Harbor. People were jostled into the water several dozen were trampled.
She opened her American tour with a series of concerts, the first of them for charity, at New York City’s Castle Garden in September 1850. From the outset, standing-room-only was the rule. Some enthusiasts paid hundreds of dollars for a ticket.
Reviewers and fans alike agreed she deserved her fee. Performing a variety of music, from folk songs to operatic pieces, she charmed every audience. So enthralling was her voice that the bedazzled orchestra reportedly neglected to play at one of the rehearsals.
New York, Boston, New Orleans, Havana—scores of cities and towns were swept up in the tidal wave of enthusiasm for the young celebrity. In Washington, DC, congress adjourned and many high government officials were in her audience at the National Theater.
Lind’s American tour generated more than $700,000, of which Lind personally earned a quarter of a million. She delivered more than 100 performances during her 20 months in the United States.
A Wealthy Jenny Lind Returns to Europe
Jenny Lind married her accompanist, Otto Goldschmidt, in February 1852 while in the United States. She concluded her American tour at the end of May and returned to Europe. Having achieved unprecedented success and recognition on two continents, she semi-retired from performance.
Her earnings from the United States tour helped provide her with the means establish a music academy in Stockholm. She continued to donate to various causes. She also served for a time as vocal instructor at the Royal College of Music in her native city.
Many people profited from the fame Jenny Lind achieved with her American tour. Barnum recovered his investment several times over. He also began a branding sequence that continues today. A wide array of products and places, from sewing machines to cigars, parks to pubs, have been graced with the “Jenny Lind” label during the past 160 years.
Jenny Lind – the Swedish Nightingale
Whilst it is undoubtedly quality entertainment, the 2017 Hollywood film The Greatest Showman should not be taken as an accurate history lesson… However, among all the drama, singing and dancing, it does portray some facts P.T. Barnum did start small and end up as a household name he did bring ‘The Swedish Nightingale’ to the United States and make her tour a success like never before. Indeed, the concert tour amassed him a sizeable fortune, and the humble Scandinavian singer donated her own share – which was by no means small – to charities of her choice.
According to Francis Rogers who wrote an article on her in The Musical Quarterly in the 1940s, Jenny Lind was not the greatest and most magnificent singer of her time. 1 On the contrary, Rogers claims, her amazing fame was mostly due to luck and catchy marketing that made people so interested in her that when they heard her voice – which was not bad by any means – they thought they heard something that was out of this world. Using the material found in Gale Primary Sources, one can see exactly how the media praised Jenny Lind and her voice so strongly, even suggesting she was the greatest songstress there had ever been. She was already applauded by newspapers before her tour of the United States, where P.T. Barnum comes into the story, and from there, her fame only grew. In the newspapers of the time, one can see how P.T. Barnum, “The Greatest Showman,” used the media to create a kind of “Lind mania” that had never been seen before. Some of the reporters noticed this manipulation at the time, but it did not stop the hype.
Born in 1821 in Stockholm, Sweden, Jenny Lind is said to have developed an interest in music from a young age. As the Chelmsford Chronicle writes, at the age of nine, Jenny was spotted by an actress who persuaded her parents to let her study music. She was deemed talented by a manager of a theatre, and she soon appeared on the stage. Working with diligence and devotion to music, she was on her way to becoming a star of the nineteenth-century music world. Having already performed in Berlin and Vienna, among other places in Europe, Jenny Lind made her debut in London in 1847, with Queen Victoria in the audience.
By early Autumn 1850, her concerts were amazingly popular in Britain. Looking back on it 165 years later, the Bury and Norwich Post summarises this well for us. According to the paper, Jenny Lind’s concert audiences in Britain were in the thousands, and the tickets caught “fabulous prices”. Her voice was praised to the heavens – she even had to take a break from singing to avoid damaging her voice.
Jenny Lind was a superstar in the United States even before her arrival, and she was welcomed with great crowds and ceremonies. A week after her entry to the country, the Weekly Herald committed almost a full page to her arrival in New York, reporting on all that had happened during her first six first days in the country. Tickets to her first concert, to be given at Castle Garden during the following week, were auctioned and the prices paid for the best seats were enormous. As the Weekly Herald reports, all tickets that were not bought at the auction were sold at a price of three dollars each – which would be almost 100 dollars today. In October, The Times also commented on Jenny Lind’s first month in the United States, describing her concerts and other activities. According to the newspaper, at least 8000 people were present in the first two of her New York concerts. Indeed, she was so popular at attracting crowds of admirers that she had to resort to tricks in order to travel in peace!
Jenny Lind’s first concerts in America took place in Castle Garden – later known as Castle Clinton – an old sea fortress that was turned into an immigration centre a few years after the concerts.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “First Appearance of Jenny Lind in America” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/26a75ed0-c60d-012f-54ca-58d385a7bc34
So just how did P.T. Barnum operate his profit-maximising tour of ‘The Swedish Nightingale’? According to The Times, which relied on the New York Herald for its analysis, Barnum had sent “paid agents about in all directions to get up an excitement.” The resulting commotion was then reported by newspapers, and the news made people even more interested in Jenny Lind than before. The Times writes that Barnum started this well before the Swedish singer had even touched American soil. Thus, by creating a “Lindomania” large enough to fuel the ticket auctions, Barnum was able to make a fortune out of the tour. He also netted money on the hotels Jenny Lind stayed at, says The Times, instead of paying for the accommodation. Come December, Barnum’s show was criticised, again in The Times.
“America.” Times, 28 June 1851, p. 5. The Times Digital Archive, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CS84706524/GDCS?u=uhelsink&sid=GDCS&xid=de72852a
Jenny Lind, a humble Scandinavian through and through, did not exactly enjoy the massive show Barnum staged around her, or his profit-focused mindset. In early June 1851, she cancelled her contract, seven concerts earlier than initially agreed. After she parted ways with Barnum, she continued giving concerts, but with fixed price tickets. In February 1852, she married her pianist, Otto Goldschmidt. Taking on the name Jenny Lindt Goldschmidt, she continued to travel in the United States, visiting Canada on her way, in a very different way from the private railroad car Barnum had arranged her. Instead of high society, she wanted to visit and spend time with normal American people with their everyday lives and worries. In May 1851, she gave a farewell concert at Castle Garden in New York. The repertoire included “Farewell to America”, a song written especially for her departure, with the music composed by her husband. Before she left, on the same ship she arrived on, she once more moved the crowds in New York who wanted one last glimpse of the fair songstress.
After returning to Europe, she first lived in Germany, where she had children with her husband, but moved to England in 1855, and it was there that she spent the rest of her life. 2 She continued to support charities with her singing, but as she aged she did not give as many concerts and lived a more private life. Still, in 1866 she once more appeared in a concert, with The Times still praising her voice. Her fame has lived on even after she died in 1887, with a children’s hospital carrying her name, her new-found fame in The Greatest Showman, and much more.
Pauli is a second-year student in a program ambitiously titled ‘Society and Change’ – there is not enough space to describe it here, if you were wondering! At the University, his main interests are in Political History, in addition to all the other things concerning the History of Civil Society. In his free time he likes cooking, reading, exercising, complaining about politics, and gaming. His latest addiction is reading science fiction by Alastair Reynolds.
Who was Jenny Lind?
Jenny Lind, was a Swedish opera singer, the “Swedish Nightingale”.
In 1850, P. T. Barnum coordinated a tour of the United States. Jenny Lind agreed, to earn money for charities she supported and to endow free education in Sweden.
Although she was already popular throughout Europe, Jenny Lind was not well known in the States. Barnum pulled out all the stops in 6 months of advance publicity, pumping up her celebrity status. Musical entertainment was not very popular in the States and was not at all classy. Barnum was going to change all this by promoting The Divine Jenny’s innocence, benevolence and brilliant voice.
As part of his promotion, he allowed her image to be used to market just about anything, without any payment, to increase her name recognition. By the time she arrived, 40,000 people showed up to greet the arrival of her ship. Appearances were so in demand, tickets were even auctioned to the highest bidder. The concert tour had more and more dates added across the United States and Canada. One concert was at Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. If you tour the cave they will point out various cave features named for her.
The tour was extended to 93 concerts. Even after the amount to go to charity was renegotiated Barnum profited by at least $500,000. Jenny Lind’s charities received about $350,000. This was primarily to Swedish schools, but she was also generous to various local charities and artists wherever her concerts were presented. She gave $5,000 to a photographer, Poly Von Schneidau, which he used to purchase the camera that later took the earliest known image of Abraham Lincoln.
Meet Jenny Lind, one of America's first female celebrities
Long before Hollywood actresses such as Marilyn Monroe and Katharine Hepburn became iconic stars, popular female opera singers of the early to mid-19th century were among the first American celebrities. One of those early American stars was Jenny Lind, nicknamed the "Swedish Nightingale." Just as Monroe's plunging necklines and slinky dresses cast her image as a curvaceous 1950s ideal, and Hepburn's pantsuits and structured shoulder pads cast her with self-confidence and athleticism, Lind's paper dolls showed how the world cast the singer.
Born in Sweden in 1820, Lind had traveled across Europe singing soprano since the age of 11. By the time Lind was 28, she was already set to retire from the operatic stage. The audience for Lind's farewell performance included Queen Victoria, who presented the singer with a gem-encrusted nightingale. While she was the darling of Europe, in 1849 almost no one in the United States knew who Lind was.
By September 1850, however, she was one of the most famous and celebrated women in America, thanks to entrepreneur and showman P. T. Barnum. At his American Museum in New York, Barnum had showcased unique entertainers such as the 25-inch-tall Charles Sherwood Stratton, under the stage name Tom Thumb, but also used his lecture room to feature instructive and moral dramas, making a case for entertainment as an uplifting, positive force in American life. Barnum became convinced that Jenny Lind could not only help him make that case, but also make a fortune.
After her retirement, Lind had been offered several singing tours around the world. But Barnum alone offered Lind a contract that allowed her to choose her own program and musical associates. He also offered to pay her $1,000 per performance, up to $150,000 for a national tour, helping Lind achieve her dream of opening a musical academy for girls in Stockholm. She signed an 18-month contract with Barnum, and eventually performed 150 concerts throughout the United States.
But what was American celebrity culture like back in the mid-19th century?
Though Barnum had not even heard Lind sing before until the first night of the tour in New York City, the businessman created much fanfare in order to attract crowds before the singer arrived. Barnum published several announcements of Lind's arrival in newspapers, advertising the singer's philanthropic nature.
Barnum also created publicity through public events, such as auctioning off tickets to Lind's concerts, which drove up the price from an average of $6.38 per ticket to over $200 for Lind's New York debut. The showman even held a poetic competition, which would furnish the lyrics for a new song that Lind would sing throughout her tour.
This hype prompted more than 30,000 people to witness Lind's steamship arrival into the New York harbor. There were reports that hotel maids were selling Lind's hair after stealing it from the singer's brush, and that men were kissing gloves Lind threw out to the crowd. Promotional and souvenir consumer products contributed to "Lindomania," as Jenny Lind gloves, bonnets, hats, shawls, chairs, pianos, cigars, and even paper dolls were sold throughout the country.
This set of paper dolls contains one female figure and a set of 10 costumes, each representing a different opera character. Lind's name and image can be found both inside and outside the box. While homemade paper dolls have a long history, the first manufactured paper doll was the London toy firm S & J Fuller's "Little Fanny," produced in 1810. Celebrity paper dolls soon followed in the 1830s, with the Lind dolls among the first.
Objects depicting the singer often ascribed values to her. The majority of the products were designed for middle-class households and portrayed Lind with purity, humility, and charity. Often Lind was shown on these objects shyly turned away from the viewer, plainly dressed, or even next to a cross. When displayed at home, these Lind objects could connect the owner's moral character to that attributed to the singer.
However, this Jenny Lind paper doll has ornate costumes—unlike the actual singer who chose to perform in a simple white dress throughout her American tour. The elaborate clothing of this paper doll could be an allusion to the singer's European heritage, at a time when Renaissance culture was popular.
Other than maintaining her trademark hairstyle, many representations of Jenny Lind are disparate. In fact, the Lind paper doll features blond hair rather than the singer's brunette locks.
In portraits, Lind appeared as an average bourgeois female, not a world-renowned celebrity. Her clothing and makeup were plain. In fact, Lind supporter and poet Nathaniel Parker Willis complained that the likeness of Lind was never quite like "the picture in our mind's eye." Perhaps this was because Jenny Lind was a woman to whom American audiences could relate and could even aspire to be. Therefore, images of Lind became more representational of an idealized respectable woman, whom one could project values onto, rather than realistic portraits of the singer.
Regan Shrumm is an intern in the Division of Culture and the Arts. She recently finished her master's degree in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Victoria.
This disttict is between the towns of Jenny Lind and Milton in western Calaveras County. It extends west into eastern San Joaquin and north-eastern Stanislaus Counties. The area was first worked during the gold rush, and later hydraulicked. There was dredging here from 1903 until about 1940 and also small-scale lode mining. The district has yielded more than 100,000 ounces of gold.
The gold values are in river gravels and floodplain deposits in and adjacent to the Calaveras River. There are older terrace and shore gravels, some of which are overlain by hardpan. In places hydraulic mine tailings overlie the gravels. Dredging depths ranged from 20 to 40 feet, with the average nearer 20 feet. Recovered gold values ranged from 10Â¢ to 30Â¢ per yard and hydraulic tailings were around 10Â¢ per yard. There are a number of narrow gold-quartz veins in greenstone in the eastern portion of the district.
Butte Dredging Co., Calaveras Gold Dredging Co. 1903-16, El Oro Dredging Co., Isabel Dredging Co. 1908-25?, Milton Gold Dredging Co. 1935-?
Clark, W. B., and Lydon, P.A., 1962, Calaveras County, gold: California Div. Mines and Geology County Rept. 2, pp. 32-93.
Logan, C.A., 1919, Calaveras River area: California Min. Bur. Bull. 85, pp. 32-33.
Logan, C.A., 1936, Calaveras County, ancient shore-line deposits: California Div. Mines Rept. 32, pp. 324-325.
Tucker, W. B., 1916, Calaveras County, gold dredging: California Min. Bur. Rept. 14, pp. 124-127.
Turner, H.W., 1894, Jackson folio: U.S. Geol. Survey Geol. Atlas of the U.S., folio 11, 6 pp.
Winston, W. B., 1910, Gold dredging in California: California Min. Bur. Bull. 57, pp. 207-208.
Epic People of History: Jenny Lind
Welcome back to Tenacious Genealogy! Today I’m going to focus on a lady by the name of Jenny Lind.
If that name seems familiar, kudos to you, you’re awesome and I recommend checking out my Friday post coming up, on Jenny Lind Tea Cakes. However, I’m guessing most people reading this aren’t familiar with that name or even her nickname ‘The Swedish Nightingale’.
Which is a shame, because Jenny Lind was one of the first world-famous music stars and… (drum roll please) the meta inspiration for Queen Elsa.
Yes, I’m being serious. I’ll explain this in a moment.
The Life and Times of Jenny Lind
Born in Stockholm, Sweden on October 6, 1820, as Johanna Maria Lind, she was the illegitimate daughter of a bookkeeper and a school teacher.
When she was nine, she was overheard singing (some say to her cat) and word got around that she had amazing vocal skills. So with the help of some friends in high places, she started training under the singing master of the Royal Dramatic Theater.
Which was both good and bad.
Bad because the training was subpar. Despite being the ‘Royal Dramatic Theater’, it was no Juilliard. Twice Jenny nearly wrecked her voice due to her training before she was 21.
In 1841, however, she ended up under the tutelage of (then famous) Manuel García in Paris. There, (after a three-month moratorium on singing to allow her vocal chords to heal) she received better vocal training. As far as records show, she never had an issue with her vocal chords again.
Jenny Lind and Hans Christian Andersen
By 1843, she was back in action and touring in Denmark, where among many other men, Hans Christian Andersen ended up meeting and falling in love with her. However, the feeling was not mutual (several of his biographers note that Jenny saw him as a brother, not a lover) and according to Carole Rosen, a biographer of Lind’s, that romantic rebuff led Hans Christian Andersen to model his icy-hearted Snow Queen after the singer.
And as we all know ‘Frozen’ is loosely based on Andersen’s fairy tale, with Queen Elsa being an interpretation of the Snow Queen.
Think about that next time you watch Elsa belt out ‘Let It Go‘.
Jenny Lind’s ‘Retirement’
This is the case for Jenny, as in 1850, she strikes a deal with the famous show master P. T. Barnum (of the circus fame) to tour America and Cuba. By the time she arrived in America, her fame is so widespread, that in some American cities Barnum is raffling off tickets to see her show. Her share of the profits (which she donated to various charities, given her already substantial wealth) from the 93 concerts with Barnum was about $350,000 or almost $10 million dollars in today’s money.
However, Jenny wasn’t done touring just yet. She continued touring the United States (and Toronto, Canada) at a more leisurely pace between 1851 and 1852. Records of this tour are less revealing of Lind’s profits, but given her reception with P. T. Barnum, it can be assumed that her second tour in America was just as financially successful as the first. When her first pianist and conductor, Julius Benedict, returned to England at the end of the tour with Barnum, she continued on with a long time friend – Otto Goldschmidt – whom she married in Boston on February 5, 1852.
After she was finally finished touring in America, the couple returned to Europe – initially to Germany and then to England. They had three children and for all intents and purposes, Jenny lived a happy life of leisure, teaching and training future singers in England with her husband Otto.
Jenny Lind’s Legacy
When she passed away in 1887, she was already well memorialized, having had ships, locomotives, a creek in Australia, and a small town in California named after her. In 1996 and 2006, Sweden revealed 50 krona banknotes with her visage on them.
Needless to say, she was an amazing woman. Talented, charitable, and business savvy. Certainly, a great example to women and girls everywhere, both in her day and in the present.
While she is not as famous today as she was during the 19th century – there are quite a few biographies and memoirs available. Here is a small list of books about Jenny Lind, some of which are in the public domain and thus free to read:
She was admired by famous composers and writers
Felix Mendelssohn called Lind “as great an artist as ever lived the greatest he had known”, and composed one of the arias in his oratorio Elijah with her voice in mind.
Lind also attracted the attention of Hans Christian Andersen, who fell in love with the singer, writing his story The Nightingale as a tribute to her. It was because of this that she got her nickname, the Swedish Nightingale.
It has been speculated that Lind had a relationship with the great Romantic composer Frédéric Chopin. In the later years of his life, the composer suffered from tuberculosis, and she would sing to him to make him feel better.
Chopin said of Lind: “This Swede does not show herself in the ordinary light of day but in the magic rays of the aurora borealis”. Her high notes, to which he was apparently referring, were pianissimo and gorgeous.
Frédéric Chopin. Picture: Getty
But it was the composer Clara Schumann who gave the highest praise of all.
“Lind has a genius for song which might come to pass only once in many years,” she wrote. “Her appearance is arresting at first glance and her face, although not exactly beautiful, appears so because of the expression in her wonderful eyes.
“Every tone she produces is sheer beauty. Her coloratura is the most consummate I have ever heard. Her voice is not large in itself, but it would certainly fill any room, for all its soul.”