Jenny Lind: the Swedish Nightingale

By Gladys Denny Shultz | Go to book overview

Foreword

A LITTLE MORE THAN A hundred years ago, first Europe and then the United States were gripped by what was variously called the Jenny Lind Mania, the Jenny Lind Fever, or more concisely, Lindomania. Never before or since has an artist so appealed to the imagination of the public at large, or exerted such an impact on the society of her time, as did Jenny Lind. And her influence did not end with her death in 1887.

A young American, Leonidas Westervelt, acquired the infection in 1903, through his studies in the drama courses of Professor Brander Matthews at Columbia University. From then until his death in 1952, what time he could spare from business was spent in following Jenny Lind's footsteps over the world and assembling material about her. He came to feel that Jenny was his companion and guide on these excursions. "Together we have poked into odd nooks and comers of New York, Boston, Havana, London, Stockholm and Copenhagen, searching among dusty packets of old letters and bundles of manuscripts for holographs, pictures, music sheets and programs; through numismatic material for the many medals and tokens struck in Jenny's honor; through antique shops for souvenirs of all kinds."

There were the Royal Worcester candle snuffers, for instance, with a woman's body and a nightingale's head, which were among the countless Jenny Lind souvenirs turned out by manufacturers during the height of the singer's popularity. The Royal Worcester ones were made in pairs,

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