February 5, 1852


Jenny Lind 

(1820- 1887)

Thursday  Feb 5th  Have not been very well to day after being

out last evening.  Have put a new bosom into

an old shirt of Olivers  Passed part of the

afternoon at Edwins and part of the evening in

Olivers was also there about two hours this forenoon

It is a delightful evening and fine sleighing


A celebrity wedding took place in Boston on this date. Opera singer Jenny Lind married her accompanist, Otto Goldschmidt, at the home of banker Samuel Gray Ward in Louisburg Square.* There was no People Magazine, Entertainment Tonight or The Daily Beast to herald the occasion, but the newspapers of the day carried the story.  “The Swedish Nightingale” was big news.

Originally from Sweden, Jenny Lind was discovered at the age of nine when the maid of a dancer at the Royal Opera overheard her singing. Though untrained, Lind soon rose to prominence on the strength of her beautiful soprano voice and became court singer to the King of Sweden and Norway. She almost damaged her vocal cords in the process, but rest and proper training set her to rights. She became world-famous in operas such as Der Freischutz  and Lucia di Lammermoor.  

In 1850, showman P. T. Barnum brought Jenny Lind to the United States, where she gave 93 performances over two years. When she married in Boston, she was nearing the end of her American tour and would soon to return to Europe. At 32, she would retire from touring and become the mother of three, yet she would continue to perform occasionally and teach for the remainder of her life. Many of us in the 21st century know of Jenny Lind as much for a style of spool bed that carries her name as for her acclaim as an early international opera star.



* Jim Vrabel, It Happened in Boston, p. 61

10 thoughts on “February 5, 1852

  1. Jenny Lind Street in North Easton is named or her, appropriately located in that section of town known as “Swedeville” just off of Main Street and behind North Easton Grammar School.

  2. Hi Sarah,

    Did you know there is a Jenny Lind Street in Easton ? There has been a big Swedish population in Easton for years and I guess they must have pushed for it.


    • Just learned about this today – Frank Mennino mentioned it, too. If I knew about it before, I had forgotten it. Jenny Lind was a phenomenon in her day.

  3. Easton’s Swedish immigrants like my maternal grandparents, Sander and Alma Larson of 12 Jenny Lind Street, were very proud of Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale”. Besides being an opera singer she was also known for singing Swedish folksongs. My mother, Enis Larson Almquist, was born at 12 Jenny Lind Street in the heart of “Swedeville”. As a member of the Easton Historical Commission she provided Town Historian Ed Hands with info about Swedeville and its residents for Ed’s book, “Easton Neighborhoods”.

    • Thank you, Priscilla! What a wonderful history your family has, and how lucky we are that your grandmother shared it with Ed Hands. I should have remembered about Swedeville, as I read Ed’s excellent book a number of years ago.
      Jenny Lind must have been extraordinary. Other towns, too, were so impressed by the opera star that they also named a street after her. Charleston, South Carolina; McKeesport, Pennsylvania and, nearer to hand, New Bedford, all have a Jenny Lind Street.

      • Thanks, Sarah, for your kind words. One correction: it was my mother, Enis Larson Almquist, not my grandmother, Alma Larson, who shared information about “Swedeville” for Ed Hands’ book, “Easton Neighborhoods”.

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