‘I am doing divinely’

Jenny Lind’s financial legacy

Jenny Lind (1820-1887) was a giant celebrity soprano in Europe and North America. Her tale has been written by biographers many times over. A picture emerges of an extremely competent singer who managed her position in the spotlight successfully but who still, generally, disliked the attention – the ‘Lindomania’ – that followed her everywhere. Her goal was to make as much money as possible in a short time in order to retire. However, she believed that she owed God, who gave her the gift of being able to sing, to use her talent to help fellow humans in need. She continued singing in concerts and oratorios often for the sole purpose of charity. Information on her earnings and abundant donations to charities appears scattered over many thousands of biography pages. The purpose of this study is to filter out this kind of secondary information and add what has been found as primary information in a few archives in order to create a condensed rendering of incomes and donations. Jenny Lind was thought of as a very wealthy woman. Can this be substantiated by the actual numbers? She was also held as a great benefactor. How did she use her fortune?

Keywords: Work in music, cultural economics, economic history, business history, music industry, Jenny Lind.



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