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Online Collections

Jenny Lind

paper doll

ca. 1850

In the 19th century, figures in public entertainment inspired playthings for children just as characters from today's movies and TV shows appear in action figures, play sets, and other toys. Paper dolls sets of the "Swedish Nightingale," commemorated the 1850 American tour of Jenny Lind, an opera singer who had a superb voice. She also had a superb agent--P. T. Barnum--whose skillful promotions and publicity attracted large and enthusiastic crowds to Lind's 93 U.S. concerts. Though first an opera singer, Lind enhanced her own appeal by performing popular tunes of the day. "Jenny Lind fever" seemed to have swept across America, and other marketers took note. The soprano's name appeared on polkas and pianos, on beds and bonnets, and many other commodities. The paper doll set pictured here includes the Lind figure and costumes for some of her most memorable operatic roles.

Materiallithographed paper
OriginGermany? | France?
Object ID73.440

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