ERNESTINE SCHUMANN-HEINK (1925) 28482 OPERATIC CONTRALTO (1861-1936)
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Gelatin Silver Print (8x10) Signed by Ernestine Schumann-Heink Dated 1925
This is an authentic gelatin silver print of the singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink, born 1861, died 1936. A very good summation of Schumann-Heink's life and career is summarized at wikipedia. This photograph was a family heirloom. It was given to Mr. Louis Novy, a Texas businessman. It is inscribed "Louis Novy and dear wife with best wishes Ernestine Schumann Heink Justice Texas 2/26/1925". Ernestine Schumann-Heink had an remarkable life. She was born to a German speaking family in the town of Leben, in an area which now part of the City of Prague. She had a distinguished singing career in Europe, performing with Gustav Mahler at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. She was well known for her Wagnerian roles, performing at Bayreuth Festivals from 1896 to 1914. She became a U.S. citizen in 1905 and she appeared on Broadway and in some films. In 1915, she appeared as herself in an early documentary directed by Fatty Arbuckle, MABEL AND FATTY VIEWING THE WORLD'S FAIR AT SAN FRANCISCO. During World War I she volunteered to help veterans, even as she had children fighting in the armed forces of opposite sides. In 1926, she became an early broadcaster, singing "Silent Night" on the radio in Christmas Eve broadcasts from 1926 to 1935. She lost all of her money in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and returned to singing at the ripe old age of 69. It is fair to say that she was one of the first singers to exploit the mass media, becoming well known to American audiences. The photograph was recently acquired by MovieArt from the grandson of Louis Novi. For collectors of opera memorabilia, it is quite interesting. The condition is good but not perfect. The photograph was obviously attached to a photo album at one time, and you can see the evidence of that on the verso. There is a small tear on the right center edge. The small tear does not intrude into the image area.