After discovering a recital program among a collection of ephemera, NHS staff have learned that Florence Foster Jenkins (1868-1944), the flamboyant and notoriously tone-deaf soprano singer recently portrayed by Meryl Streep in the film Florence Foster Jenkins, performed at the Newport Historical Society on the afternoon of September 5, 1941. She was accompanied by the English actor, St. Clair Bayfield (played by Hugh Grant in the film), and William J. Cowdrey, a pianist. A photograph of Madame Jenkins graces the front of the event program, in which she is dressed as an angel, as she appeared in “Stephen Foster inspired by the Angel of Genius,” a reproduction by living figures of the painting by Howard Chandler Christy.
Above: Program for Florence Foster Jenkins song recital at the Newport Historical Society, September 5, 1941. NHS Collections.
Here, Madame Jenkins sings “Adele’s Laughing Song”:
And here is the trailer for the recent film, Florence Foster Jenkins: