Florence <I>Foster</I> Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins

Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 26 Nov 1944 (aged 76)
Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot Foster Family Mausoleum
Memorial ID 45274380 · View Source
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Singer, Socialite. Notorious in her day, and now a cult figure, for her vocal performances which showed a complete lack of musical ability. She could not sing on key and had no sense of pitch or rhythm, but was convinced she was a coloratura soprano with perfect pitch. Jenkins was aware of her critics, however, and dismissed them thus: "People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing." She was born Narcissa Florence Foster, daughter of Charles Dorrance Foster and Mary Jane (Hoagland) Foster. She was raised in an affluent family and was musically inclined but was discouraged by them. In order to pursue a career in music she moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and married Dr. Frank Thornton Jenkins, son of Rear Admiral Thornton A. Jenkins. She earned a living there as a teacher and pianist. The couple had no children and divorced in 1902. After inheriting a sum of money upon her father's death in 1909, she pursued a singing career. She gave her first recital in 1912; these became annual affairs from which all proceeds went to her favorite charities. They were always well attended by her many friends. She was the founder of the Verdi Club and was at one time president of the National Society of American Pen Women, the National Society of Patriotic Women and Manhattan Study Group. Her most famous appearance was at a sold out concert at Carnegie Hall in October of 1944 to benefit service personnel. She was then 76 years old. The next month she died at her residence, the Hotel Seymour in Manhattan. Jenkins has been the subject of three plays and a documentary, and her recordings are still available (though they are usually classified as "humor"). The film "Florence Foster Jenkins," a British biographical comedy-drama directed by Stephen Frears and written by Nicholas Martin, premiered in 2016. The film stars Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins.

Bio by: Vincent Astor

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Vincent Astor
  • Added: 9 Dec 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 45274380
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Florence Foster Jenkins (19 Jul 1868–26 Nov 1944), Find a Grave Memorial no. 45274380, citing Hollenback Cemetery, Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .