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Thomas Faris (1814 - ?)
Jenny Lind, 6 Oct 1821 - 2 Nov 1887
Daguerreotype, 1/6 plate
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number: NPG.95.406
Samuel Root, 1819 - 1889
Marcus Aurelius Root, 1808 - 1888
Born Stockholm, Sweden
Long a favorite in the opera houses of Europe, soprano Jenny Lind created a sensation when showman and impresario P. T. Barnum brought her to the United States in 1850 for a series of concert engagements. Whipped into a frenzy of expectation by Barnum’s masterful publicity campaign, the nation readily succumbed to “Lindomania.” Enthusiastic crowds mobbed the “Swedish Nightingale” at every stop throughout her tour, and concertgoers vied for tickets to her enormously popular performances.
P. T. Barnum fanned the flames of “Lindomania” by staging highly publicized auctions at which eager bidders fought for tickets to Jenny Lind’s performances. In Philadelphia, daguerreotypist Marcus A. Root bid the princely sum of $625 to secure a concert ticket. His outlay may also have earned him the opportunity for a portrait session with the acclaimed singer, for a daguerreotype of Lind by “M. A. & S. Root” was among those produced during Lind’s tour. In response to popular demand, daguerreotype copies—such as this version of the Root brothers’ original—enjoyed wide circulation.