Skip to main content

Jenny Afloat

April 2023
1min read

In chronicling the Jenny Lindomania that gripped America during the soprano’s triumphal U.S. tour in 1850-51 (our October, 1977, issue), we featured an array of colorful period objects—from fans and paper dolls to five-cent cigarsadorned with her name and face.

Now reader Anthony Peluso of Yonkers, New York, reminds us of another, grander tribute to the Swedish Nightingale. In August, 1851, Jenny and her entourage slipped aboard Captain Albert DeGroot’s Hudson River steamboat, the Reindeer , supposedly incognito. But according to the Democratic Journal of Kingston, New York, the other passengers immediately recognized her: “The excitement was very great, and for a part of the passage Capt. DeGroot tendered her his private saloon. … In grateful appreciation of the courtesies extended to her, Jenny Lind, upon her arrival at Albany, presented Capt. DeGroot with an elegant diamond breast pin.”

Smitten by Jenny, as so many other men had been, DeGroot named one of the finest vessels in his fleet for her, and had its paddle box decorated with her curiously grim countenance. This view of the vessel was drawn by the captain’s brother-inlaw, James Bard, who is the subject of Mr. Peluso’s recent book, J & J Bard Picture Painters (Hudson River Press, 1977). The author says the book is the “result of a love affair” with Bard’s work that began after he read Oliver Jensen’s article “Side-Wheels and Walking Beams” in our August, 1961, issue.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.


Stories published from "April/May 1978"

Authored by: William A. Strauss

The Twenty-seven Million Men of Vietnam

Authored by: W. S. Kuniczak

The Face of Poland in America

Authored by: David Hapgood

Where Is Henry George Now That We Need Him?

Authored by: Gen. James M. Gavin

“For This Challenge, I Had Come Three Thousand Miles and Thirty-six Years of My Life”

Authored by: Gaddis Smith

The American Experience With Foreign Aid

Authored by: Edward T. Stone

The Fate of the New World’s First Spanish Settlement

Authored by: Robert C. Toll

In the 19th Century, white performers invented the minstrel show, the first uniquely American entertainment form


Featured Articles

The world’s most prominent actress risked her career by standing up to one of Hollywood’s mega-studios, proving that behind the beauty was also a very savvy businesswoman. 

Rarely has the full story been told about how a famed botanist, a pioneering female journalist, and First Lady Helen Taft battled reluctant bureaucrats to bring Japanese cherry trees to Washington. 

Often thought to have been a weak president, Carter was strong-willed in doing what he thought was right, regardless of expediency or the political fallout.

Why have thousands of U.S. banks failed over the years? The answers are in our history and politics.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.