‘I am doing divinely’

Jenny Lind’s financial legacy


  • Staffan Albinsson School of Business, Economics and Law of the University of Gothenburg




Work in music, cultural economics, economic history, business history, music industry, Jenny Lind


Jenny Lind (1820-1887) was a giant celebrity soprano in Europe and North America. Her tale has been written by biographers many times over. A picture emerges of an extremely competent singer who managed her position in the spotlight successfully but who still, generally, disliked the attention – the ‘Lindomania’ – that followed her everywhere. Her goal was to make as much money as possible in a short time in order to retire. However, she believed that she owed God, who gave her the gift of being able to sing, to use her talent to help fellow humans in need. She continued singing in concerts and oratorios often for the sole purpose of charity. Information on her earnings and abundant donations to charities appears scattered over many thousands of biography pages. The purpose of this study is to filter out this kind of secondary information and add what has been found as primary information in a few archives in order to create a condensed rendering of incomes and donations. Jenny Lind was thought of as a very wealthy woman. Can this be substantiated by the actual numbers? She was also held as a great benefactor. How did she use her fortune?


Staffan Albinsson, School of Business, Economics and Law of the University of Gothenburg

Staffan Albinsson received his PhD in Economic History from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in May 2013. His PhD compilation thesis is entitled, ‘Nothing New Under the Sun: Essays on the Economic History of Intellectual Property Rights in Music’. Staffan received his BA at Lund University in 1976. He studied simultaneously at the Music Conservatory in Malmö. Staffan received his master’s degree in Lund in 2010, after having spent the previous three decades working in music management. In the late 1970s he started the Norrland Opera Symphony Orchestra. After a few years as manager of the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra he served for many years as county music director and production manager with the Musik i Väst (Music in Western Sweden) Foundation in Gothenburg. Before returning to academia he served as Head of Classical Music at the newly established Vara Concert Hall. Currently Staffan is a guest researcher at the School of Business, Economics and Law of the University of Gothenburg.




Referera så här

Albinsson, S. (2023). ‘I am doing divinely’: Jenny Lind’s financial legacy. Svensk Tidskrift för Musikforskning Swedish Journal of Music Research, 104, 147–178. https://doi.org/10.58698/stm-sjm.v104.13672




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