The Incomparable Hildegarde

The Sexuality, Style and Image of an Entertainment Icon


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About the Book

The Incomparable Hildegarde (1906–2005) began her career as a pianist in Milwaukee’s silent movie theaters, which led to the Vaudeville stage. By the 1930s, she was singing in the cabarets of Paris and London, rubbing elbows with royalty, White Russians and Josephine Baker. She then became a darling of the New York supper club scene and her name became synonymous with high-class entertainment at venues like the Plaza Hotel’s Persian Room. She started fashion trends, had her own signature Revlon nail and lip color, and was the first to have song hits in the World War II era.
This first biography of Hildegarde Sill covers her 70-year career, including her intimate relationship with her manager, Anna Sosenko, and emphasizes her importance in 20th-century American popular culture.

About the Author(s)

Monica Storme Gallamore is a history professor at Collin College-Preston Ridge in Frisco, Texas.

Bibliographic Details

Monica Storme Gallamore
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 206
Bibliographic Info: 41 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6770-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3073-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface 1
Introduction: The Incomparable Hildegarde 7
1. An Exotic European Chanteuse from Adell, Wisconsin 17
2. From a Duck to a Swan: Hildegarde’s Transformation to Main Attraction 40
3. A European Singing Sensation 55
4. “The Luscious, ­Hazel-Eyed Milwaukee Blonde Who Sings the Way Garbo Looks” 73
5. The Cult of Hildegarde 87
6. Anna and “America’s No. 1 Songstress” 101
7. Hildegarde and Anna 126
8. Over 50—So What! 137
9. The Legend 154
Epilogue 159
Chapter Notes 165
Bibliography 185
Index 193