Abbott, Emma


Dramatic soprano. Born in Chicago. Her father was a music teacher. She showed great love of music in childhood. Her family moved to Peoria, Ill., in 1854, where her father had difficulty in earning a living. To help with the finances, he gave concerts in Peoria and many other towns in which Emma, then nine years old, and her brother George appeared. At the age of ten, Emma was given lessons on the guitar and George on the violin, their mother partly paying for the lessons by boarding the teacher. After three years of instruction, Emma was able to teach the guitar and had several pupils. She attended school in Peoria, until, at the age of sixteen, she was obliged to teach district school to help support the family. She also sang in the synagogue in that town. About this time, she joined the Lombard Concert Company and toured with them through Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, but they soon disbanded and Emma, determined to study music, undertook to work her way to New York by giving concerts. This she accomplished, but was unable to make any headway in that city. Soon after this, she met Clara Louise Kellogg in Toledo, Ohio. Miss Kellogg was so pleased with her voice that she paid her expenses and gave her a letter to Erani, a celebrated teacher. While studying with Erani, she sang in a church choir at a good salary and was helped by the congregation to go to Europe. She went to Milan and worked for some time under San Giovanni and later, for several years in Paris, with Delle Sedie and Wartel, Her first appearance in Paris was a great success and she remained for several years in Europe. In 1878 she returned to the United States where she had great success. She married Mr. Eugene Wetherell, a New York business man, the year she returned from abroad and he managed all her tours until her death, in 1888. Miss Abbott was also very successful financially and is said to have been a very wealthy woman.