Actress and singer, Miss Helena, was born at 64 East Twelfth Street,
New York City, New York, December 23, 1876, her father William Fleming
Seymour. She attended the New York Public Schools and later trained
as a nurse before moving her career onto the stage.
She made her first appearance as a flower girl with Mapleson's
Opera Company at the Academy of Music, New York, when she was
only seven-years old. Her professional debut was at the Brighton
Beach Music Hall, New York, in July, 1902, where she was in a vaudeville
singing act under the stage name of Edith Helena. She then toured
the states in vaudeville until November, 1903, when she became an international
star sailing to Europe for a December 1st. opening at the Rembrandt
For two years she sang with great success at the Apollo;
London; Blumensale, Munich; Wintergarten,
Berlin; Folies Marigno, Paris; Marseilles, Toulon, Nice, and
in the other cities of Barcelona, Rome, Genoa, Milan, Bologna, Frankfort,
Strassburg, Brussels, and the United States.
She played Violetta in "La
Traviata" in Bucharest October, 1905; in Brussels May,
1906, and with the Royal Italian Grand Opera Company in the Academy
of Music and the Grand
Opera House, New York, June 1907.
Edith Helena "Laughing Song (C'est l'histoire amoureuse)" Manon Lescaut (1908) Victor 4283 - YouTube
Miss Helena was known for her vocal register ranging from lower G to
A in altisimo, three octaves and two notes. Later retired, she could
still sing at these high levels and also imitate the sounds of a violin.
She repeated this while appearing live on the early black & white
television program, "Life
Begins at 80." In her retirement, she lived for years on
Grove Street in Mt. Kisco, New York.
Miss Helena was married on December 26, 1893, to Mr. N. A. Jennings,
a well-known New York journalist, former Rough Rider, and author
of the book "The
Texas Ranger." He later served as a stand-in double for
President Roosevelt, as seen on the right. Jennings was attributed
with writing the lyrics for the patriotic song, "Remember the
Miss Helena's favorite off-stage recreations were horseback riding,
rowing, and swimming. Her permanent stage address had been listed with
Myers & Keller, 31 West Thirty-first street. New York City.
of Edith Helena's daughter with an aunt, little Edith nicknamed
"Posey" shown here at four-years old. On the back
of the picture is an interesting note saying that the bears shown
were purchased by her Uncle MacMichael when he was in Paris, France,
in 1904. It goes on to say these are the first bears ever produced,
rods holding their parts together. She then wrote that her later
stepfather, Russo, threw out her bear in 1916 when living on Dykerman's
Farm in New York State.
Copy Source: DigitalGallery
Image Title: Remember the Maine / words by N. A. Jennings, music by W. A. Phillips.
Alternate Title(s): From north and south and east and west. [first line] Title 2.) The rally around the flag once more. [first line of chorus]
Creator(s): Phillips, Walter A. -- Composer Jennings, N. A. -- (Napoleon Augustus), 1856-1919 -- Lyricist
Published Date: c1898
Specific Material Type: music
Item Physical Description: 1 score (6 p.) ; 35 cm.
Notes: On cover: Soldiers and Uncle Sam wrapped in American flag. Note 2.) On cover: Imogene Comer.
Source: American popular songs. / Sheet music, 1898
Location: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts / Music Division
Digital ID: 1269171
Record ID: 667925
Digital Item Published: 9-29-2010; updated 3-25-2011
Book: A Texas Ranger, N.A. Jennings (New York: Scribners, 1899), 129–43.) - History Matters
Robert A. Jennings
The late son of Edith Helena, Robert A. Jennings, was a professional
freelance photographer for Pathe and Movietone News.
He filmed, among other things, the German's zeppelin Hindenburg
that crashed in Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1937, Robert being one
of three news camermen who had attended the event.
(Note: His professional photo can be seen at the
top of Chapter 1, link at the bottom of page.)
He also captured on film Major H.O.D. Seagrave's breaking
203-mile-per-hour auto-speed record. Later, Jennings would become
established in the new and growing television industry.
As a youngster circa 1904, Robert was chosen as the poster boy for
the company Buster
Brown Shoes. While growing up, he was later credited for helping
bring the silent movies to Brewster, New York. There he arranged to
play the piano for accompaniment of silent film titles shown in the
local town hall to promote the new medium.
He retired to a successful home business in the 1950's in Brookfield
Center, Connecticut, shown to the left with his wife, Bess, an
avid golfer. Successfully becoming one of the first home-based salesmen
of the new color television business, Robert Jennings proved that
he could continued his pioneering, a man seeming to be always ahead
of his time.
An old newspaper article provided the information that is found below
about Jennings' current life up to then. The source is unknown:
"Tinkering with radio sets and working
with cameras were his boyhood hobbies. After selling silent feature
films to theaters for years beginning in 1918, it was not surprising
that he became a newsreel man.
He first made reels for Fox News beginning
in 1922, and later made films for NBC Newsreel. These early reels
were wholly pictorial, taken with 35mm cameras, with the sound
dubbed in by a commentator at the studio.
On May 26, 1927, he made a film of Charles
Lindbergh's departure from Roosevelt Field on his solo flight
across the Atlantic. [Jenning's said]:
'We all thought Lindbergh was crazy
to attempt to fly that flimsy little monoplane, 'Spirit of St.
Louis,' across the ocean, taking off on that foggy morning.
Our odds were that he would never make it, but he did and we
lost our bets.'
Mr. Jennings made his first NBC-TV newsreel
in Florida in 1938. Both in the days of silent films and later
on TV newsreels, he photographed many large events. After Mr.
Jennings first opened his TV-Organ studio in Brookfield Center,
he continued to take assignments for newsreel pictures.
The late Gabriel
Heatter, famed radio news commentator, was a neighbor of Jennings
in Brookfield Center. He lived about a mile down the road on Wisconnier
Hill, and the two became good friends.
One of Mr. Jennings assignments was to
make a newsreel about Mr. Heatter using the studio that was in
a barn on his property from which he used to make his broadcasts.
'Gabriel just put everything he had
into these broadcasts,' Mr. Jennings declared. 'When his
regular half-hour broadcast was over, he would always be wringing
wet with perspiration due chiefly to his nervous tension.'
to Chapter 1
for Miss Helena's travel schedule is compliments of the book "Who's
Who on the Stage." Date, issue, and publisher unknown.
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