Woman of the Century/Katherine Willard
WILLARD, Miss Katherine, musician, born in Denver, Col., in April, 1866. Her parents, Oliver A. Willard and Mary Bannister Willard, were both of distinguished New England ancestry, and persons of remarkable intellectual gifts and acquirements. Her maternal grandfather was Rev. Henry Bannister, D. D., for twenty-seven years professor of Hebrew in Garrett Biblical Institute, Evanston, Ill., and her father was the only brother of Miss Frances E. Willard. In the infancy of Miss Katherine Willard her parents removed from Colorado to their former home in Evanston, Ill. There, in a refined Christian home and with the best social and intellectual advantages, she spent her early youth. The death of her father occurred when she had reached the age of twelve, and in 1885 she accompanied her mother, KATHERINE WILLARD. Mrs. Mary Bannister Willard, to Germany, where, besides continuing her studies in languages, art and history, she devoted herself to the cultivation of her voice under the best musicians of Berlin. Under the faithful improvement of rare advantages her gifts of voice, person and manner united to win for her a marked success. In the autumn of 1885 she began years of industrious study with Fräulein Louise Ress, the most celebrated exponent of the old Italian method, and she also studied with other famous singers of the Italian school. She sang in Berlin two successive winters in the Sing-Akademie with Scharwenka, Heinrich Grünfeld, the celebrated 'cellist, and with M'me Madeline Schiller. During her residence of five years in Berlin, she made the acquaintance of many eminent Germans and Americans. She was invited by the Countess Waldersee to sing in a soirée given to Prince Bismarck and Count Von Moltke, and in Berlin and elsewhere she sang in many private and public entertainments. In London, Eng., she sang with great success. She was invited by her old school friend, Mrs. Grover Cleveland, to Washington, and in 1889 she spent several weeks in the White House, where she passed a brilliant season in society and sang in many notable entertainments in the Executive Mansion and elsewhere. She sang in New York, Baltimore, Chicago and other cities in concert and parlor musicales. In October, 1892, she returned to Europe, to study in Berlin and to sing in London during the season of 1893.