Queer Places:
532 W Adams St, Chicago, IL 60661
578 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60661

Katherine (Kate, Kit or Kitty) Louise Tanner Fisk (1865 - June 28, 1926) was born in Wisconsin, but when quite young moved with her parents to Rockford, Illinois. When 12 years of age, in 1877-78, Fisk entered the Rockford College, as a student with "partial collegiate" status.

She graduated in 1881 (in the same class of Jane Addams), only six months before she was married to Franklin Proctor Fisk, who became principal of the Murray F. Tully High School in Chicago. In her personal address book from the 1880s, Addams recorded Kit Tanner Fisk, 532 W. Adams, Chicago, next to the address of fellow Rockford College friends Addie M. Smith Strong (died 1914), Laura Ely Curtis (died 1932), and Phila Pope Campbell. Later in the same book, there is an entry for Mrs. F.P. Fisk, 578 W. Monroe St, Chicago.

Very soon after moving to Chicago, she began her musical career as a pupil of Fanny A. Roots, and she there enlisted the interest of Tomlins, who was her next teacher. After much solo work, Fisk sought the advice and guidance of Sarah Hersbey Eddy, who admired her wonderful voice, but said that she must give years to study before she could expect to do much with it. She accepted the verdict, and studied for four years intently under Eddy. She sang in church choirs in Chicago, and made her debut as a soloist in the Messiah.

From that time she became the most popular singer in the West. She soon determined to go to London, and having been heard by Daniel Mayer, was induced to sign a three years' engagement with him. After her arrival there she studied French and German songs under Henschel and Blume and passed her oratorios with Randegger, making her debut at St. James' Hall at the close of 1892. Her success was such that before the end of January, 1893, she had been heard in that hall fourteen times, as well as at the Crystal Palace, Albert Hall and the London Symphony Concerts. After a short visit to her native country she returned to London, which will be her headquarters, though she will sing throughout Europe.

In 1895 Willa Cather noted that Katherine Fisk was great enough as a woman to become a great artist, this while she was singing in concerts with Nellie Melba in England. Cather first wrote of Fisk in a group of nine signed articles for the Lincoln Evening News in 1894.

In the early 1900s, the Fisks made their home in New York, where Katherine was a member of the Universalist Church. In April 1901, Fisk sang some of Ethelbert Nevin's songs during a rectial held in his honor after his death.

Beginning of the 1900s Katherine Fisk sang with the Metropolitan Opera company and was soloist in an operatic miscellany given in Madison Square Garden, with the New York Philharmonic orchestra, later touring the country with Mme. Lillian Nordica. During this time she was living with Alyse Gregory.

Fisk died of heart disease in a Pasadena sanitarium on June 28, 1926, in Pasadena, California, where she had moved 10 years before (her husband still living in Chicago).

My published books:

See my published books