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Blanche Thebom

Born to Swedish parents who had settled in the USA, Thebom grew up in Canton, Ohio where she sang in the local church choir and participated in a school performance of Martha (Flotow). She also took ballet lessons, which she continued into her forties. To help with family finances she worked as a secretary while continuing to sing at an amateur level.

In 1938 Thebom and her parents travelled by ship to Sweden. During the voyage she was heard singing by Kosti Vehanen, the accompanist and coach of Marian Anderson. Impressed, he arranged for her to receive lessons in New York from Giuseppe Boghetti, who also taught Anderson, and eventually arranged for her to be managed by Sol Hurok, also Anderson’s manager, from 1940. On Boghetti’s death in 1941 she was taught by Margarete Matzenauer and Edyth Walker.




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