Jessica Dragonette was a singer who became popular on American radio and was active in the World War II effort.
Dragonette was born around 1900 in India. There is some uncertainty as to the exact date of birth; her birth records were reportedly destroyed in a fire. The Social Security Death Index cites 1900 as her year of birth. An orphan, she was raised in a convent.
She began singing on radio in 1926, and during her twenty-two year radio career, she helped to popularize operettas and semi-classical music. An admiring press dubbed her the “Princess of Song”, a nickname she later would use to publicize concert events. She was the star of the “Philco Hour” on NBC from 1927 to 1930. She then became the star of the Cities Service Concerts program, which she joined in 1930. By 1935, a listeners’ poll voted her radio’s most popular female vocalist. Dragonette sang in a segment of the film The Big Broadcast of 1936, on the condition that she have authority over the final cut on her performance. In the end she chose to have her part cut. In 1939, she provided the singing voice of “Princess Glory” in the full color animated motion picture Gulliver’s Travels.
In 1940 she was painted by the Swiss-born American artist Adolfo Müller-Ury, and the portrait now hangs at Georgian Court College, where Jessica went to school. Müller-Ury became a close friend of the singer, and painted her several times, his last being in 1946 in which she wears a gold fez. Muller-Ury also painted a portrait of Nadea Dragonette Loftus in 1942.