Mamie Perry

A Golden Vision: The Growth of Southern California participants should be very familiar with Mamie Perry because her diary entries are utilized as part of the curriculum. As the daughter of William Hayes Perry, Mamie was born in California and grew up in Mt. Pleasant, the oldest building at Heritage Square. She watched the city grow and change around her and develop from a mostly agricultural town into a bustling city.

  • Mary Barker Perry (Mamie) was born in Los Angeles in 1861. She was one of six children born to William & Elizabeth Perry.
  • Mamie received her early vocal training from Madame Marra. In August 1879 at the age of 18, she made her operatic debut playing Josephine in the operetta H.M.S. Pinafore. She received very high praise for this performance.
    • This comic opera, written by Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert, debuted in London in 1878 and became an international success. The music sample on this page is from a 1911 recording of the opera.
  • In 1880, she traveled to Italy to train as a professional opera singer under Anton Sangiovanni.
  • On September 25, 1881 Mamie made her stage debut in Italy under the name Maria Perrini and again received much praise for her singing ability. She played the title character in La Contessa d' Amalfi.
    • This opera was written by Errico Petrella, an Italian composer who was very successful in the 1850s and 1860s. This opera was first performed in 1864.
  • In February 1882, after returning to Los Angeles from Italy, Mamie performed in the sold out Turnverein Hall at the request of the city's most prominent residents.
  • In 1888 after she returned from her second trip to Italy, Mamie married Charles Modini-Wood.
    • They had 4 children; Elizabeth Marie, Florence Perry, William Perry & Mona Chapman.
  • Mary Barker (Mamie) Perry died in November 1949. She was 89 years old.
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Music sampling from H.M.S. Pinafore. The part Mamie would have sang begins at 1:14. Sampling is courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation and Adam Cuerden.