in Mt. Pulaski
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Noon - 4:00 pm
during winter months:
Nov - Dec - Jan - Feb
Open by appointment:
(AC - 217)
Carol Van Rheeden: 792-3860
Sue Schaffenacker: 792-5693
Fred Lipp: 737-6085
Tuesday - Saturday
Noon - 4:00 pm
Before & After Photos
(September 26, 1894 - May 28, 1943) was a female singer who
gained popularity in the 1920s, earning the sobriquets "The
Original Radio Girl" and "First Lady of Radio."
When Leonore Vonderlieth was
twelve, soon after the death of her father, moved from
her hometown of Mount Pulaski, Il. with her mother
and sister to Los
Angeles. She eventually
Mills College there, but almost
immediately started a singing career. She took to a
stage name, Vaughn De Leath, and began singing in the
new, emerging jazz-style
that had fewer restrictions. Her voice ranged from soprano to contralto.
In January 1920 inventor and radio
DeForest, invited her to his
studio in New York City's World Tower, where they are in
a full space sang "Swanee
River". This action is
sometimes cited as the first radio broadcast in which
'live' was sung, although some historians dispute this.
According to some reports of this event, DeLeath retired
her soprano voice and took up contralto singing when
DeForest realized that high notes could destroy the
tubes in the microphone
amplifier. So she was perhaps the first that crooned, a
singing style that was very popular in the decades.
She performed in and wrote songs
for New York's Broadway, but the radio was and remained
her medium. She became a radio star at a time when there
was a lot of air time to fill and few artists were
available for this purpose. She sang, but also played
various instruments with which they could accompany
himself: piano, banjo, ukulele and guitar. She was
also at home in different styles. She also wrote songs:
she has about 500 songs to her credit.
In 1921 she began to sing for WJZ
and around that time also began her record career. She
took in the 1920s on for pretty much all the record
labels of that time:
Edison, Columbia, Okeh,Gennett, Victor and Brunswick. Her
records were released under her stage name, but also
under other names like Gloria Geer, Mamie Lee, Sadie
Green, Betty Brown, Nancy Foster and Marion Ross. Among
the musicians who accompanied her at the recordings were
some top musicians from the early jazz such as
Nichols, trombonist Miff
Mole, guitarists Dick
McDonough and Eddie
Trumbauer, cornet player Bix
Beiderbecke and Paul
Whiteman Orchestra leader
(e.g., "The Man I Love").
In 1923, she was also an executive
officer in the radio world, the
first female: they gave in the years until 1925 headed
to several radio stations. In 1925 she went echterweer
full-time singing. In 1928 she performed in experimental
television broadcasts. She was the guest in the first
broadcast of the Voice
of Firestone Radio Hour and one of the first
American entertainers that occurred in a transatlantic
radio broadcast to Europe.
In 1931, she made her last
recordings, for Crown
Records and in that time she
performed also in her last national network broadcasts:
next, she was only active for local radio stations in
New York. [http://music.wikia.com/wiki/Vaughn_De_Leath]
"Are You Lonesome Tonight?"
(217) 792 - 3719
(217) 792 -
MP Welcome Sign
Rt. 121 & McDonald St.
A Looking for Lincoln Committee Project
Mt. Pulaski Historical Society Meetings
Mt. Pulaski Courthouse
A. Lincoln, Judge David Davis, Billy
Herndon, Stephen A. Douglas, Samuel Treat & others
worked as lawyers on the
mid-1800's Illinois 8th Judicial Circuit
<Illinois Historical Site>
Courthouse Site Manager:
792 - 5126
She also demonstrated a high level of instrumental
ability on the
ukulele & occasionally
accompanied herself on recordings.
Her 1925 hit recording "Ukulele
Lady" was used in the 1999 film:
The Cider House Rules.
Another one of her hit songs was “Are You Lonesome
Tonight”. In 1960, her
old hit achieved immortality when Elvis Presley made it one of
his hit recordings. The
illustration with her & Dr. DeForrest is by
Lloyd Ostendorf - 1971.
She wrote the lyrics & music for “Oliver Twist”, starring
Jackie Coogan. She has a
star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Vaughn died in 1943.
Her remains are buried in the Mt. Pulaski Cemetery.
Some of her old records, photos & much more information
are on display in the MPTHS Museum.
Her cousin, Henry Vonderlieth, together with his wife
Jane, were the founders of the very comfort- able &
well-maintained Vonderlieth Living Center in Mt. Pulaski in
1973. This marvelous &
affordable facility continues to serve Mt. Pulaski & Central
Photo Credits & Information: MPTHS Museum
Click here for more -->