Lilian Slinkey Durini
Aunt Lilian, who was quite the matriarch and a bit of a terror of the family in her later years, may have been the mother of her purported younger brother Milton Slinkey.
She had her own murky pedigree. Apparently born a year before the marriage of Christina Dern and John E. Slinkey, she may not have been a blood relation to the Schlinke family. One niece of J. E. Slinkey wrote in 1950 that her uncle left Australia "for San Francisco where he lived until he died; he married but had no family; adopted a son & daughter."
Lilian, trained as an opera singer, was a music teacher and often went by the name of "Madame Durini." Her first name often appears with two center l's in articles and censuses, but often just has one. Based on her own signature above, I'm going with one.
April 23, 1885: Lilian publishes in the Sausalito News a brief quote in memory of Francis Marion Slinkey: "One less to love on earth, One more to love in heaven. - Sister Lillie."
June 6, 1885: Miss Lillie attended a 'hop' at El Monte Hotel with Col. and Mrs. J.E. Slinkey. (Sausalito News, June 11, 1885)
June 18, 1885: "Miss Lillie Slinkey left last Monday for Nevada City, Cal. to be gone almost a month." (Sausalito News)
July 9, 1885: "The following from the Nevada Daily Transcript of last Saturday shows the appreciation for our Sausalitans in other places: 'There will be preaching at the Congregational Church to-morrow morning and evening by Rev. J. Tims, the pastor. An attractive feature of the evening service will be the singing of Millard's 'Ave Maria' by Miss Lillie Slinkey, of Sausalito." (Sausalito News)
July 23, 1885: Miss Lillie Slinkey has returned from Nevada City. Father, mother, and Lillie attend at party on the yacht Imberhorn. (Sausalito News)
July 25, 1885: Big party held for Lilian: "Of all the parties given in Sausalito for some weeks past the birthday party given to Miss Lillie Slinkey on last Saturday evening was probably the most enjoyed. Miss Slinkey had but just returned a few days from a month's visit at Nevada City, and the occasion was both a reception and a birthday party to the young lady. The event was marked for the greatest of sociability and the genial hospitality of the host and hostess. Dancing was concluded at 12 o'clock at which time the guests repaired to the supper rooms, and after the much appreciated supplement to their mirth withdrew with happy recollections of their evening's pleasure. Among those who were present were: Miss Louise Mason, Mr. J.E. George, Miss Lillie Hamlin, J. Mathien Jr., Douglas W. Woolley, Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Goodwin, Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Corran, Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Wm. Jenningson, Col. J.E. and Mrs. Slinkey, Frank J. Burns, Captain Malandaine, Miss, Lillie Slinkey, Miss Lisette Crutchley, Charles L. Matthews, Miss Tillie McCarthy, Miss Etta Tracy, Mr. and Mrs. William Winters, Mrs. J.N. Gregory, Werner Stauf, Charles Gundlach, Mrs. Helen Warburton, Miss Kline, Mr. H. Davis, Col. H.J. Brady, Mr. and Mrs. A.G. Booth, Dr. F.S. Udell, Major F.A. Woodworth, Mrs. G.W. Thomas, Mr. Strutton, Miss May Jenningson and Will Donnelly." (Sausalito News, July 30, 1885, page 3, column 4.)
August 5, 1885: Father acts as Master of Ceremonies at a party on the yacht "Honolulu." Mother and "Miss Lillie Slinkey" listed as attending; music and dancing lasted 'til midnight. (Sausalito News, August 6, 1885)
August 20, 1885: A musical 'soiree' last Saturday evening (August 15) in the parlors of the El Monte Hotel was a "treat to all lovers of music" and included amongst seven singers Miss Lillie Slinkey. (Sausalito News)
August 29, 1885: J. E., Christina, Dan, and Lillie Slinkey host a "Domino Party" (masked ball) at the El Monte Hotel: "The initial domino party of Sausalito was held at the 'El Monte' Saturday evening. The dining room was cleared for the dance hall by a committee of arrangements, and the guests were given full possession of it and the parlor for their ball room, and by 9 o'clock the merry dance commenced. A large number of maskers participated and as many more were present as spectators and all equally enjoyed the evening's merriment. A splendid supper was served by Col. Slinkey at 11 o'clock at which time the masks had been removed, and after the pleasures of the festal board on with the dance again." (Sausalito News, September 3, 1885, page 3, column 2.)
October 4, 1885: Over 100 ladies and gents attended the Bull's Head Breakfast with six bull's heads and one lamb being served. An all-day affair, the festivities began around ten in the morning, with dinner being served at 2:00. At this breakfast of the Society of True Friends "[a]n additional attraction at the feast was the participation of the ladies, a treat enjoyed for the first time by most of them present." The "breakfast was concluded and washed down with plenty of Slinkey's good cheer in half-pint bottles." Col. and Mrs. Slinkey, and Miss Lillie listed in attendance. (Sausalito News, October 15, 1885)
December 31, 1885: At the social hop at the El Monte Hotel on New Year's Eve, Col. & Mrs. Slinkey, and Miss Lillie, are listed in attendance. (Sausalito News, January 7, 1886)
January 1, 1886: A reception held on board the yacht "Thirlmere" on New Year's night included Lillie in list of attendants. Several hours of vocal and instrumental music, recitations, and refreshments... (Sausalito News, January 7, 1886)
January 27, 1886: The Reading circle meets at the El Monte Hotel parlors: works of Sir Walter Scott were discussed---"Miss Slinkey's essay being particularly well received." (Sausalito News, January 28, 1886)
June 7, 1890: Lilian sings as part of the opening night program for J. E. Slinkey's Sausalito Hall. (San Francisco Call, June 9, 1890, page 6, column 1.)
August 25, 1894: Lilian K. Slinkey featured on the cover of Pacific Town Talk magazine, promoting her farewell concert:
"The departure of a talented California girl to Europe with the intention of completing her studies is always an interesting occasion. Miss Lilian K. Slinkey, whose portrait appears in TOWN TALK this week, will go abroad early next month for this purpose, entering upon her studies in Milan, Italy. Grand opera is her aim, and with her voice and physique there is not the slightest doubt that she will succeed in such a career. So many debutantes take lyric or comic opera as the goal of their ambition; how far better to choose a high ideal. Miss Slinkey is a California girl, the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Slinkey of Sausalito. As a child she exhibited such marked talent that even at a very tender age she began a systematic study of music under the best instructors. She has appeared very little in public since she made her successful debut in "Martha" at the Bush Street Theatre two month since. She possesses a striking personal appearance and her voice is a strong, yet sweet and birdlike soprano. A testimonial concert to Miss Slinkey will be given at Metropolitan Hall next Friday evening. Among the artists who will appear on the program, beside the fair beneficiary, are Madame Angiolina Casati, who is well known as the leading contralto of the Emma Juch Opera Company, Gustave Lange, J. C. Hughes, C. H. Hoeg and the Midwinter Fair Quintet. Seats will be on sale at Sherman, Clay & Co.'s after Wednesday morning and on account of Miss Slinkey's great popularity in this city and Sausalito the house will undoubtedly be crowded." (Pacific Town Talk, August 25, 1894.)
August 26, 1894: "Footlight Flashes: A testimonial benefit concert is to be tendered Miss Lillian K. Slinkey at Metropolitan Hall on Thursday evening, August 30th. Miss Slinkey is well and favorably known among local vocalists as a soprano of rare compass and power. She will be assisted by some of the best local musicians, among whom are Mme. Angiolina Casati, formerly contralto with Emma Juch’s Opera Company and the celebrated Midwinter Fair Quintet. Seats will be on sale at Sherman Clay & Co’s. on Tuesday morning." (San Francisco Chronicle, August 26, 1894, page, column 3.)
August 28, 1894: The concert to Miss Slinkey will be given at Metropolitan Hall on Thursday night. The audience promises to be very large." (San Francisco Chronicle, August, 28, 1894, page 4.)
August 31, 1894: Review of the previous night's concert by the San Francisco Chronicle mentions Lilian's plan to go to Milan for three years of study. "Miss L. Slinkey, a piquante brunette, then made her appearance in a very becoming white silk gown with tulip sleeves and bertha." She sings from Meyerbeer's opera L'Africaine and a solo from Bellini's La Sonnambula. "She gave great expression to this immortal masterpiece from the simple recitative to the cantabile staccato which follows and leading up the final moderato, ‘Sovra il sen la man mi poss,’ so full of thrilling harmony." She obviously received a great reception: “Numerous bouquets were sent to the singer at the conclusion of this beautiful piece, and the audience broke out into renewed applause when as an encore the first bars of that delicious ‘Romanza’ from ‘Martha,’ in which Miss Slinkey obtained such a success in May last, were heard." (San Francisco Chronicle, August 31, 1894, page 4.)
September 1, 1894: Review of her concert appears in Pacific Town Talk magazine: "Miss Slinkey never looked lovelier, and her beauty of face and figure should be a strong factor in her success as an operatic prima donna."
September 17, 1894: Lilian has “Mr. and Mrs. George F. Duffy, Mr. and Mrs. E. Brown, T. H. Pike and Mr. and Mrs. T. R. Tilley" as guests in Sausalito for Admission Day. (San Francisco Chronicle, September 17, 1894, page 5.)
January 26, 1895: "Miss Lillian K. Slinkey of Sausalito is spending the winter in Milan, Italy, where she is learning the Italian language and getting climatized before commencing her operatic studies." ("The Last Cotillion," San Francisco Chronicle, January 26, 1895, page 11.)
November 20, 1896: "Miss Lillian K. Slinkey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Slinkey, will make her debut in grand opera soon after New Year's at Milan, in Italy, where she is studying." ("Happenings in Social Circles," San Francisco Chronicle, November 20, 1896, page 16.)
December 25, 1897: "At Milan, Italy, Christmas day was pleasantly spent at the family residence of the American consul, Dr. William Jarvis. Among other Americans present were the following from California: Mrs. [apparent typeset mistake of additional paragraph inserted here] and Miss Marx of Oakland, Miss Hume of Piedmont, Alameda, F. Belcher of San Francisco and Miss Lillian K. Slinkey of Sausalito, Cal.” (San Francisco Call, January 23, 1898, page 22.)
October 8, 1899: “A vocal concert will be given by Miss Lillian R. Slinkey on Monday evening, October 16th, in Sherman & Clay’s Hall. Miss Slinkey will be assisted by Miss Marion Bear, pianist, Hother Wismer, violinist; Dr. Arthur Regensburger, cellist, and Fred Mauver, pianist. Miss Slinkey is very well known as an amateur of talent, and she has sung at a great many social gatherings.” ("Dramatic and Musical," San Francisco Chronicle, October 8, 1899, page 5, column 6)
October 15, 1899: "In the Public Playhouses--- Miss Lilian K. Slinkey, well known in society circles over the bay, will make her first appearance in concert since her return from Europe, at Sherman, Clay & Co's Hall to-morrow evening. She will sing the arietta from Gounod's 'Romeo and Juliet,' Leoncavallo's Invocation to the Muse, and the Polonaise from 'Mignon.' She will be assisted by Fred Maurer, Miss Marion Bear, Hother Wismer and Arthur T. Regensburger. She has many friends and will have a full house." (San Francisco Chronicle, October 15, 1899, page 5, column 6.)
August 17, 1910: "Miss Lillian Slinkey has reopened her vocal-operatic school. Studio, 200, 915 Van Ness." (San Francisco Chronicle, page 12, column 6.)
November 9, 1913: Lilian throws a birthday party for her father: “Col. J. E. Slinkey, formerly owner of the News and secretary of the Old Friends Society, celebrated his 71st birthday at the studio of his daughter Madame Durini, in San Francisco, on Sunday last. The party concluded with an opera party at the Tivoli.” (Sausalito News, November 15, 1913, page 6, column 2.)
December 28, 1928: Lilian hosts a concert at her studio. “Durini Vocal Pupils Will Give Recital. Pupils of the Durini vocal studios will give a recital the evening of December 28. Those participating will be Martha Castle, Mrs. Whitney Johnson, Ranger Albrikston [Ragner Albrektson?], Placido Panilla, Sidney C. Lundgren, Alice Bradley, Ramona Estrada, Violetta Polodori Whelan, Louis Leimback [Louis Leimbach? Liembach?] and Frank Willard, assisted by Martha Castle as pianist.” (San Francisco Chronicle, December 23, 1928, page 78, column 4.)
Images of Lilian Slinkey: