A Brief Introduction to Joséphine Baker

On June 3, 1906, Carrie McDonald gave birth to a little girl in St. Louis, and named her Freda Josephine.

Freda Josephine, age 2


If someone could’ve predicted to Carrie that her daughter would become a style icon, a famous singer, the toast of Paris, the owner of a pet cheetah, and a spy for the French Resistance, she would have laughed incredulously. But all of these things would come to be.

What do you suppose will come to be in your life?

Listen to a few of Ms. Baker’s most wonderful songs as you peruse these photographs, and ponder your own unlikely but wonderful future. C’est Lui is my favorite, but you may like a different one best.

Josephine Baker, 1920s


Ms. Baker, defining style in Paris

Josephine Baker with her cheetah Chiquita

Josephine Baker, decades after she first achieved fame, in 1949 (LOC)

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