[Spam Biography: a biography is produced based solely on the fake name attached to a piece of mail that winds up in the Spam folder of my gmail account.]
Beulah Ali was born Beulah MacAlister in Belzoni, MS in either 1897 or 1898 to a farmer named Padrig MacAlister and his wife, Meaghan. She would later describe her childhood as "Small people living small lives in a small town. It was alright." In 1914, she won the title "Miss Saw Mill" and was sent to Cologne, Germany to represent American industry in the 1914 World's Fair (The infamous "Werkbund Exhibition," in which the first German-designed tanks were "jokingly" pointed directly at Serbia's table and sole representative - generally considered a small, but important incident in the run-up to WWI.). While there, Beulah met and fell in love with Jacques "Scimitar" Ali, the knife juggler at The Ottoman Empire's "Healthy Man of Europe!" Pavilion. As war broke out around them, Jacques and Beulah fled to his native Paris (Jacques was a French citizen of aristocratic extraction who had been hired by the Ottoman Empire for his robust mustache and willingness to change his last name) and were hastily married on the steps on Notre Dame.
Unfortunately, Jacques was drafted and sent to the front within weeks of their arrival in Paris. Beulah eked out a living by singing in clubs at night and weaving bandages for the war effort during the day. As the war dragged on, Beulah became well-known for her cabaret act, a set of self-penned songs in a mix of English and French that detailed - in quite explicit language - how happy she'd be when her husband returned from the trenches. She recorded "That Shot'll be Heard 'Round the World" in August 1918, on the eve of Allied victory. It became the unofficial anthem for the end of hostilities and the homecoming of millions of soldiers. Unfortunately, her own husband, Jacques, perished on the battlefield days before the Armistice. Beulah never recovered. She wrote and recorded a handful of songs after receiving the news, but destroyed the masters before they could be released. "They were my love letters to Jacques. I didn't want anyone to hear them," she said.
She retreated from the world, living in a small apartment in Montmartre off royalties and the kindness of a still appreciative public. She died in 1942 while working on her first new songs in over two decades. Only "Vichy Victory," a scathing critique of French collaborationism, was released. While suppressed, it became popular abroad and among the resistance. At her request, her body was interred in her family's cemetery in her native Mississippi. "Since I can't be with Jacques," she said, "Mississippi seems as bad as anywhere else."