Skip to main content

Henri Temianka papers

Identifier: 2016-064-s-r

Content Description

This collection contains materials pertaining to the life and career of Henri Temianka, primarily correspondence written by and sent to Temianka. Included in this correspondence are letters that Henri's wife, Emmy Teminaka, sent to her mother in the 1940s. Especially noteworthy is correspondence from 1940 - 1941 concerning Henri Temianka's successful efforts to secure the release of his parents from Gurs, a concentration camp in France. There are also concert programs, music scores, photographs, scrapbooks, and publications such as directories and privately published speeches.


  • Majority of material found within 1911 - 2016
  • c. 1810

Language of Materials

Languages other than English in this collection are: Chinese, Estonian, Finnish, French, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish, Swedish, and Russian.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical / Historical

Henri Temianka (1906 - 1992) was a violinist and conductor who founded the Paganini Quartet. Born in Scotland to Polish parents, he moved as a young child with his family to Holland. He studied violin in Rotterdam with Carel Blitz from 1915 to 1923; with Willy Hess in Berlin from 1923 to 1924; with Jules Boucherit in Paris from 1924 to 1926; and with violinist Carl Flesch and composer Artur Rodziński in Philadelphia from 1927 to 1930. In 1935, he won third prize in the first Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Warsaw, Poland. Temianka toured Europe and North America extensively until the outbreak of World War II. After successfully campaigning for the release of his parents from a concentration camp in Gurs, France, he married sculptor Emma May Cowden (1922 - 2014) in 1943. The couple had two children, Daniel (b. 1948) and David (1957 - 2016). Temianka's Carnegie Hall debut occurred in 1945. The following year, he founded the Paganini Quartet, so named because its original members played on instruments made by Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 1737) that had once been owned by composer Niccolo Paganini (1782 – 1840). The ensemble won acclaim for a 1947 recording of Beethoven's String Quartets No. 7 - 9, Opus 59, “Rasumovsky.” The Paganini Quartet, of which Temianka was the only constant member, performed concerts around the world until 1966. Temianka also initiated a concert series for young audiences in Los Angeles that became, in 1961, the California Chamber Symphony. Additionally, he taught music at University of California at Santa Barbara and California State University at Long Beach. He published a memoir, Facing the Music, in 1973. He also wrote many articles about playing and teaching strings that were published in a variety of periodicals. Honors and awards bestowed upon Henri Temianka include Officier des Arts et des Lettres from France in 1979 and an honorary doctorate from Pepperdine University in 1986.


18 Linear Feet (30 boxes total: 1 carton, 16 document boxes (letter), 4 document boxes (legal), 2 flat boxes of various size, and 7 custom boxes of various size.)


This collection contains materials pertaining to the life and career of violinist Henri Temianka (1996 - 1992).


There are seven series:

  • Correspondence
  • Music scores
  • Concert programs
  • Contracts
  • Photographs
  • Publications, directories, and passenger lists
  • Certificates, clippings, scrapbooks, and notebooks

These are arranged chronologically except for subseries 1-10 of the Correspondence series, which are arranged alphabetically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Daniel Temianka and Zeinab Dabbah in 2014, 2016, and January 2019.

Existence and Location of Copies

Many of the materials in this collection have been digitized and are available at

Related Materials

Henri Temianka sheet music and book collection (2014-100-r)
Finding Aid for the Henri Temianka Papers
In Progress
Nick Dante and Wendy Gonaver
5/2/2018 and 11/15/19
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives, Leatherby Libraries Repository

Chapman University
One University Drive
Orange 92866 USA US