Violin Society of America / H. K. Goodkind Collection, 1659-1996
Herbert K. Goodkind (1905-1982) worked in real estate and violin sales, and was an avid collector of materials related to violins and stringed instruments. He helped found the Violin Society of America in 1973, and in 1972 he published the book Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari, 1644-1737, the definitive study of all 725 known Stradivari instruments.
The Violin Society of America / H. K. Goodkind Collection, jointly purchased in 1986 by the Violin Society of America and Oberlin College, includes over 1,200 book, score, and periodical titles, more than 550 auction catalogs, miscellaneous research files, institutional records for the Violin Society of America, and a variety of visual materials.
The Violin Society of America / H. K. Goodkind Collection, jointly purchased in 1986 by The Violin Society of America and Oberlin College, includes over 1,200 book, score, and periodical titles, 566 auction catalogs, miscellaneous research files, institutional records for the Violin Society of America, and a variety of visual materials. The collection contains many items originally compiled by Hyman Frankel (d. 1959), including rare books on the violin from the seventeenth century through the twentieth century; scores for solo violin, violin chamber music, violin methods and treatises; prints and engravings; and violins and bows. Goodkind assumed the responsibility for administering Frankel's collection around 1959.
The books, scores, and periodical titles comprise the core of the collection. They focus on the history of the violin, violin construction, the rare violin market through the years, early violin makers and violinists, and early violin treatises. 566 catalogs from 104 auction houses, stringed instrument makers, and musical instrument dealers published between 1838-1991 address violin sales, pricing, and ownership. Research materials include those created or compiled by Goodkind and Edward W. Abell as well as numerous photocopies of articles from periodicals and newspapers (1808-1986) on the subject of violin construction and history. The institutional records of the VSA contain financial, membership, public relations, and board of directors records; along with correspondence, clippings files, ephemera, and miscellaneous photographs. Additional visual materials including photographs, negatives, and two paintings round out the collection.
Series 1: Books (82 linear feet), 1659-1990:Consists of approximately 1,200 books that are individually cataloged in the Oberlin’s Library Catalog (OBIS). A complete list is available organized in reverse chronological order by date of publication.
These materials focus on the history of the violin, violin construction, the rare violin market through the years, early violin makers and violinists, and early violin treatises. Rare eighteenth-century treatises on violin playing and stringed instrument acoustics include authors such as Francesco Geminiani, Carlo Tessarini, Peter Prelleur, Johan Adam Hiller, Leopold Mozart, and Carlo Taglini. More than fifty books on the early nineteenth-century violin virtuoso and composer Niccolo Paganini, including works published during his lifetime, were collected primarily by Frankel, who was an avid admirer of Paganini. There are also a wealth of materials on violin construction and acoustics, with extensive coverage of the bow, varnish, woods, gums and resins, adhesives, and painting techniques. Included in Series I is a notebook (ML140.G66 1900z) Goodkind maintained that indexed photographs of violins discovered in his readings, the catalogs, and other brochures. Although never published, the index is useful to anyone needing photographs of specific violins, and it often refers to items appearing in the Catalogs Series.
Series 2: Periodicals (21.5 linear feet), 1872-1982:Consists of approximately 40 periodical titles, each of which is individually cataloged in the Oberlin Library Catalog (OBIS).
Series 3: Catalogs (13 linear feet), 1838-1991:Consists of auction catalogs, musical instrument maker catalogs and brochures, and musical instrument dealer catalogs that address violin sales, pricing, and ownership. Hyman Frankel regularly collected catalogs and provided the foundation for the catalog collection. When Goodkind received the collection in 1959, he actively worked to update this part of the collection. Goodkind carefully followed the rare violin market by collecting catalogs from auction houses, stringed instrument makers, and musical instrument dealers that related primarily to auctions of musical instruments. Many catalogs contain marginalia by Goodkind. The auction houses most heavily represented are Bongartz, Christie's, Phillips, Puttick & Simpson, and Sotheby's. Price lists and descriptive, historical, or biographical pamphlets of stringed instrument makers include companies such as Fraser, Gemunder, Muller & Kaplan, Roth, Virzi, and Weisshaar. Musical instrument dealer catalogs, especially those dealing with rare instruments include companies such as Bein & Fushi, Inc., Ditson, Doring, Fischer, Friedrich, Lewis, Lyon & Healy, Rushworth & Dreaper, Scherl & Roth, and Wurlitzer. Complete inventory of the 566 catalogs representing 104 companies [PDF].
Series 4: Research Materials (5 linear feet), 1808-1986:Consists of materials created or compiled by Herbert Goodkind or Edward Abell to support research, collecting, and writing.
Sub-Series 1: Herbert K. Goodkind Papers, 1808-1986:Consists of correspondence to or from Goodkind or his estate along with miscellaneous research notes related primarily to stringed instruments. These include seven scrapbooks containing prints and research clippings related to Antonio Stradivari and string instruments more broadly; film negatives for images to be used in Goodkind's book on Stradivari; and files related to Goodkind's reception of the Eugene Ysaye Foundation's Diploma of Honor in 1974. Also contains a number of edited drafts of various articles dealing with string instruments as well as Goodkind's article about Hyman Frankel ("20th-century Tarisio" published in 1962 in The Violin Maker's Journal). Contains 168 articles from 83 periodical titles and 107 newspaper articles from 32 newspaper titles on the subject of violin construction, violin history, and violinists or violin makers. Goodkind collected newspaper clippings and single periodical issues that included articles primarily from non-music journals, generalist periodicals, or other non-music specialized journals which musicians would normally not be able to retrieve through a normal literature search in the field of music. All articles and clippings have been photocopied and placed into a subject-organized vertical file. The file is especially strong in articles on violin builders and violin construction.
Sub-Series 2: Edward W. Abell Papers, 1909-1928:Consists of one box of correspondence and research files. Correspondence between Ada E. Taylor and Abell (1916-1927) is followed by folders of general correspondence (1909-1928). The best biographical material on Abell is found in his draft of a letter to Taylor (never sent) of February 21, 1920. His research files are organized by article along with correspondence to and from editors about that specific article. Correspondence with Ada Taylor, editor of The Violinist, is found in these research files as well as in the separate Taylor/Abell correspondence folders. Ephemera folders contain ads for The Violinist, a membership certificate for the Philadelphia Forum, and publications from John A. Gould & Son in Boston. The final folder contains biographical information on Abell.
Series 5: Visual Materials (0.5 linear feet, and two paintings):Consists of two nineteenth-century photo albums: 1) with 60 photographs of Franz Liszt; 2) with 30 photos of historical figures and royalty. Also included are two postcards with Liszt photos; 8 loose plates with portrait photographs of late nineteenth-century musical figures (Hector Berlioz, Hans Richter, Arthur Nikisch, Anton Seidl, Theodore Thomas, Arturo Toscanini); photographs of violin makers Fred Haenel and Arthur Bultitude; a photo of Charles E. Farley Model 1900 violin; and miscellaneous photographs (c. 65) of violins enclosed in correspondence to Goodkind. An unidentified series of about 40 black and white photographs of rare instruments is included as well as one large black and white photo of Fritz Kreisler and Walter Damrosch. The series additionally contains a 1980 painting (36x48") of H.K. Goodkind by Ted Koepper and a 1971 painting (40x47") of Antonio Stradivari at work by Alton S. Tobey and commissioned by Goodkind, as well as two reproductions (12.5x16") of the Tobey painting.
Series 6: Violin Society of America Institutional Records (1.5 linear feet), 1973-1996 and undated:Contains financial, membership, public relations, and board of directors records; along with correspondence, clippings files, ephemera, and miscellaneous photographs related to the American Society for the Advancement of Violin Making and the Violin Society of America.
Herbert K. Goodkind was born in New York City on April 30, 1905 to Walter and Annie Visanska Goodkind. Musicians in the family included his mother, who was a pianist, and his uncle, Dan Visanska, who played the violin professionally in several orchestras in Europe. Herbert Goodkind grew up in Yonkers, and lived briefly in Florida, South Carolina, and the Bronx before settling in Larchmont, New York in 1933. He attended the Cornell University School of Hotel Management for three years and then spent his career in the real estate business in New York City. During the 1930s and 1940s he sold commercial real estate in Manhattan for Helmsley Spear. He also was an active real estate agent in Larchmont where he maintained a successful business in management, appraisal, and consulting until the 1960s. Goodkind married Mabel Goldhammer (d. 1956) and had two sons, Thomas (b. 1933) and John (b. 1935). He married Virginia Jackson Haggett (b. 1925) in 1957 and had a daughter, Rachel (b. 1958) and a son, Daniel (b. 1961). Rachel continued her father's interest in the history of the violin and managed his estate after his death in 1982 following a one-month illness.
Goodkind's passionate interest in violin history and construction led him to become a dealer and appraiser of violins, an avid collector and dealer in books and other material on the subject, a publisher of his own book on Stradivari, and an early leader in the Violin Society of America, which he helped found in 1973. Initially taught by his uncle, Dan Visanska, Goodkind began playing the violin at age 10 and later, as an accomplished violinist, played in numerous chamber music groups. He played many other instruments as well and earned money during his college years by playing the saxophone. Goodkind began collecting materials about the violin in his early years and continued throughout his life.
Goodkind collected, identified, and appraised rare violins. His careful tracking of specific violins prompted him to collect auction catalogs, especially in the last twenty years of his life. Around 1978 he joined with Eric Chapman, a co-founder of the VSA, to begin a business in Larchmont, New York that specialized in new hand-made instruments and that kept rare instruments on consignment.
As an independent dealer in books on all subjects, Goodkind was a longtime subscriber to AB Bookman. He specialized in rare books and collected music scores as well. In 1958 he sold 36,000 volumes to the University of Texas at Austin (Goodkind-Bookman Collection), and in 1969 he sold 5,000 books and scores to Hofstra University in Long Island.
In 1972, Goodkind published Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari, 1644-1737, the definitive study of all 725 known Stradivari instruments and their provenance with photographs, illustrations and related articles. Because no publisher wished to take the risk of publishing such an ambitious work, Goodkind himself contracted typesetters (Stinehour Press, Lunenburg, Vermont), printers (Meriden Gravure, Meriden, Connecticut), and binders (Horowitz & Co., Clifton, New York) to publish the book on his own. In 1971 Goodkind commissioned Larchmont, New York artist Alton Tobey (b. 1914) to create a painting of Antonio Stradivari at work, which was featured in the book.
The H. K. Goodkind Collection was amassed over the years with significant help from Goodkind’s friend and fellow collector Hyman Frankel (d. 1959). Frankel escaped from Russia in the early 1900s, emigrated to Boston at the age of fifteen, and moved to New York City shortly thereafter. He worked as a fur cutter while studying violin with Ferdinand Carri and collecting books and violins. Over the course of fifty years, Frankel amassed a collection of over 1,000 books including many rare titles on the violin from the seventeenth century through the twentieth century; over 1,500 scores for solo violin, violin chamber music, violin methods and treatises; prints and engravings; and violins and bows. After Frankel’s passing, Goodkind oversaw the disposition of his collection.
Edward W. Abell (1864-1957), an early twentieth-century expert and connoisseur of violin history and violin making, was similar to Goodkind in his interests and approaches to his avocation. He wrote articles on the history of the violin and violin construction in The Violinist and other periodicals from 1916 to 1927.
Restrictions: Collection is open for research.
Rights: The copyright interests in this collection may not have been transferred to Oberlin College.
Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], [Identification of series], Violin Society of America / H. K. Goodkind Collection, Oberlin Conservatory Library