Artifact of the Month

Stainer Violin

Stainer Violin Stainer violin mark

Buddy, Rafe, and Josephine Braun
Buddy and Rafe Braun with their mother, Josephine, at home in Springdale, circa 1935. Courtesy Mary Braun

This violin is a copy of those made by Jacob Stainer (1617-1683), Austria’s earliest and most famous violin maker. Many copies of Stainer violins were made from the late 1800s to about 1950. Sears, Roebuck and Company sold a version and described it in its 1902 catalog as “much sought after by all players of the violin on account of this model producing an exceptionally sweet and powerful tone.”

The violin was owned by the Percy Braun family of Springdale. Percy Braun was a pharmacist whose avocation was music. He was a member of many Springdale bands, led his own orchestra of family members and others, and helped organize the Northwest Arkansas Symphony Orchestra about 1940. His wife, Josephine Berry Braun, was an accomplished pianist and music teacher. Their children, Raphael (“Rafe”), Josef (“Buddy”), and Mary were all schooled in music.  As adults, Buddy played the horn in traveling Broadway shows and Mary, a harpist, played at local weddings and society events. 

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