Henning Violin

Description (Brief)
This violin was made by Gustav Henning of Miami, Florida in 1919. Born in Karlstad, Sweden in 1876, Gustav Henning immigrated to America in 1895 and worked for the piano firm of Chickering and Sons in Boston for ten years. In 1905 he established himself as an independent violin maker in the Boston area. He moved his business to Miami, Florida in 1914, then to Denver, Colorado in 1920 and finally settled
in Seattle, Washington in 1927 at the age of 51. Henning marketed his violins by mail order and advertised nationally by magazine, describing his instruments to be “deep, mellow and soulful violins.” At the end of 1947 he had produced violin No. 557, indicating he had produced an average of 17 violins a year since 1919 when this violin, #84 was made. At the age of 71 he was marketing his instruments at $350-$500. He had earned a respectable reputation, shipping instruments to clients internationally as well as throughout the United States. After retiring from violin making, Gustav Henning returned to Sweden, where he died around 1962. This violin is made of a two-piece table of spruce, back of American maple in one piece cut on the slab with broad irregular horizontal figure, ribs of deeply figured American maple, neck, pegbox and scroll of similar maple, and a semi-opaque yellow-brown varnish.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Henning, Gustav
Physical Description
spruce (table material)
maple (back material)
overall: 23 3/4 in x 8 1/4 in x 3 1/2 in; 60.325 cm x 20.955 cm x 8.89 cm
Place Made
United States: Florida, Miami
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Irma Prager
Additional Media

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