Scope and Content
Title: Karl Geiringer papers
Identifier/Call Number: UArch FacP 46
Language of Material:
UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Research Collections
24.8 Linear Feet
(28 document boxes, 9 oversize boxes, 5 audiocassettes, 41 tape reels, 22 videocassettes)
Geiringer, Karl, 1899-1989
Date (inclusive): approximately 1927-1989
Papers of Austrian musicologist Karl Geiringer (1899-1989).
Physical Location: Special Research Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library
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[Identification of Item], Karl Geiringer papers, UArch FacP 46. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library,
University of California, Santa Barbara.
Gift of George Gardiner, 2007.
Karl Geiringer (April 26, 1899–January 10, 1989) was an Austrian American musicologist, educator, and biographer of composers.
He was educated in Vienna but at the beginning of the Nazi years he emigrated to England and ultimately the United States,
where he had a lengthy and distinguished career at several universities. He was a noted authority on Brahms, Haydn, and the
Bach family, and a prolific author.
Geiringer was born in Vienna, the son of Louis and Martha (nee Wertheimer) Geiringer. He studied music history at the University
of Vienna under Guido Adler and Curt Sachs, and studied composition under Hans Gál. He also studied at the University of Berlin
under Curt Sachs. He received his Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Vienna in 1923.The topic of his doctoral thesis
was the musical instruments appearing in Renaissance painting. Following his degree he worked as an editor for Adler's journal
Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich; he remained on the editorial board of this publication for the rest of his life.
In 1930 he won a top position in the musicological field, as the curator of the archives at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde,
a position previously held by his mentor Eusebius Mandyczewski and other distinguished scholars. The job gave Geiringer access
to much valuable primary source material on Western music, which he used extensively in his scholarship. An unusual responsibility
Geiringer bore at the Gesellschaft archives was the curatorship of Joseph Haydn's skull, which had been stolen from his grave
in 1809. In the first English edition of his Haydn biography (1946), Geiringer reminisced about bringing forth Haydn's head
to show to visitors.
In 1938, Austria was incorporated into Nazi Germany in the Anschluss. With the Nazi occupation, the Gesellschaft was closed.
Geiringer, although he had been baptized a Roman Catholic, was the child of Jewish parents; hence he and his family were in
grave danger, and they fled the country. He first went to London, where he taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music and served
as a broadcaster for the BBC. He also worked extensively as an editor for the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians; according
to his later colleagues he was "in all but name a co-editor".
In 1940, Geiringer moved to America, becoming an American citizen in 1945. He taught first for a year as a visiting professor
at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. The following year he took up a professorial appointment at Boston University, where
he directed the graduate program and remained for 21 years. Among his students was H. C. Robbins Landon. His final academic
appointment began in 1962, when he moved to the University of California at Santa Barbara, in order to establish the graduate
program in musicology. Throughout this time, he continued to publish extensively.
In 1973 he became an emeritus professor, but continued to be very active: his colleagues said of him, "His 'retirement' ...
proved to be more of a technicality than a reality—his teaching and research continued unabatedly and were interrupted only
by death itself." He died in Santa Barbara at the age of 89 of complications from injuries sustained in a fall.
Geiringer was twice married. His first wife, and longtime coauthor, was Irene Geiringer (1899–1983).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Geiringer, accessed on 8/18/2015
Scope and Content
The bulk of this collection consists of documents, photographs, clippings, off-prints, manuscripts, scores and audiovisual
materials related to the musicological work and research of Karl Geiringer. In addition, the collection contains personal/biographical
materials related to Karl and Bernice Geiringer, music programs and magazines, and interview transcripts.
A large portion of the photographs are reprints used in Geiringer's publications and for teaching, mainly of composers and
musical instruments, though there are some personal photographs. Clippings, in English and German, range from the 1930s through
the 1990s. Some of the clippings folders include personal and work related items.
Personal materials include clippings of articles honoring Geiringer, awards, and manuscripts to Geiringer's unpublished memoir
This I Remember. Materials pertaining to Bernice Geiringer in this collection include correspondence, clippings, notes, and the manuscript
to her memoir
My Triumph Over Tragedy.
Correspondence includes personal correspondence with family, ranging from 1911 through the 1980s, correspondence with academic
colleagues and musicians, and editorial correspondence.
Audiovisual materials include recorded lectures by Geiringer, concerts, and tributes, including the dedication of Karl Geiringer
Hall at UCSB.
The collection is divided into the following series: Series 1. Work, Series 2. Photographs, Series 3. Clippings, Series 4.
Personal, Series 5. Correspondence, and Series 6. Audiovisual.
Bernice Geiringer papers, PA Mss 40. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California,
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Musicologists -- United States -- Archives
Geiringer, Karl, 1899-1989 -- Archives