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Mr. Bringe's Life

Through the years, we have sought additional information about Walter Bringe, the founder of our company. All we knew was that he was a German by birth and that he came over to America after winning an award for his violin-building. We knew that he went to New York and eventually made his way down here to St. Petersburg, Florida. I was honored to meet him near the end of his life, back in 1981 when I began working here at Bringe. My exposure to him was quite limited, however, because soon after I was hired, we relocated the store to First Avenue, N. Mr. Bringe retired at that time and that was about all I knew.

Andy Anderson, one of our trusted employees was married to Jeanne, Mr. Bringe’s niece. When Andy retired in the late 90’s, our direct connection to Mr. Bringe was gone.

Over the years since, I’ve asked around for pictures or documents or even remembrances of Mr. Bringe that I could share on our site but information was not forthcoming.

You can imagine how surprised and pleased I was when, out of the blue, I received an email from Debbie Graves, Jeanne and Andy’s daughter and great niece of Mr. Bringe! Debbie wrote:

“Hi—just happened on your website when looking for something. Walt Bringe was my great uncle. Andy Anderson is my dad (he is 81 and lives here in Kentucky with me now.) I grew up hanging around in the music store at 822 Central and of course my dad worked there until his retirement in the late ‘90’s. I’d like to receive the Bringe newsletter, sure, why not.
(P.S. if you ever need some pictures of Uncle Walt …)”

Well, it didn’t take me too long to respond and ask for whatever she could send. What you see on this page is what I’ve received from Debbie … so far! Enjoy!

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Debbie believes that this is the absolute oldest picture in existence of Mr. Bringe. It was most likely taken while he was still in Germany.

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Early Documents

According to Debbie, these two documents are Mr. Bringe’s immigration card and passport documents which show that he was admitted to the United States on August 27th, 1928, at the very young age of 21!

A lot of the document below is written in German and I haven’t had it translated yet!

Along with these documents, Debbie sent along four letters which she believes are letters of recommendation that Mr. Bringe brought with him when he caome over from Germany for his apprenticeship(s). Since receiving them, we have been able to have them translated by Joy auf dem Kampe, band director at St. Raphael’s Catholic School.

Click here to view the letters and their translations!