Kate Behnke (d1920 or 1915?),

her husband Emil Behnke (1836-1892)

and their Daughter, Kate Emil Behnke

Kate Behnke (the mother) was an actress in England who became a speech clinician. She believed that the primary cause of stuttering was incoordination of the breathing muscles with those of the vibrating element, which thus delayed production of tone. Laryngeal faults she held to be secondary (from Klingbeil, 1939, p. 130). She also specialized in voice coaching and therapy, as did her husband, Emil. Kate and Emil’s daughter, Kate Emil-Behnke, also became a speech clinician.

Here is a paragraph written by Rodney Mace that describes the influence of the Behnkes on the vocal culture movement in the mid and late 1800s.

Emile Behnke was from the 1880s to the 1940s one of Britain ’s most influential teachers on all matters relating to the voice. Along with his wife and daughter (both Kates), the doctor Lennox Browne and the musician, Charles Pearce, Behnke published dozens of books, some of which ran into a hundred editions. Behnke was among one of the first voice teachers to use the evidence of X-rays after their discovery in 1896 to study how the lungs and muscles of the throat actually worked when a person was speaking. Kate Emil-Behnke, like her father, made extensive use of the laryngoscope made popular by the famous London singing teacher ManueI Garcia in the 1870s (Mace, 1994, p. 2).

The Behnkes’ practice was partly private and partly located in two London hospitals London Guys Hospital and London Hospital).

Kate Behnke (the mother)

Behnke, K. (1895). Voice failure. In Emil Behnke’s The mechanism of the human voice. 18 th edition. London: Curwen & Sons Ltd.

Behnke, K. (1898) The speaking voice, its development and preservation. London: Curwen & sons, ltd.

Nicholls, F. (1893). Letter to the British Medical Journal, 1, p. 1043.

This infirmity is so great a drawback to almost every walk in life, and for public speaking so complete a hindrance, that a cure is of utmost importance. It may therefore be of interest, and possibly of some use to members of the medical profession having a case of this nature in their practice, and desiring assistance for its cure, if I mention that I have recently had the most satisfactory experience of the cure of such a case. The father, a minister, was very anxious for his son to follow in his own footsteps, while the lad stuttered so badly it was not to be thought of, unless a cure could be effected; and for this purpose he was sent to Mrs. Behnke, of Earl’s Court Square, London. Mrs. Behnke was chosen from high recommendations, and very thoroughly has she proved worthy of them. The lad has just returned home, and speaks without the slightest impediment. I should state that previously to going under Mrs. Behnke’s hands we had tried various rules and recommendations without the least success.

Kate Emil Behnke (the daughter)

Behnke, K. E. (1900). Revision of her mother’s book: The speaking voice: Its development and preservation. London: Curwen & Sons.

Behnke, K. E. (1907). On stammering, cleft palate speech, lisping. London, UK: Sampson Low. (Bluemel lists this as written by Mrs. Emil Behnke)

Behnke, K. E. (1922). Behnke’s stammering, cleft palate speech, lisping. (2nd ed). London, UK: Bailliere, Tindall & Cox, 1922.

Behnke, K. E. (1922). Stammering, What is it? Lancet, 202, 1130.

Behnke, K. E. (1926). Singer’s difficulties: how to overcome them. NY: Cassell & Co.

Behnke, K. E. (1930). Speech and movement on the stage. London: Oxford University Press.

Behnke, K. E. (1938). Breathing for health, athletics, sport. London: J. Curwen.

Behnke, K. E. (1938). The technique of good speech. London: J. Curwen & Sons.

Behnke, K. E. (1945-1947). The technique of singing. London: Williams and Norgate.

Behnke, K. E. (1947). Stammering: Its nature, causes and treatment. London , UK: Williams and Norgate.

Nicholls, F. L. (1893). Letter to the British Medical Journal. British Medical Journal, 1, 1043. (on efficacy of K. E. Behnke’s therapies).

Emil Behnke (1836-1892) (the father)

Emil, was a singing teacher, who developed his own system of training. He was a lecturer on vocal physiology at the Tonic Sol-fa College, in London. He was the first to photograph the larynx in action, around 1870.

Behnke, E. (Ed.) (1881) The mechanism of the human voice. London. Curwen. Behnke, Emil (1885) The child’s voice. Chicago, IL: A. N. Marquis & Co.

Behnke, Emil & Lunn, Charles (1882). Herr emil Behnke and Mr. Charles Lunn. Werner's Magazine, 4, #11, 162.

Browne, Lennox and Behnke, Emil (1884). Letter. Werner's Voice Magazine, 6, #8, 128.

Behnke, Emil & Browne, Lennox (1885). The child’s voice: Its treatment with regard to after development. Chicago, IL: A. N. Marquis & Co.

Browne, L. & Behnke, E. (1887). Voice, song, and speech: A practical guide for singers and speakers, London: Sampson Low.

Behnke, E. & Browne, L. (1889). Emil behnke's and Lennox Browne's reply. Werner's Voice Magazine, 11, #10, 211.

Behnke, Emil, (1891) On the nature and treatment of stammering. Journal of Laryngology and Rhinology, 5, 257-260.

Behnke, E. (1892). Stammering: Its nature and treatment. Werner’s Voice Magazine, 14, 1, 45-6.

Behnke, E. (1893). Stammering, its nature and treatment. Appendix on voice production in speaking (4th ed). London: T. Fisher Unwin.

Behnke, E (1897). Cure of stammering. Guy’s Hospital Gazette, 11, 324.

About Emil Behnke:

Anonymous (1883). Portrait of Emil Behnke. Werner's Voice Magazine, 5, #12, 185.

Anonymous (1884). Emil Behnke Voice, 6 #11, 198.

Anonymous (1885). Editorials: Respiratory practice, Moses True Brown, A. Graham Bell, Emil Behnke, etc. Voice, 7, #4, 61.

Anonymous (1889). Oskar Guttmann vs. Lennox Browne and Emil Behnke-a charge of plagiarism. Werner's Voice Magazine, 11, #8, 159.

Kofler, Leo (1889). Leo Kofler's reply to Emil Behnke Werner's Voice Magazine, 11, #9, 190.

Caldwell, W. Lee, Mrs. (1892). Lessons of Hermann Vezin and Emil Behnke. Werner's Voice Magazine, 14, #9, 274.

Anomymous (1892). Obituary of Emil Behnke. Werner's Voice Magazine, 14, #11, 342.