Armine von Tempski

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Armine von Tempski (or Tempsky) (1892, Maui, Hawaiian Islands – December 2, 1943, Fresno, California) was an American writer[1][2] and one of Hawaii's best known authors.[3][4] She was a granddaughter of Gustavus von Tempsky.[1]

Armine Von Tempski's autobiographies and novels were based on her early life among the Hawaiian cowboys (paniolos) on the Haleakala cattle ranch[5] atop the Haleakalā shield volcano. The Haleakala Ranch, which Jack London first visited in 1907,[6] was his favourite[7] of the Hawaiian ranches he enjoyed on several extended visits with his wife Charmian. The young Armine, then sixteen years old,[8] asked London to read some of her stories and give his opinion. He said that they were “clumsy, incoherent tripe” but added that “every so often there’s a streak of fire on your pages,”[8] which encouraged her. Her first published writing, in the early 1920s,[3] was about efforts to restore the island of Kahoolawe after years of drought and overgrazing.

She married California real estate agent[1] Alfred Lathrop Ball on December 25, 1932 in Ventura County, California.[9] They were friends of poet Don Blanding,[10] who illustrated von Tempski's book, Ripe Breadfruit (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1935).

Note: While Von Tempski's year of birth is sometimes given[11] or presumed[12] as 1899, it is given as 1892 in most source texts.


The Ox Bow Press in Woodbridge, Connecticut publishes reprint editions of von Tempski's books.[13]



  1. ^ a b c Michael Tsai (July 2, 2006). "Armine von Tempsky". The Honolulu Advertiser. 
  2. ^ "Armine von Tempsky Tells Further Plans". Maui News. Newspaper Abstracts website. May 2, 1928. 
  3. ^ a b Bob Krauss (April 13, 2005). "An earlier rescue of barren isle". The Honolulu Advertiser (includes extensive quotes from Armine von Temspki's first published writing). 
  4. ^ "Past and present: Maui's centennial honorees". Maui News. August 21, 2005. 
  5. ^ "Haleakala Ranch Company History". Haleakala Ranch website. 2005. 
  6. ^ Amy Hartman. "Hawaiian Voice" (SWF movie). (Introduction).  External link in |work= (help)[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Clarice Stasz. Jack London's Women. University of Massachusetts Amherst Press, 2001. ISBN 1-55849-301-8. “They [Jack London and his wife] most preferred visits to ranches, where they could enjoy the isolation and hospitality of a family, as well as daily horseback riding. Their favorite was Haleakala Ranch, managed by Louis von Tempsky. His teenage daughter Armine, a budding writer, was surprised to find Jack a “breezy, boyish-looking man with ... a mop of rather untidy hair. Intelligence, vigor, and a gusto for life emanated from him.” For ten days she joined the couple on horseback. Jack rode “like a sailor,” while Charmian was “such a finished performer that I lent her Bedouin, who had never carried another woman on his back.” Jack read one of Armine's manuscripts and dubbed it “tripe,” but added that she had “a streak of fire” that promised success once she understood that writing was the hardest work in the world.” (Chapter 7, p. 123.)
  8. ^ a b Joseph Theroux. "They Came to Write in Hawai'i". Spirit of Aloha (Aloha Airlines) March/April 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-01-21. 
  9. ^ Ventura County Genealogical Society: Brides, 1929-1940 - TUV Archived December 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Grooms, 1929-1940 - B Archived December 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Don Blanding website: Timeline Archived October 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Friends & Acquaintances Archived October 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Career Archived October 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "Armine Von Tempski (1899-1943)". Find A Grave. 
  12. ^ a b "Armine Von Tempski". The New York Times (registration required). 3 December 1943. Fresno, Calif. Dec. 2 (AP) — Armine von Tempski, writer and lecturer, was found dead here in her hotel room today. She was 44 years old. Deputy coroner L.R. Webb said she died of a heart attack. Best known of Miss von Tempski's works is “Born in Paradise,” an autobiography which became a bestseller. 
  13. ^ "Complete Works of Armine von Tempski". Woodbridge, Connecticut: Ox Bow Press. 
  14. ^ "Von Tempski, Armine, 1892-1943". Hartford public library catalog. 

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