János Kemény (author)

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Baron János Kemény (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 5 September 5 1903 – Târgu Mureş, 13 October 1971) was a Hungarian writer, theater director, dramatist, and founder of the Marosvécs/Brâncoveneşti Helikon community.


János Kemény's mother, the actress Ida Berenice Mitchell (1871-1956), lost her husband, István Kemény, shortly after János was born and could not afford to support her four children. She therefore moved from the United States to her grandfather's house in Transylvania in 1904. János attended the Reformed College (denominational high school) in Kolozsvár/Cluj, and then enrolled in the fall of 1921 at the College of Land Cultivation in Vienna. He was married in 1923 to a woman of Scottish-Greek origin, Augusta Paton, daughter of William Roger Paton, and they had six children.

In 1926, János Kemény and Aladár Kuncz organized a literary conference of Transylvanian Hungarians at Kemény's estate in Brâncoveneşti, Mureş (Marosvécs) County. This led to the formation of the Helikon community, which from 1928 published the influential Hungarian literary periodical Erdélyi Helikon. In 1930, Kemény was awarded the Corvin Wreath by the Hungarian Government.[1]

For ten years from 1931, he headed the Hungarian Thália Theater in Kolozsvár/Cluj and also published literary work. Then from 1945 to 1952 he was among the founding organizers of the Székely theatre in Târgu Mureş (Marosvásárhely). However, he was obliged to do manual work in the communist period, before later finding a job in the library of Târgu Mureş (Marosvásárhely) art college and working on the Hungarian-language magazine Új Élet in the same city. A succession of his works appeared between 1957 and his death in 1971, but he managed to complete only one volume of a planned autobiography.

Selected works

  • His first writing "Emlékezetem" (Cluj, 1921) (My memories)
  • Kutyakomédia (Poor Comedy, Cluj, 1934)


  1. ^ List of persons who were decorated with the Corvin decoration

External links

  • The Kemény family webpage
  • Kemény János, the Maecenas
  • Hungarian Biographical Lexicon
  • Famous Hungarians
  • A legend of János Kemény
  • Poor comedy masterwork
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