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Guide to the Steinway & Sons Photograph and Print Collection
1858-1949
 PR 166

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Ricky Hunter, Jennifer Lewis, and Jenny Gotwals

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on January 05, 2012
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Steinway & Sons Photograph and Print Collection
Dates: 1858-1949
Abstract: The Steinway & Sons Photograph and Print Collection spans the period from 1858 to 1949 and contains images relating to the Steinway & Sons piano manufacturing company, founded and based in New York City.
Quantity: 3.17 Linear feet (3 boxes)
Location note: Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections
Call Phrase: PR 166

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Historical Note

The Steinway & Sons piano manufacturing company was founded in New York City in 1853 by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinweg (who later legally changed his name to Steinway) and his sons.

The business began at 85 Varick Street, but moved to 88 Walker Street by the next year. The success of the business required expansion. By 1856 the factory moved to 91 Mercer Street, and the showroom and business offices to 84 Mercer Street. The next year the showroom expanded into 82 Mercer Street and this remained the main showroom until Steinway Hall was built in 1864. In 1860, a new and larger factory opened on Park Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets. A new wing was added in 1863, as well as townhouses for the Steinway family along 52nd Street. The Steinway operation, mindful of its need to expand, acquired land in Astoria, and by 1879 moved all manufacturing operations to Queens.

The Steinway soon became the American piano of choice for the discerning, especially after garnering the Grand Gold Medal of Honor at the Paris Exposition of 1867. Steinway Hall, built to showcase the pianos and their sound, was a 2,000-seat auditorium on Union Square that also served as a general-purpose meeting space. It doubled as the home of the New York Philharmonic until the opening of Carnegie Hall in 1891. Steinway Hall was closed in 1925.

In 1871, Henry E. Steinway, Sr. died and control of the firm passed to his sons Henry, William, Charles G., and Albert. The family sold Steinway & Sons in 1972.

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Scope and Content Note

The Steinway & Sons Photograph and Print Collection spans the period from 1858 to 1949 and contains images relating to the Steinway & Sons piano manufacturing company, founded and based in New York City. The collection is divided into two series by format: Photographs and Prints.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into two series by format: Photographs and Prints.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Steinway, Albert, 1840-1877 -- Portraits
  • Steinway, Charles G., 1829-1865 -- Portraits
  • Steinway, Henry Engelhard, 1797-1871 -- Portraits
  • Steinway, Henry, 1830-1865
  • Steinway, William, 1836-1896 -- Portraits

Document Type

  • Albumen prints
  • Cabinet photographs
  • Gelatin silver prints
  • Illustrations
  • Photographic prints
  • Prints
  • Wood engravings

Subject Organizations

  • Steinway & Sons
  • Steinway Hall (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Brownstone buildings -- New York (State) --New York
  • Factories -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Piano makers -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Steinway piano

Subject Places

  • Manhattan (New York, N.Y.) -- Pictorial works

Family Name(s)

  • Steinway family

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Gift of Henry Z. Steinway, 1997 and 2000.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to thirty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. See guidelines in Print Room for details.

Use Restrictions

Permission to reproduce any Print Room holdings through publication must be obtained from:
Rights and Reproductions
The New-York Historical Society
Two West 77th Street
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282
Fax: (212) 579-8794

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Steinway & Sons Photograph and Print Collection, PR 166, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at the New-York Historical Society

Portraits of Steinway family members can be found in the Portrait File (PR 052) and the Imperial Photograph File (PR 210) in the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections. The diary of Steinway & Sons president William Steinway is held by the Manuscript Department.

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Container List

Series I: Photographs

Scope and Contents note

Series I highlights Steinway & Sons factories, showrooms, employees, and events. In addition, a few photographs show early Steinway family residences on East 52nd Street. An early Steinway & Sons factory and showroom at 82-84 Walker Street is shown in an early photograph, as is the much larger factory built at Park Avenue and 53rd Street in the early 1860s. Many photographs show the exterior and interior of Steinway Hall, a 2,000-seat auditorium on Union Square that served as a general-purpose meeting space, as well as the home of the New York Philharmonic until the opening of Carnegie Hall in 1891.

Several photographs show annual dinners and luncheons given for the Steinway & Sons staff. Others show dinners at which Steinway family members were in attendance. These were usually music-related groups, such as the New York Musicians Club, and the Society of the Friends of Music. A photograph shows a dinner celebration for the 70th birthday of Walter Damrosch.

Henry E. Steinway, his sons Henry, William, Charles G, and Albert Steinway are shown in several photographs. Photographs include albumen prints, silver gelatin prints, stereographs, and a few modern copy prints, made from glass negatives in the possession of the LaGuardia Community College Library. Most bear detailed descriptions written by Henry Z. Steinway on the verso or on separate sheet of paper enclosed with each photograph. Photographers represented in the collection include Pach Brothers, S. Beer, and A.B. Bogart.

PEOPLE and EVENTS

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Steinway & Sons employees [including Nahum Stetson]

General note

ca. 1895-1904
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Steinway & Sons employee dinners

General note

See also: Oversize

ca. 1900-1914
Box: Folder : Steinway family members at other dinners

General note

See: Oversize

BUILDINGS

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 3 82-84 Walker Street

General note

See also: Oversize

1858
Box: 1 Folder : 4-6 52nd-53rd Street, Steinway factory and family residences

General note

See also: Oversize

ca. 1861-1898
Box: 1 Folder : 7-10 Steinway Hall, 109 East 14th Street

General note

See also: Oversize

1866-1925
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Windsor Arcade, Fifth Avenue, branch store
ca. 1904

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Series II: Prints

Scope and Contents note

Series II contains mainly pages from nineteenth century picture magazines, in which Steinway Hall is shown. These were collected by Theodore E. Steinway (1883-1957) in an attempt to form a collection of as many images of Steinway Hall as possible. The Hall is shown used for concerts, literary readings, political meetings, and other events, including a Shaker convention and an 1873 commencement of the Women's Medical College. In addition, an 1873 image of the exterior of Steinway Hall in the Daily Graphic is purported to be the first example of a half-tone print used in a periodical.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Steinway Hall (etching)
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Daily Graphic

General note

See also: Box 2, Folder 15

1873-1879
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly

General note

See also: Box 2, Folder 16

1867-1873
Box: 2 Folder : 15 Daily Graphic
1873-1877
Box: 2 Folder : 16 Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly
1867-1879
Box: 2 Folder : 17 Harper's Weekly
1867
Box: 2 Folder : 18 Miscellaneous [lithographed floor plan of the Steinway & Sons Finishing Department]
1883

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OVERSIZE MATERIAL

From Series I. Photographs -- PEOPLE

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 19 Steinway & Sons employee dinners
1903-1949
Box: 2 Folder : 20 Steinway family members at dinners honoring others
1925-1934

From Series I. Photographs -- BUILDINGS

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 21 82-84 Walker Street
1858
Box: 3 Folder : 22 52nd-53rd Street, Steinway factory and family residences
ca. 1862
Box: 3 Folder : 23 Steinway Hall, 109 East 14th Street
1866-1905

From Series II. Prints

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 24 Miscellaneous [watercolor and ink design, by Arthur Blackman, for the souvenir certificate to the Steinway & Sons annual staff dinner]
1911

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