Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
6 documents - page 1 of 1

Steinway & Sons Records and Family Papers

Creator:
Steinway, William  Search this
Steinway, Henry Ziegler  Search this
Steinway family  Search this
Steinway & Sons  Search this
Krüsi, Bartholomew, Rev.  Search this
Source:
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Names:
CBS  Search this
German Presbyterian Church (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Lehman, Lilly  Search this
Steinway, Fred T., 1860-1927  Search this
Steinway, Henry (Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg), 1797-1871  Search this
Steinway, John  Search this
Steinway, Theodore (C.F. Theodore Steinweg), 1825-1889  Search this
Former owner:
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Extent:
6 Cubic feet (12 boxes, including photographs and microfilm)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Business records
Diaries
Catalogs
Correspondence
Microfilms
Photographs
Minute books
Business letters
Love letters
Letters
Letter books
Date:
1857-1919
Summary:
Records of the Steinway & Sons piano company and a daily diary of William Steinway, a key figure in the rise of the company to international prominence in the nineteenth century. The records document overall operations of the company, individual piano serial numbers, and the business and personal life of William Steinway, a prominent figure in New York business, politics, and musical life.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of an original diary (and microfilm copies) kept by William Steinway and microfilm copies of nineteenth century business records of Steinway & Sons. There also are business and family photographs and some miscellaneous documents.
Arrangement:
Series 1, William Steinway Diary, 1861-1896

Series 2, Steinway Business Records, 1858-1910

Series 3, Steinway Family Materials, 1877-1882

Series 4, Rev. Bartholomew Krüsi Materials, 1857-1919
Biographical / Historical:
Heinrich Engelhard Steinway (Steinweg) (born 1797, Wolfshagen, Germany; died 1871, New York City) made his first piano in 1836. In 1850 he immigrated to America and settled in New York City with his wife, three daughters, and four of his five sons. He and his sons Charles, Henry, Jr., and William at first worked for various New York piano makers until 1853 when they formed the partnership of Steinway & Sons. One year later Steinway & Sons' square pianos won first prize at the Metropolitan Mechanics Institute Exhibition (held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.) and in 1855 won the Gold medal for the best piano (an over-strung iron-frame square piano) in the American Institute Fair at the Crystal Palace in New York City. In 1859, Henry, Jr. patented (patent no. 26,532, December 20, 1859) a design for a one-piece over-strung iron frame for the grand piano that won praise, a gold medal, and international recognition at the 1867 Paris Exposition.

The firm faced a crisis in 1865 when two of Heinrich's sons died: Henry (born 1831), who was responsible for the first seven patents, and Charles (born 1829). The family prevailed on the eldest son, C. F. Theodor (1825 1889), to sell his partnership as a piano manufacturer in Braunschweig, Germany, and to join his family in New York City. Not eager to sever all his ties in Germany, Theodor spent time in both countries until his death, contributing technical innovations that resulted in forty-one patents. One of these patents was for the duplex scale in 1872. Several of the following generation worked with the firm, including Fred T. Steinway (1860-1927), son of Charles, who served in London, Hamburg, and New York City.

C. F. Theodor Steinway's technical skills were matched by the entrepreneurial skills of his brother William (1835 1896). William was a creative businessman who played the piano, sang tenor, and supported the musical life of New York City. His promotional and marketing techniques, and his cultivation of eminent musicians and association with aristocratic patrons, helped to make Steinway & Sons so successful. William Steinway was prominent in New York City social and political life.

In 1880, Steinway & Sons opened a Hamburg branch. The firm was sold in 1972 to CBS. Subsequent owners include the Birmingham Brothers (Steinway Musical Properties, 1985-1995) and Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. (1995-).
Related Materials:
The LaGuardia and Wagner Archives at LaGuardia Community College/CUNY is the largest repository of Steinway materials. It holds extensive business records as well as personal papers and photographs. The Steinway family loaned seventy folders of Steinway family correspondence to the National Museum of American History in October, 1984, and a program of transcription and translation was begun by the Steinway Diary Project. The original correspondence was transferred to the Archives Center in August 1985 and, at the request of Henry Z. Steinway, transferred to the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives in March, 1990. Additional Steinway materials are at the New York Historical Society, the University of Maryland Performing Arts Library, and other repositories. The control file for this collection has further information on the location of Steinway materials.

The Archives Center's N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records contains advertising proof sheets for Steinway & Sons from 1900 through 1963. The Piano series of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana contains five folders of material on Steinway. The Industry on Parade Film Collection has a short, 1953 film (reel #156) on Steinway's manufacture of pianos in its Long Island plant. The Sohmer & Company Records contain three folders of trade literature from Steinway. These include catalogs, pamphlets, and booklets on the Steinway family genealogy and on the Steinway piano used at the White House. Sohmer, also a New York City piano manufacturer, collected copies of competitors' sales catalogs and other publications.
Separated Materials:
The Division of Culture and the Arts holds several Steinway and Sons pianos.
Provenance:
Henry Z. Steinway donated the William Steinway diary on April 2, 1996.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use. Researchers must use positive microfilm copy of diary. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.
Rights:
Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for commercial use.
Topic:
Keyboard instruments -- Manufacturing  Search this
Travel  Search this
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865  Search this
Politics -- New York (N.Y.)  Search this
Church Interiors  Search this
Piano  Search this
Piano makers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Business records
Diaries
Catalogs
Correspondence -- 1930-1950
Microfilms -- Negative
Photographs -- 1850-1900
Minute books
Business letters
Love letters
Letters
Letter books
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- 1900-1910
Citation:
Steinway and Sons Piano Company Collection, 1857-1919, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0178
See more items in:
Steinway & Sons Records and Family Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0178
Online Media:

Chickering & Sons Piano Company Collection

Creator:
Chickering, Jonas, 1798-1853  Search this
Source:
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Names:
Chickering & Sons Piano Company  Search this
Wurlitzer Company  Search this
McKay, John, Captain  Search this
Stewart, James  Search this
Former owner:
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Extent:
16 Cubic feet (37 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Microfilms
Trade literature
Photographic prints
Papers
Place:
Boston (Mass.)
Date:
1864 - 1985
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of 51 volumes of Chickering & Sons piano registers, documenting piano production (May 1823-September 1985); correspondence related to the hundredth anniversary of Jonas Chickering's presidency of the Handel and Hayden Society; publications on the history of the Company and sales literature (1854-1984); newspapers articles about the company (1847-1876); photographs (1926-1966); advertising and management forms (1938-1968); and a copy of a letter by Jonas Chickering to his father dated January 27, 1838. There are also ten documents related to the construction, mortgaging and insurance of Chickering Hall in New York City (1876-1886). Chickering Hall opened with great acclaim in 1875 and was an important musical center in New York City in the last quarter of the 19th Century. Some grand pianos from turn of the century onward are not listed in the ledgers. It is thought that Chickering may have had a duplicate set of serial numbers for grand pianos but this collection lacks that volume.
Arrangement:
This collection organized into seven series.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1950

Series 2: Publications, 1854-1884

Series 3: Company history and records, 1838-1940

Series 4: Newspapers, 1847-1876

Series 5: Photographs, 1924-1966

Series 6: Management forms and material, 1938-1968

Series 7: Microfilm of ledger books, 1823-1985
Biographical / Historical:
Chickering & Sons pianos are an old line that came into being in April 1823 in Boston. Jonas Chickering, the founder, was a youthful cabinet maker. He learned piano making from John Osborn, a true master of the trade. The division of labor in Osborn's shop was not very extensive and Chickering was compelled to study every part of the instrument and to make himself acquainted with all the details. This exposure to the full range of tasks would served him well when he became a master in his own right. During his four years with Osborn, he became acquainted with Osborn's partner, James Stewart, who was awarded a patent for a "detached" soundingboard that was incorporated in the partners' pianos.

When Osborn and Stewart severed their business relationship, Stewart and his new partner, Chickering, opened a small shop on Tremont Street near King's Chapel on February 15, 1823. The partnership lasted three years until Stewart withdrew and left for London. At the age of 28, Chickering became the sole owner of the small but prosperous manufactory. The firm's annual output climbed over the next three years and reached 47 instruments in 1829.

In early 1830, Chickering made Captain John McKay, an experienced, aggressive, and successful merchandiser a partner in Chickering & Company. Captain Mackay made frequent trips to South American ports with ships laden with pianos. Returning home, the hold was filled with fragrant rosewood and richly grained mahogany. Chickering's first invention was patented in 1837 the first practical casting of a modern iron frame built to sustain the great tension of the strings of the piano so that it would stay in tune for a considerable period. In 1845, another important patent was secured, representing the first practical method of overstringing for square pianos, and in 1849 he applied the same principle to uprights. These contributions and others have become standard with all piano manufacturers.

The Chickering firm made pianos in a new way, employing production strategies that paralleled developments in other trades undergoing industrialization. "When he first commenced business for himself about 15 instruments a year were turned out while in the later years Mr. Chickering's business finished between fifteen and sixteen hundred instruments a year and at least one grand piano worth about a thousand dollars every week." (Richard G. Parker, A Tribute To The Life and Character of Jonas Chickering "By one who knew him well" (Boston: William P. Tewksbury, 1854.)

He was a long time President of the Handel & Hayden Society of Boston, this Country's oldest oratorio, founded in 1815.

On December 1, 1853, a fire swept through the Washington Street factory. Rather than rebuild on Washington Street, plans were made to erect a new factory on Tremont Street in the South End of Boston. Chickering, however, never saw the new plant in operation as he suffered a stroke and died December 8, 1853. The large Chickering factory built in 1853 was described at that time as the largest building in the United States outside the U.S. Capitol, and as "... the most perfect and extensive pianoforte estblishment in the world."

Chickering's death in 1853 left the business in the hands of his sons. In 1867, Emperor Napoleon III of France bestowed the Imperial Cross of the Legion of Honor on Frank Chickering at the Paris World's Fair that year.

With the passing of C. Frank Chickering in 1891, the company lost headway; and it was purchased by the American Piano Company in 1908 (Chickering Brothers pianos, which were made for several years following 1892 were in no way related to Chickering & Sons, though this family of boys was trained in the Chickering & Sons Boston factory).

From 1905 to 1911, the firm alone among American builders supported the revival of early instruments by hiring the English musician and craftsman Arnold Dolmetsch to build harpsichords, clavichords, and violas.

Chickering & Sons continued manufacturing pianos in Boston until 1927, when the plant and its personnel were relocated to East Rochester, New York. The Chickering was the foremost piano of the time Longfellow had one and there was one on the stage at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. the night Lincoln was assassinated. In 1932 the Company became part of the Aeolian American Corporation.

William Knabe of Kreutzburg, Germany, trained as a piano manufacturer, established his business in Baltimore, Maryland in 1837, and controlled the market in the Southern states by 1860. The Civil War and economic pressures may have contributed to the death of Knabe in 1864. The Company was eventually purchased by the American Piano Company in 1908, shortly after Chickering became a part of the organization.

The Wurlitzer Company, a major musical instrument manufacturer, acquired the Chickering firm in 1985 and continued to produce instruments with the Chickering name. The Wurlitzer Company was later purchased by the Baldwin Piano Company; Baldwin was subsequently purchased by Wurltech, Inc., of Houston, Texas.
Provenance:
This collection was donated by the Wurlitzer Company, May 17, 1987.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
advertising  Search this
Keyboard instruments  Search this
Business -- History  Search this
Musical instruments -- 1860-1990  Search this
Musical instrument manufacturing  Search this
Piano makers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Microfilms
Trade literature
Photographic prints
Papers
Citation:
Chickering and Sons Piano Company Collection, 1864-1985, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0264
See more items in:
Chickering & Sons Piano Company Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0264
Online Media:

Sohmer & Co. Records

Author:
Falcone Custom Grand Pianos  Search this
Collector:
Musical Instruments, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Musical Instruments, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Donor:
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Creator:
Sohmer & Company  Search this
Names:
Sohmer & Company  Search this
Kuder, Joseph  Search this
Sohmer, Harry J.  Search this
Sohmer, Harry J., Jr.  Search this
Sohmer, Hugo  Search this
Sohmer, William  Search this
Extent:
43 Cubic feet (74 boxes and 11 oversize folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Sales catalogs
Photographic prints
Advertisements
Scrapbooks
Clippings
Journals (accounts)
Ledgers (account books)
Place:
Ivoryton (Conn.)
New York (N.Y.) -- Musical instruments industry
Date:
1872-1989
Scope and Contents:
The records of Sohmer & Co., date from 1872 through 1989. They fall into fourteen series based primarily on function. Legal, financial, inventory & appraisal, manufacturing, marketing, advertising, and sales are the major series. Photographs, awards, family papers, publications about Sohmer, general publications, "miscellaneous" and correspondence are the remaining series. The records are especially strong in the areas of advertising, finances, and marketing. The collection does not contain corporate records, articles of incorporation, executive records, minutes, annual reports, or personnel records such as payrolls or job descriptions.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into 14 series.

Series 1: Stock and Legal Records, 1882-1985

Series 2: Financial Records, 1887-1962

Series 3: Inventory & Appraisal Records, 1891-1980

Series 4: Manufacturing Records, 1872-1967

Series 5: Marketing, 1901-1989

Series 6: Advertising Records, 1880-1983

Series 7: Sales Records, 1923-1982

Series 8: Photographs, circa 1920-1964

Series 9: Awards, 1876-1976

Serioes 10: Sohmer Family Papers, 1945-1970

Series 11: Publications about Sohmer, 1883-1986

Series 12: General Publications, 1912-1985

Series 13: Miscellaneous Records, 1894-1983

Series 14: Correspondence, 1892-1987
Historical:
When Sohmer & Co. was founded in 1872 by Hugo Sohmer and his partner Joseph Kuder, it became one of 171 piano manufacturers in New York City. Over the next 110 years, Sohmer & Co. was one of the few active and successful family-owned and operated piano-making ventures in the United States. Nationally known for tonal quality and fine craftmanship, the firm's product, in the music trade, came to be referred to as "The Piano-Maker's Piano."
Biographical:
Born to an eminent physician in Dunningen, Wurtemberg, Germany on November 11, 1846, Hugo Sohmer enjoyed a first class education. Riding the last major wave of German immigration, which had brought piano makers such as Albert Weber, George Steck, John and Charles Fischer, and Henry E. Steinway to America, Hugo arrived in New York City in 1862. He became an apprentice in the piano making house of Schuetze & Ludolf. To learn more about European piano making, Hugo returned to Germany in 1868 and travelled extensively throughout Europe. In 1870 he returned to New York and by 1872 the 26 year old Sohmer and his partner, Josef Kuder, began manufacturing pianos in the 149 East 14th Street factory previously utilized by J.H. Boernhoeft and most recently by Marschall & Mittauer.

Josef Kuder, originally from Bohemia, Austria Hungary, learned piano making in Vienna between 1847 and 1854. Kuder arrived in New York in 1854 and became a pianomaker with Steinway & Sons which had been founded in 1853. In 1861 he returned to Vienna; he worked there until returning to New York in 1864, where he worked for Marschall & Mittauer until joining Sohmer.

Concentrating on tonal quality and response, Sohmer & Co. began producing pianos which were recognized in 1876 by an award from the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. In the waning years of the nineteenth century Sohmer & Co. received other awards including a diploma from the Exposition Provinciale in Montreal, Quebec in 1881, the gold medal at the Great New England Fair in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1889, and an award from the World's Columbian Commission in 1893 in Chicago.

By 1883 additional factory space, located on East 23rd Street and formerly used by Carhart & Needham, was occupied to accomodate increased production. In three years this space proved inadequate and forced the renting of an extension to the original factory. The main office and salesrooms were located at 31 West 57th Street in New York City. Meanwhile, in 1884 Sohmer invented the first five foot "baby" grand piano which was applauded for its musical brilliance and depth of tone. In the early 1900's Sohmer produced grand pianos in four sizes: Concert, Parlor, Baby & Cupid.

Limited space and increased production soon became issues again, and in 1887 the company moved its factory and special machinery to Astoria, Long Island. This factory, located at 31st Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, remained in continuous operation until 1982, when the Adirondack Chair Co. bought the building and Pratt Read acquired the company.

During the 1880s a number of letters patent were granted to Sohmer for such piano improvements as the agraffe bar for tone augmentation, and the aliquot string, which were auxiliary strings "arranged in conjunction with the regular strings for the purpose of giving forth reverberatory or sympathetic waves of sound, thus augmenting the general tone results of each unison." (Spillane, History, 256.)

In 1894 Hugo Sohmer took competitor Sebastian Sommer to court for stenciling the name "Sommer" on the fallboard of his pianos. Sohmer declared that "Sohmer" was a trademark used as an emblem to distinguish the piano from others, especially the Sommer piano which he considered inferior. The court in this equity case dismissed the case on the grounds that Sohmer had not proven damages accruing from the advertising and sale of the Sommer piano.

By 1907 Sohmer & Co. was producing 2,000 pianos per year. Additionally, with Farrand & Co. of Detroit, Sohmer was making the Sohmer Cecilian player piano. On June 8, 1913 Hugo Sohmer died in Scarsdale, N.Y.; 20 days later, Josef Kuder died as well. Hugo was survived by his wife, Elizabeth; a daughter, Adelaide S. Weber; and a son, Harry J. Sohmer, born in 1886. Company leadership was assumed by Harry J. Sohmer after Hugo's death.

During the 1920s Sohmer began a special department in its plant for the manufacture of period pianos. According to Harry Sohmer, the 1930s were difficult. He recalled that, once only one piano in 29 days was shipped. The number of American piano manufacturers dropped from 140 to 22 during this time. It was during this time that Harry's cousins, Frank and Paul Sohmer joined the company as consultants. However, through its pioneering efforts in the introduction of a console vertical piano known as a "Spinet," Sohmer revitalized the industry. (Taylor, "Piano Family.") This console vertical piano has been called "The Musicians' Console.

Primarily because of its concentration on the console vertical pianos Sohmer & Co. never cultivated famous performers in the way that Steinway and Baldwin did. While publicly acknowledging that it never entered into the competition for artistic endorsement (an acknowledgement which perhaps worked to its favor), Sohmer & Co. relied upon a most comprehensive and innovative advertising strategy stressing integrity, quality and craftsmanship in the pursuit of the ideal tone and touch.

In 1940 Harry incorporated the company as Sohmer & Co. and led it, with his sons Harry J. Sohmer, Jr., (born 1917) as production manager and Robert H. Sohmer (born 1920), as process engineer. By 1969 Harry Jr. was vice president in charge of production and Robert was production engineer/ treasurer. In 1971 Harry Sr. died and Harry Jr. became president.

In 1982 Pratt Read Corporation, a long established manufacturer of piano keyboards, acquired Sohmer & Co. for an undisclosed amount, and moved the operations to its Ivoryton, Connecticut factory, while retaining the Sohmer name. The Sohmer brothers retained their positions in the company. At the time of its purchase Sohmer & Co. employed 120 people, produced 2500 pianos yearly, and grossed $5 million in sales. Harry J. Sohmer, Jr., grandson of the founder, in expressing his feelings about the move and the Sohmer piano, compared his piano to old New York beers saying that "they were strictly New York products and in a way so were we." He concluded by saying, "We were always identified with this city. Sohmer was a New York piano." (Prial, "Sohmer Piano.")

By July 1983 under Pratt Read's management Sohmer was producing 6 pianos per day, only 50% of the expected capacity according to H.B. Comstock, president of Pratt Read. In 1986 the Ivoryton factory was sold to a group of investors organized as Sohmer Holding Co., who continued to make pianos there until a lack of skilled workers and financial losses forced its closing in December 1988. In an effort to fill the backlog of orders, Sohmer president Tom Bradshaw opened a new facility in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. A retail showroom was maintained in Ivoryton. In 1989, the Sohmer company was sold to the Falcone Custom Grand Piano Company of Haverhill, Massachusetts.

References

Cox, Erin. "Labor Woes a Main Factor in Sohmer Closing," The Pictorial Gazette West, 3 (December 8, 1988), 1, 22.

Dolge, Alfred. Piano and their Makers. 1911; rpt. New York: Dover Publications, 1973.

Loesser, Arthur. Men, Women and Pianos: A Social History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1954.

Musical Merchandise Review. "Sohmer Pianos Underway at Conn. Pratt Read," July 1983, 91.

The Music Trades. "Pratt, Read Acquires Sohmer & Co. Piano Maker,"August 1982, 18.

Piano and Organ Purchaser's Guide, 1907, 1930. Prial, Frank J. "Sohmer Piano, and 110 Years of Craft, will leave Astoria," New York Times, August 13, 1982, B1, B4.

Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries. 1956, New York: The Music Trades, 1956, 58 60.

Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte: Its Technical Development, and the Trade. 1890; rpt. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969.

Taylor, Carol. "Piano Family Stays in Tune," New York World Telegram & Sun, August 15, 1958.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Pratt Read Corp. Records (AC0320)

Chickering & Sons Records (AC0264)

Steinway Piano Co. Collection (AC0178)
Provenance:
Collection donated by Pratt Read Corporation, August 11, 1989.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Musical instrument manufacturing  Search this
Piano makers  Search this
advertising -- History  Search this
Keyboard instruments  Search this
Piano  Search this
advertising  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 20th century
Sales catalogs
Photographic prints
Advertisements
Photographs -- 1850-1900
Scrapbooks
Clippings
Journals (accounts)
Ledgers (account books)
Citation:
Sohmer & Co. Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0349
See more items in:
Sohmer & Co. Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0349
Online Media:

Wood and Brooks Company Records

Creator:
Wood & Brooks Company  Search this
Extent:
0.5 Cubic feet (6 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Specifications
Date:
1925-1966.
Scope and Contents:
Archival records of the firm, including action specification sheets and a 1959 report on pressed felt specifications.
Arrangement:
1 series.
Biographical / Historical:
Piano key and piano action manufacturers, North Tonawanda, New York.
Provenance:
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Keyboard instruments  Search this
Piano  Search this
Genre/Form:
Specifications
Citation:
Wood and Brooks Company Records, 1925-1966, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0457
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0457

Hugo Worch Piano Photos

Source:
Worch, Hugo, 1855-  Search this
Former owner:
Worch, Hugo, 1855-  Search this
Extent:
40 Cubic feet (82 boxes )
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Date:
undated
Content Description:
The collection includes photographs of pianos and other keyboard instruments.
Biographical / Historical:
b Potsdam, Germany, Nov 15, 1855; d Washington, DC, Nov 14, 1938). American collector of and dealer in keyboard instruments. His father, Christian, had a music business in Trenton, New Jersey, from c1858 to 1861, and in Washington from 1863 to 1868 and again in 1883; Worch and his brother Emil took this over in 1883, and after Emil's death his widow and Hugo continued the business as Hugo Worch & Co. from 1884 until 1895. After 1895 the firm of Hugo Worch sold instruments (including pianos sold under the Worch name but manufactured elsewhere), sheet music, and, as tastes changed, phonographs, recordings, and radios. The firm went out of business in 1960 on the retirement of Hans Hugo Worch, who had bought it from his brother Carl and sister Paulina in 1954.

In the 1880s Worch began collecting keyboard instruments that showed the development of the American piano industry from the 1790s to 1850. Later he added to his collection examples of clavichords, harpsichords, and pianos by such European makers as Shudi, Ruckers, Stein, and Broadwood. From 1921 to 1938 he held the title of honorary custodian of musical instruments at the Smithsonian Institution. Absorbed with the history of the piano, he acquired a collection of nearly 200 instruments and over 2000 photographs showing details of keyboard construction. From 1914 his collection of keyboard instruments formed the nucleus of the keyboard collections at the Smithsonian. His library of over 3000 books relating to keyboard construction and 500 bound volumes of American sheet music was dispersed after World War II.

Source

Worch, Hugo. Oxford Music Online, Grove Music Online. http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/grovemusic/view/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.001.0001/omo-9781561592630-e-1002219658 (accessed October 18, 2018)
Provenance:
Immediate source of acquistion unknown.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Keyboard instruments  Search this
pianos  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints
Citation:
Hugo Worch Piano Photos, Archives Center, national Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1452
See more items in:
Hugo Worch Piano Photos
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1452

Agency history, 1881-

Creator:
National Museum of American History (U.S.) Division of Musical History  Search this
Subject:
Sheldon, Robert E  Search this
Goode, G. Brown (George Brown) 1851-1896  Search this
Foote, J. Howard  Search this
Hough, Walter 1859-1935  Search this
Fesperman, John T  Search this
Hoover, Cynthia A (Cynthia Adams)  Search this
Weaver, James Merle  Search this
Shortridge, John D  Search this
Sturm, Gary  Search this
Boyer, Horace Clarence 1935-  Search this
Odell, Scott 1935-  Search this
Germann, Sheridan  Search this
Hasse, John Edward 1948-  Search this
Hollis, Helen R  Search this
McCoy, George D  Search this
Hawley, Edwin H  Search this
Worch, Hugo 1855-  Search this
Krieger, Herbert W (Herbert William) 1889-  Search this
Type:
Mixed archival materials
Date:
1881
1881-
Topic:
Musical instruments  Search this
Music--History  Search this
Local number:
SIA AH00127
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_220980

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By