Kathy Morisse’s research focus has been on transatlantic travel and the steamships that William frequently mentions throughout the Diary.
Kathy Morisse’s research for the Diary Project has covered various short-term subjects such as William Steinway’s attendance at a White House State Dinner held by William’s friend, President Grover Cleveland, in 1889; a five and one-half week trip in 1862 that combined business and a delayed honeymoon; procedures for sending business mail to Europe, sometimes, using more than one steamship ensure delivery; the business of the Astoria Homestead Company; and identifying various people, including members of the law firm, Foster & Foster, who had many dealings with Steinway. Morisse’s longer-term research focus has been steamships and Steinway family and friends’ travel by steamship from the 1860s through the 1890s. These were primarily transatlantic trips to London and Germany, but also included trips to other destinations such as the Caribbean and San Francisco as well more local trips up the Hudson River and across Long Island Sound. Morisse has given particular attention to individual steamships and steamship lines, many of which offered elegant accommodations.
Morisse grew up not far from the Steinway factory in Queens, New York, in a household where a Steinway baby grand piano was a center of activity. She graduated from Hood College with a double major in history and economics. Graduate studies in economics at the University of Pennsylvania led her to join the staff of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, DC. After working on US domestic economic issues for a number of years, she moved to the International Division where her primary responsibilities included analyzing and forecasting US international transactions, especially international trade. Morisse retired from the Federal Reserve in 2004. Throughout the years Morisse has maintained an interest in history, especially 14th-century England. She has spent many hours searching medieval records in England and the United States to develop an understanding of the urban life and the business world of a medieval merchant, Robert Braunche. In addition, since 2001, Morisse has volunteered as treasurer of a non-profit program called “STEP - I Have a Dream” which has mentored and tutored 71 “Dreamers” from kindergarten at Truesdell Elementary School in DC through high school, and which is now supporting them in college and other career programs.