Collaborations: Anna Karvellas and Dena Adams

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In 2005 it was clear that the Diary needed the full-time assistance of a Managing Editor and a Project Coordinator. Henry Ziegler Steinway joined in the effort to raise funds for these positions and other project needs. This direct mail effort brought a welcome, but modest, amount which made it possible to make high-resolution scans of the Diary.

Through work on another project, I was able to bring the William Steinway Diary Project’s needs to the attention of the Target Foundation. The Foundation's generous gift in 2007 provided a generous gift which has supported the salaries of the Managing Editor and Project Coordinator for three years and funds for scanning important Steinway photographs and documents. The excellent work of Anna Karvellas and Dena Adams, who joined the Diary Project in August  2007, has contributed  greatly to completing first installment of the William Steinway Diary Project, one of the largest and most ambitious volunteer efforts at the Smithsonian Institution. 

A recent report summed up work since 1987 towards the first installment of the Web site:

Edwin M. (Ted) Good transcribed all 36 years of the Diary. Ted and I wrote essays about the Diary, the family and firm, and a history of the Diary Project. High-resolution scans were made of the entire 2,500-page, nine-volume diary. Activities were coordinated of more than 100 highly-qualified volunteers who spent more than 25,000 hours researching and writing reports on entries that will eventually become the basis for over 30,000 interlinked annotations. Project staff organized 20 years of research by volunteers through devising and implementing new organizational systems, particularly electronic databases, to track the many thousands of researcher-generated annotations and hundreds of related images.

More than 400 digital images of rare Steinway Family photographs and contextual materials from the Henry Ziegler Steinway Archive and Steinway & Sons Collections were scanned by Hugh Talman, a professional Smithsonian photographer who worked with Anna, Dena, and me during several trips to the collections in New York. The professional staff, along with members of the Archives Center staff, created Diary records for the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) to link the diary and its Web site to searches at, a key Smithsonian online entry point. A collaboration of editors, staff, and volunteers developed Steinway family genealogy documents and a Web-based bibliography of Steinway-related materials.

As stated elsewhere on this site, this first installment allows visitors to search a transcription of William’s diary and can study high-resolution scans of each hand-written page, making a wealth of primary source material available to the general public, students, and scholars. Visitors can view contextual images from the Steinway Archive.

The next installment is scheduled to begin in January 2011, take four years, and culminate in the release of an extensively annotated diary with over 30,000 professionally edited, interlinked notes. Funds are needed to support the salaries of the Managing Editor and Project Coordinator who will oversee the complex and extensive editorial work that will add context and depth to the primary source material found in the Diary. This work includes editing thousands of research reports to transform them into annotations providing insight into William Steinway’s world. The work of this installment will also include the preparation of essays on at least 40 major diary topics (including economics, politics, transportation, music, and German-American life), annual summaries for each of the diary’s 36 years, addition of at least 300 more contextual images to the Web site, and the creation of a dynamic Steinway Family genealogic presentation. 

The staff will also work on ways to open pathways for exploring 19th-century American history by linking the Web site to other Smithsonian collections and expand user interaction through social media tools. All Diary annotations and Project history documents will be prepared for inclusion in the National Museum of American History’s Archives Center.

For more information about  the next installment and its funding needs, please contact Anna Karvellas, Managing Editor,