William's Relationship with Ella

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William’s diary contains only one reference to the possibility of Ella’s using her birth name following her marriage. On February 12, 1894, just one month after the wedding, William noted that he had met with Louisa, Ella’s mother, and: "we talk over Ellas Intention of calling herself Ella Steinway." Apparently there was no direct discussion of the issue by William and Ella, and William gives no hint as to his feelings on the matter.

In subsequent diary entries, William referred to "Ella F. Schmidt" on at least two occasions, and to "Ella F. St." once. This might be taken to suggest that William was indicating his disapproval of Ella’s decision to continue to use the Steinway name. However, newspaper references to Ella at the time of her mother’s death in 1926, at the time of her husband’s death and the sale of her home in Pleasantville, New York, both in 1941, at the time of her own death in 1948, and at the time of the transformation of her Briarcliff Manor home into a "Designer Showcase" in 1993, all refer to her as Ella F. Schmidt, or, sometimes, Ella Steinway Schmidt, but never as Steinway without the Schmidt. On the basis of this information, it would be difficult to conclude that Ella persisted in her apparent desire to continue to call herself Ella Steinway. Thus she did not become a "Lucy Stoner." (Diary, 189401-11, 1894-02-12, 1894-03-26, 1895-05-19)(2)(3)(8)(13)(14)(15)(18)(20)

Ella Steinway, born February 28, 1871, was the daughter of William’s youngest brother, Albert. The brothers were very close, and Albert’s death from typhoid fever at the age of 37 came as a great shock to William. At the time of her father’s death, Ella was just six years old, and from that time on William seems to have become almost a surrogate father to her, following her development as a youngster, relinquishing his executor’s commission as a gift to her while assisting with the final settlement of her father’s estate when she reached 21, participating in celebration of her engagement, assisting with the purchase of her house, and setting up her last will and testament. He became particularly involved when she purchased the property on West 69th Street. (Diary, 1871-02-28, 1877-05-14, 1892-02-28, 1892-03-01, 1892-03-03, 1892-12-22, 1893-10-05, 1893-10-17, 1893-10-19, 1895-05-19)


Estimate of Current Value of Ella’s House