Anna Steinway (b August 5, 1842 in Seesen, Germany; d November 21, 1861 in New York City) was the ninth child and third daughter of Heinrich Engelhard and Juliane Steinway.(3) She was seven years old when she left with her parents and brothers to embark via Hamburg on May 19, 1850, arriving in New York City on June 29, 1850. (1) Anna was beloved by her family; William wrote warmly in his diary about his delight in singing duets with her in 1861 during their Catskills vacation and at Liederkranz concerts.
Because Anna died young, details of her life are scarce, mostly from family letters, William's diary, and the few photographs of Anna that are extant. In October 1857, William wrote to Anna (at age 15), who seemed to be in residence at a boarding school headed by Mrs. Hoyt.(2) The letter indicated how involved William was in Anna's life; he had written to Mrs. Hoyt about Anna's health. However, it also reflected that he had difficulty knowing how to relate his life to hers: "I do not know what to write to you, the fact that the banks are in an uproar . . . is of no interest to you... and you are not interested in politics ...I have included $3,00 .. Write again soon."(8)
Anna's oldest brother C. F. Theodor Steinway had remained in Wolfenbuettel, Germany. He was eager to hear from the family and in a letter wrote: "I know what it is – paper and stamps are too expensive; but Anna the little sister is at home and she could write because those who have attended school could show once in a while that wit is not an art. On the other hand, my little sister Anna, whom I often rocked and whom I have always loved so much has been ruined by much money to forget how to write to her brother. It drives me crazy, but what can I do?" (6)
In the March 1861 letter by William to C. F. Theodor, announcing his impending wedding, he enclosed a ring Anna sent to her brother.(7) Williams noted in his diary that Anna and his father were also present at his wedding in Buffalo.(Diary, 1861-04-21) They were included in the trip to Niagara Falls (Diary, 1861-04-25) and were also among the party accompanying William and his bride Regina on the railroad trip back to New York City.(Diary, 1861-04-27) In August of 1861 Anna accompanied William and Regina to the Catskill Mountains where Anna sang solo in the parlor one night, played ten-pins and sang the duet from the last act of Donizetti's opera Pasquale with William the next evening.(Diary 1861-08-06; 08-07) She wrote William from there: "The time has been perfectly delightful since Friday evening. I amused myself capitally all the whole while." (4) In another letter she wrote: "I amused myself very much today going to the top of the north mountain and getting as wet as a cat." (5)
At the November 3, 1861 Liederkranz concert, Anna sang several solos and the same duet with William, who wrote: "Anna sings several solo's beautifully espec. der Schmidt. Great Applause." (Diary, 1861-11-03) However, by November 12 Anna told William she was sick, and on the 16th he discovered that she had typhoid fever. She died at the age of 19 on November 21, 1861.(Diary, 1861-11-21) Liederkranz members sang at her funeral, and 86 carriages accompanied her body to the Green-Wood Cemetery. (Diary, 1861-11-22) William described his feelings on her death as "great mental suffering."(Diary, 1861-11-22)
Anna Steinway, date unknown