Meta von Bernuth

print this page

Meta von Bernuth (b. January 10, 1890 in New York City; d. January 12, 1980, in Wayne, Pennsylvania) was the only daughter of Louis and Paula von Bernuth, William's daughter and son-in-law.(2) She never married. William doted on his granddaughter and frequently noted in the diary her achievements, illnesses, and happy times. William's daughter Maud was very close in age to Meta, and the two girls spent much time together as they grew up.

William happily noted in the diary the birth of a girl to his daughter, Paula.(Diary, 1890-01-10) He remarked on her baptism and on childhood accidents, such as when she swallowed a gold pin and William "pass[ed] a sleepless night."(Diary, 1890-04-05, 1891-08-16) Two days later he happily noted that the danger had passed.(Diary, 1891-08-18) As she grew, he worried about her illnesses, boasted of her educational accomplishments, and expressed his care and concerns.(Diary, 1893-12-03, 1894-01-08, 1895-06-12) Following the death of William's second wife Ellie in 1893, Paula and her family moved into his household. As a result, Meta spent much time with William's young children, her cousins, especially his daughter Maud. William reported on many activities that the three youngest children (Meta, Maud, and Meta's younger brother William) did together and on their happiness.(Diary, 1895-04-22, 1896-06-07) When Meta and Maud recited a poem in German, William proudly reported in the event in his diary.(Diary, 1894-12-04) In the final years of his life, William found much joy in the excitement brought by the youngsters. William left a sum of money in his will to Meta and her brother.(4)

Meta never married.  She was living in New York with her mother and other family members in 1920, according to census records.(5)  She traveled abroad at times as an adult.   During the last 35 years of her life, she resided in the community of Strafford, Pennsylvania, where she lived with her cousin Lecian von Bernuth, a well-known artist.(3)  She died in near-by Wayne, Pennsylvania on January 12, 1980, after a long illness.(1)(3)  She was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery.



  1. “Deaths,” The New York Times, January 16, 1980, p. D19.
  2. Maniha, Ken, Steinway Family genealogy.
  3. “Obituary Meta von Bernuth,” The Suburban and Wayne Times, January 17, 1980.
  4. “Steinway’s Many Bequests,” The New York Times, December 11, 1896, p. 9.
  5. U.S. Census, 1920, 9th Ward, New York City, NY, Supervisor’s District 1, Enumeration District 703, Sheet 15.