The Story of the William Steinway Diary Project

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Cynthia Adams Hoover, Diary Project Co-Editor-in-Chief

On June 4, 1996, Henry Ziegler Steinway presented the nine volumes of the diary kept by his grandfather William Steinway to the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Edwin M. Good and I also participated in this gift ceremony with other Smithsonian colleagues, including Thomas Lovejoy, a Steinway cousin and advisor, at the time, to the Smithsonian Secretary.  

Although Henry had never met his grandfather in person, he knew him well through William’s diary, recounting in The New York Times, "I have read it four times and it is more than a memoir," (May 29, 1996). As Smithsonian Curator of Musical Instruments, I gave an introduction about the many decades I had been working with the Steinway family and firm, whose contributions to American cultural life and manufacture have been invaluable.

The story of the Smithsonian Steinway Diary Project is a story of relationships and collaborations. What follows is a chronological account from my files of the relationship that evolved between the Steinways and the Smithsonian Institution that led to the gift of the diary and of the collaborations that produced this edition of The William Steinway Diary.

Building a Relationship: the Steinways and the Smithsonian

Collaborations: Edwin M. Good

Collaborations: Volunteer Researchers

Collaborations: Institutional Cooperation

Collaborations: Anna Karvellas and Dena Adams