Adolph Conrad Vietor

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Adolph Conrad Vietor (b. August 21, 1852 in Bremen, Germany; d. June 8, 1936 in New York) was the son of Frederick Vietor and Marie Hutterott Vietor. On December 3, 1889, he married Henriette (Hettie) Steinway, William’s niece, the daughter of Albert Steinway.(12) Adolph was a merchant in New York, a partner in the firm Frederick Probst and Company. Henriette and Adolph had three children: Frederick Albert in 1891, Marie Louise in 1892, and Carl William in 1894.(11) Adolph participated in numerous Steinway family events with William. Adolph outlived Hettie by three years.(2)(9)(13)

Adolph Vietor is first mentioned in The Diary when he is about to become engaged to William’s niece, Henriette Steinway, the daughter of his late brother, Albert.(Diary, 1889-04-04) Adolph had immigrated to New York in 1873, according to the census of 1910.(4) He was the son of a very successful dry goods entrepreneur, Frederick Vietor.(1)(10) He is listed in census records as a merchant, but does not appear to have participated in his father’s firm, Frederick Vietor & Achelis, even after his father’s death.(3)(10) About the time of his engagement to Hettie, he became a general partner in the firm Frederick Probst and Company, a firm described as engaging in “general commission” business based on international trade.(7) Late in 1890, he raised a business matter with William, expressing a desire to increase the capital in his business.(Diary, 1890-11-11) George Vietor was also the son of Frederick and hence Adolph’s brother; he did participate in his father’s business and was a friend whom William proposed for membership in the Liederkranz.(Diary 1883-01-17)(10)

William mentioned many social occasions enjoyed with Adolph and Hettie. Adolph was a frequent player of skat with William.(Diary, 1889-11-28, 1890-12-14, 1896-01-20) William noted in the diary births and important events of the children born to Adolph and Hettie.(Diary, 1891-03-13, 1895-12-10)

In 1914, some years after William’s death, Adolph’s firm fell into financial difficulty. A contributing factor was revealed when an important employee committed suicide as his embezzlement of substantial company funds was about to be revealed.(8) In 1920, Henriette’s mother, Louise Steinway, Henriette, Adolph and their son Carl, who was still living with his parents, lived together at West 72nd St. in New York.(5) Adolph died in New York on June 8, 1936 of pneumonia.(2)

Adolph and Hettie’s son Frederick would play an important role in the Steinway & Sons business affairs. Immediately after his graduation from Williams College in 1913, he began work with the firm and developed several improvements to the Steinway piano that were patented, most notably the accelerated action. He was appointed to the Board in 1930 and assumed the role of Vice-President and General Manager in which capacity he served from early 1941 until his death in June of 1941.(6)(14)


(1) “Adolph Conrad Vietor,” Germany,Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898,
(2) “Adolph Vietor,” The New York Times, June 9, 1936, p. 29.
(3) “Adolph Vietor,” U.S. Census 1900, Series T623, Roll 1103, Page 53.
(4) “Adolph Vietor,” U.S. Census 1910, Series T624, Roll 1045, Page 204.
(5) “Adolph Vietor,” U.S. Census 1920, Series T625, Roll 1197, Page 184.
(6) “Col F A Vietor, 50, Steinway Official”, The New York Times, June 19, 1941, p.21.
(7) “Copartnership Notices,” The New York Times, May 6, 1890, p.6.
(8) “Death Leap Baser Thief’s Dual Life,” The New York Times, November 22, 1914, p. 12.
(9) “Deaths,” The New York Times, June 9, 1936, p. 23.
(10) ”George F. Vietor, Old Merchant, Dead,” The New York Times, January 30, 1910, p. 11.
(11)Maniha, Ken, Steinway Family Genealogy. 
(12) “Married,” The New York Times, December 5, 1889, p.5.
(13)“Mrs. Adolph Vietor,” The New York Times, July 12, 1933, p. 17.
(14)”Named General Manager of Steinway & Sons," The NewYork Times, March 26, 1941.