Julianne Thiemer Steinway

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Julianne (b January 20, 1804, in Seesen, Germany; d August 9, 1877 in New York), William’s mother, moved with her husband and children to New York City in 1850. Although she was not active in Steinway & Sons business, she was a central figure in the family.

Julianne was born on January 20, 1804, in Seesen, Germany and died on August 9, 1877, in New York City, New York. Her parents were Martin Helwig Gottlieb Thiemer, a master glove maker, and Dorothea Julianne von Bierkamp. She married Heinrich Steinweg (aka Henry Steinway), then owner of a small piano factory on May 15, 1825, in Seesen, Germany. Together they had nine children: Theodore, Doretta, Charles, Henry Jr., Wilhelmina, William, Herman, Albert, and Anna. All of their sons participated in the family piano-making business except for Herman, who died around 1851.(1)
Julianne had no direct role in the Steinway & Sons business but was very active in the life of the Steinway family. Julianne and Henry lived at 121 East 52nd Street, very near the New York factory of Steinway & Sons.(2) She was close to Doretta, who remained in New York, as well as several of her daughters-in-law. She was present, along with William Steinway and Dr. Snetter, at the still-birth of William and Regina Steinway's first child in 1863. (Diary, 1863-04-05) She was also present at the birth of Louisa Steinway's daughter in February of 1871 along with Johanna Lüdemann—and no doctor.(Diary, 1871-02-28)
During the years after her husband's death in 1871, Julianne experienced many family tragedies. In 1875, her daughter Wilhelmina died of typhus in Germany. She also lived to see William's divorce from Regina in 1876 and, like the rest of the family, was aware of the circumstances surrounding the break-up of William's marriage, offering her son what comfort she could. "My poor old mother expresses a great deal of solicitude for me, and I feel just like sinking on her breast and dying in her arms, but master my feelings." (Diary, 1876-01-02) Then, she saw her youngest son, Albert, die in May of 1877, just a few months before her own death. William prepared a death notice reporting his mother’s death for the New York Herald and the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung. (Diary, 1877-08-09) (2)(3) The funeral was held from her home on Saturday, August 11, and Julianne was interred in the Steinway Mausoleum at the Green-Wood Cemetery. (Diary, 1877-08-11)
136: Julianne Thiemer Steinway
Julianne Thiemer Steinway, circa 1867
1. Maniha, Ken, Steinway Family Genealogy
2. New York Herald, August 11, 1877, p. 9.
3. New Yorker Staats-Zeitung, August 10, 1877, p. 5.