Main Content

President Millard Fillmore and his family were particularly musical. Mrs. Fillmore, the former Abigail Powers, made certain the White House had not only a music room, but also three pianos. For relaxation Mrs. Fillmore enjoyed playing duets with her talented daughter, Mary Abigail, a fine amateur musician, proficient on the piano, harp and guitar. During the Fillmore administration, the famous diva, Jenny Lind, visited the White House, and later, during the administration of James Buchanan, a complete opera troupe came to call on the president. The most amazing performer to entertain at the White House during this era, however, was the young black concert pianist, Thomas Greene Bethune.

Landmark Era Performance - 1857: The young black concert pianist, Thomas Greene Bethune, called "Blind Tom," entertained on the beautiful Chickering grand piano, purchased for the White House in 1857.

Thomas Greene Bethune ("Blind Tom").

Library of Congress

Footnotes & Resources

Elise Kirk, Musical Highlights from the White House, 34-37.

You Might Also Like