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On December 10, 1938, a grand piano was presented to President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the White House by Theodore Steinway. The piano replaced another Steinway at the White House, a gilded and painted grand piano which had been given in 1903 (now on exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution).

Seeking to create a unique and distinguished “State Piano,” Eric Gugler, a New York architect, friend of the Roosevelts, and White House consultant in the 1930s, chose a square form with simpler lines than the routine double-curve form. The case was made of fine Honduran mahogany. Although it measures seven inches longer than the standard nine-foot Steinway grand, it has identical musical works.

This photograph by Bruce White depicts a 1938 Steinway piano and bench, a gift to the White House from Steinway and Sons of Long Island City, New York. This piano replaced an earlier piano given to the White House by Steinway in 1903. Gilded scenes of American dance forms appear on the Honduran mahogany case, which is supported by three gilded, eagle-shaped legs in the Art deco style. The piano is shown in the East Room of the White House.

White House Historical Association

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