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Contact: Amy Bracewell, 845-229-9115, x2033Hyde Park – On June 4, 2021, a treasured instrument returned to Eleanor Roosevelt’s home at Val-Kill, in Hyde Park, New York. Through a generous donation by Maria Gurewitsch Brand and her family, Eleanor Roosevelt’s Steinway baby grand piano is now part of the historic collection of Mrs. Roosevelt’s possessions at Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site.
Purchased by Mrs. Roosevelt on November 5, 1936, the “New York Grand Model M” was delivered by Steinway and Sons to her Hyde Park residence on June 23, 1937. The piano added to the welcoming environment of Mrs. Roosevelt’s home at Val-Kill where she and President Roosevelt received friends, family, state dignitaries, and political colleagues. In 1959, Mrs. Roosevelt gifted the piano to her personal physician, Dr. David Gurewitsch on the occasion of his wedding to Ms. Edna Perkel. The piano has remained with the Gurewitsch family since that time.
“We appreciate the generosity and support of Maria Gurewitsch Brand and her family with the donation of this piano,” noted park Superintendent, Amy Bracewell. “David and Edna Gurewitsch were some of Mrs. Roosevelt’s dearest friends and the family’s interest in keeping this piano preserved for perpetuity at the park is a continued testament of their love and connection to Mrs. Roosevelt. We are thrilled to add this piece back into the house at Val-Kill and continue to highlight the importance that the Gurewitsches had in her life.
”This is not the first time the family has shared their personal history with the public. Mrs. Edna Gurewitsch has been a longtime friend of the historic site and Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park. She has shared her memories and stories through interviews, presentations, and other activities including publishing a book, Kindred Souls, which captures her personal experiences with Mrs. Roosevelt and time in Hyde Park.
Before settling into the house at Val-Kill, the piano will be on exhibit this next year at the Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library. The National Park Service is proud to partner with the National Archives at the Presidential Library to showcase this special instrument along with stories, photos, and history of the Roosevelts and the Gurewitsches. More information on the exhibition and opening dates will be released this summer by the Presidential Library.
The park is also thrilled to be able to partner with the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Partnership, the philanthropic Friends Group at Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site. The Partnership champions the preservation of the residence, grounds, and history of Mrs. Roosevelt’s legacy. The move of the piano from Manhattan to Hyde Park, and the conservation needs of the instrument, will be carried out through the generosity of donor Claudine Bacher and the dedication of the Partnership.
“The acceptance of this remarkable piece of history would not be possible without the devotion and passion of the Gurewitsch family and our park partners,” reflected Bracewell. “On behalf of the American people and the caretakers here at the park, I want to offer my sincerest thanks to everyone involved for this extraordinary opportunity to welcome a piece of Eleanor back home."
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Last updated: February 10, 2023