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Hazelwood: "Stephen Foster's Piano"


One day, Mrs. Woods went to Woodwell's store in Pittsburgh, to purchase a new parlor chair (a handsome chair, upholstered in maroon-colored velvet, still owned by members of the Woods family). Henry Kleber had recently returned from Europe, where, in 1851, he had purchased two pianos, one in Paris, France, and the other in Leipzig, Germany. They were on exhibition, and Mrs. Woods, known to be a talented musician, was invited to try these fine instruments. There were not many pianos in Pittsburgh at this time, as they were so costly that few could afford to buy them, and such instruments as these, much superior to the ones in general use, were rare. Upon the return of Mrs. Woods to her home, she could talk of nothing else. The next morning, Mr. Woods purchased the piano of German make, which bears the name, Frederick Haupt, and was the first instrument of its kind ever brought to Pittsburgh. Stephen C. Foster had also seen and admired this piano, and Mr. Woods had hardly left the store when Foster entered, for the purpose of buying it. For this reason, and because it was so often used by him, or by Mrs. Woods, in playing over one of his new compositions, this piano was jokingly referred to in the Woods family as "Stephen Foster's piano." (1)


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