Guide to Janssen Piano Company Scrapbook Collection

Collection ID:
Janssen Piano Company.
Physical Description:
1 Cubic foot
The collection is composed of six scrapbooks assembled by the Janssen Piano Company of New York. These contain clippings on manufacturing, piano models, and marketing techniques, as well as company-sponsored outings and picnics. Also includes brochures--listing names of Janssen Piano owners in various geographic areas--used as a marketing device.

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The collection consists of 6 volumes of scrapbooks and a folder containing 12 small brochures documenting the background of Benjamin H. Janssen and the growth of the Janssen Piano Company from 1901 to 1928. Pasted on the pages of these scrapbooks are catalogues, pamphlets, brochures, and newspaper and magazine clippings from the music trades and inserts taken from newspapers of various cities, mostly from the northeast and the midwest. In addition, there are copies of advertising letters in foreign language with English translation adjacent to the posting. Most of the foreign language letters are in Spanish. Several poems by Janssen are displayed along with reference to his music compositions.

Collection is dovided into one series.
Series 1: Scrapbooks, 1909-1928

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Benjamin H. Janssen started his career in the piano line with Stephen Brambach in whose employ he remained for two years, then to the Estey house for two years. Mathushek & Sons later became his employer for ten years as secretary. Later he moved to the management of the retail department for George Steck where he made a reputation as a catalogue maker and advertising litterateur. From the Courier October 5, 1901 is the following: A ... Benjamin H. Janssen has resigned the position he has held for the past year with George Steck & Co. and entered the ranks of piano makers. He has bought the business of the Alexander C. Kittel Piano Co. and will continue that business under his own name. He was for a time associated with the Mathusek concern, and later was with the Brambach Piano Company, Dolgeville, N.Y. Reportedly he was a musician, poet, composer, knew a great deal about pianos and was an accomplished salesman. He was quoted as saying AAfter twenty years of hustling for others I have decided to do a little for myself.

Robert W. Ageton
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Charles P. Huether, June 13, 1994.
Processing Information
Collection processed by Robert Ageton, July 1997.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. Each volume is in very poor condition and must be very carefully handled as the paper has turned brittle and brown in color and breaks easily making it nearly impossible to look over the material in the collection. Pages are not numbered
Preferred Citation
Janssen Piano Company Records, 1901-1929, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Scrapbooks -- 1900-1950 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Picnicking -- 1900-1930 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Piano -- Construction -- 1900-1930 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Piano makers -- 1900-1930 -- New York Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pamphlets -- 1900-1930 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Musical instrument makers -- 1900-1930 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings -- 1900-1950 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012