Is There a Piano in The White House? Pianos and US Presidents

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With President’s Day around the corner, I thought I would share with you the rich history of pianos in the White House!

From the very beginning there were pianos in the White House starting with George Washington. Early presidents had fortepianos like Mozart played and harpsichords in the White House.

Square Grand Pianos were popular with 6 presidents! These monstrously large pianos have been relegated to the footnotes of piano history.

Upright pianos have also been popular with 6 presidents owning uprights.

4 piano companies stand out for being very popular in the White House:

– Steinway: including one given to the White House by Steinway in 1938
– Baldwin
– Chickering
– Knabe

Below is an outline of what pianos were owned by presidents.


– George Washington
– Rutherford Hayes (& upright)
– Grover Cleveland (& piano)


– George Washington
– Thomas Jefferson

SQUARE GRANDS: 6 presidents

UPRIGHT PIANOS: 6 presidents


– Franklin Pierce
– James Buchanan
– Abraham Lincoln (square & upright)
– Theodore Roosevelt (& Steinway)


Steinway grand piano with gilt American eagle supports. It was designed by Eric Gugler with gilt stenciling by Dunbar Beck (with help from Franklin Roosevelt) and was given to the White House in 1938 by the manufacturer.

Theodore Roosevelt (& Chickering)

Lyndon B. Johnson (& Knabe)

Ronald Reagan


– Woodrow Wilson
– Herbert Hoover
– Lyndon B. Johnson (& Steinway)


– William Taft
– Harry Truman
– Richard Nixon – accompanied singer Pearl Bailey in a performance in the East Room

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