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October 19, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Female Collegiate Institute: Piano Fortes

Forte Piano

The Buckingham County Female Collegiate Institute was magnificent in its day; however, spending at The Institute – as with many 19th century planters – was often impractical and extravagant.  An excellent example involves the music master and the piano forte.  Samuel Shepard told the story:

Some year or so ago, Mr. Arnaud Préot suggested that, as one of the piano fortes obtained from Rosenkranz had a mechanical imperfection difficult to remedy, that they buy in its place a new one manufactured in Farmville by Mr. George P. Knauff. Mr Knauff sensibly offered to repair the old one at his factory, but they must have a new one. The old instrument is in the attic, and Mr. Knauff has so far received the sum of $15.00 on the purchase price of that of his own make. This is a small but common instance of the execution of the business of the Institute.

For more about The Institute, consult “At a Place Called Buckingham.”

George P. Knauff was also a popular composer of the day. His tunes included “Wait for the Wagon.”


One Comment

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  1. Mary Carolyn Steger Mitton / Oct 19 2013 11:36 am

    Pianos in that age [and lack of humidity and heat/cool control] were notorious for not staying tuned. Reed parlor organs became the instrument of choice for many,

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