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Snapshot in Time: A visit from Hedwig von Trapp

 Catherine Lucy

Sisters play music with Hedwig von Trapp at The College of Saint Rose

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet founded The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, in 1920. While assisting a researcher with materials from this collection, I inadvertently came across a lovely photo of a musical act on campus. I made a mental note to showcase this photo on social media for Classical Music Month in September. When I turned the photo over to check for a date, I was amazed to see that the woman standing in the back between the guitar player and two sisters was identified as Helga von Trapp, a member of the famous Trapp Family Singers (as portrayed in The Sound of Music Broadway musical and subsequent 1965 film). The only problem was that when I searched for Helga von Trapp on the Internet to learn more about her, I didn’t find any reliable results.

I suspected that the photo was incorrectly labeled, and that this might be Hedwig Maria von Trapp instead. In order to solve the mystery, I wrote to the registrar at Saint Rose to see if they had a record of any von Trapp students in the 1960s. They confirmed that “Hedwig Marie Trapp” attended The College of Saint Rose in the summer of 1965. With the mystery solved, I was able to share the photo on social media with accurate details. Sometimes working with archival materials leads to a lot of detective work!

Photo by Arthur Shafer and part of the Albany Province Collection, Carondelet Consolidated Archives

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