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