Maria Augusta <I>Kutschera</I> von Trapp


Maria Augusta Kutschera von Trapp

Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
Death 28 Mar 1987 (aged 82)
Morrisville, Lamoille County, Vermont, USA
Burial Stowe, Lamoille County, Vermont, USA
Memorial ID 1610 View Source
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Wife of Captain George Ritter von Trapp, a story based on their lives was made famous in the musical film, “The Sound of Music” (1965), in which her role was played by Julie Andrews. Born Maria Augusta Kutschera on a train enroute to Vienna, Austria, her mother died when she was just two years old. Her father left her with a cousin, so that he could travel, and she was raised as a socialist and atheist, becoming cynical towards all religions. Her attitude changed while in college, when she entered a crowded church believing she was about to hear a Bach concert, only to find that it was a sermon by a visiting Jesuit priest, Father Kronseder. Caught up in the crowd so that she couldn’t leave, she soon found herself caught up in his words. At the end of his sermon, she grabbed his elbow demanding, “Do you believe all this?” They got together afterwards to discuss religion, and soon she converted to Christianity. In 1924, she entered the Nonnberg Benedictine Convent intending to become a nun, but in 1926, she was sent to become a governess at the home of a widowed retired Austrian Navy Captain, Georg Ritter von Trapp, with seven children (the Captain’s first wife, Agathe, had died of scarlet fever in 1922). They quickly fell in love, and on November 26, 1927, they married, with Maria becoming the stepmother of his seven children: Maria, Rupert, Agathe, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna and Martina. Two years later, Rosemarie was born, and in 1931, Eleonore was born. During the Great Depression, when the family business failed, Georg started a chicken farm to support his family. In 1936, Maria and family friend Monsignor Franz Wasner began the Trapp Family Singers, and they soon became well known when they received high honors at the 1936 Salzburg Music Festival. In 1938, Austria and Nazi Germany were united in the Anschluss (Union), at which the von Trapps made little secret that they were horrified at the rise of the Nazis. German dictator Adolph Hitler invited them to sing at his birthday celebration, but they declined. Georg also turned down the offer of a commission in the German Navy. With increased Nazi pressure to embrace the new regime, the family decided to leave Austria for the United States, arriving in early 1939. They initially settled down in Merion, Pennsylvania, where their last child, Johannes von Trapp, was born. In 1942, they purchased the old Gale Farm in Stowe, Vermont, which in 1950 became the Trapp Family Lodge, offering guests sweeping mountain views in an Austrian style main lodge. Georg von Trapp died in May 1947, and Maria became the head of the family. In 1950, at the urging of a family friend, Maria wrote the family story in the book, “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers” (1950), which eventually was turned into the successful Broadway musical by Rogers and Hammerstein (1959), and the movie, “The Sound of Music” (1965). In 1957, the Trapp Family Singers broke up and went their separate ways. Maria and three of her children became missionaries in the South Pacific. After several years, she returned to Vermont, and managed the Trapp Family Lodge until her death in 1987, at the age of 82.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1610
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Maria Augusta Kutschera von Trapp (26 Jan 1905–28 Mar 1987), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1610, citing Trapp Family Lodge Grounds, Stowe, Lamoille County, Vermont, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .