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The Sound of Music's real Maria raises money for Austrian Relief
von Trapp, Maria

Baroness Maria von Trapp - signed letter, "Baroness von Trapp" April 2, 1947 on Trapp Family Austrian Relief letterhead, along with 2 period printed photos of her with her daughters. Raising money for their newly formed Relief Fund, the Baroness sends a supporter 100 copies of another general form letter (not present) and stamped envelopes, asking the recipient to mail those out to her friends. The letter contains an interesting error of addressing "Edith" in the salutation but later as "Ethel"in the text. The mistake suggests this was an individually typed form letter sent to a list of people.

Following the war, the family privately sent clothes and modest aid to friends back in their homeland. Learning about the desperate post-war conditions throughout Austria they stepped up their help with a formal Relief Fund, established in January of '47. The stationery lists her husband Georg (Captain) von Trapp as president of the fund, but he died the following month. Some of the money was raised by selling souvenir programs to their concerts, no doubt some being autographed.

The family already had some notoriety as touring performers but nothing close to the recognition that would come later from Maria's book about the family or the play and movie inspired by the book. This is a nice early example of Maria's uncommon signature incorporating her formal social title. The Baroness title is not seen on her later programs, photos, notes and other autograph formats after her husband's death and fame from "The Sound of Music". The letter has particularly nice content related to the war and homeland they fled. (They left by train rather than hiking over the mountains with a platoon of children outpacing the entire German army.)

It includes two contemporary printed 5 x 4 photos of Maria and her daughters in one and one son and the daughters in another on a hillside, presumably with the Green Mountains of Vermont rather than the Swiss Alps in the background. The letters may have been sent with the appeal letter as a small thank you or encouragement to respond.