stowe

Maria von Trapp, the last surviving of the seven children portrayed in “The Sound of Music,” died last week at her home in Stowe, Vermont, at the age of 99.

Most Americans know of the von Trapp family from the play and film, and several of the Rogers and Hammerstein songs have become standards. The play and movie tells how the family fled Europe in the late 1930s as the Nazis were tightening their grip on Europe.

In the play, Mary Martin had the role of governess for young Maria and her brothers and sisters. Julie Andrews took that role in the movie, and Carrie Underwood recently had it in a live TV version.

If you want to know what really happened to the real von Trapp family, go to “The Real Story of the von Trapp Family” by Jean Gearin in Prologue magazine, the flagship publication of the National Archives.

In her article, Gearin draws on records from the National Archives to separate fact from fiction about the family and tell what happened to the family members after they arrived in the United States. Gearin is an archivist with the National Archives at Boston.

Image: Photographs from von Trapp Declaration of Intention documents. Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21.