The Story of the Trapp Family Singers

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers is a 1949 memoir written by Maria Augusta von Trapp, whose life was later fictionalized in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway musical The Sound of Music in 1959.


Maria never intended to write anything of her life. However, a friend persistently pleaded with her not to allow her story to be forgotten by others. Though she denied she had any writing skill whatsoever, her friend was not to be put off and kept on asking her whenever they saw each other. Finally, one day, in desperation, Maria excused herself and went to her room for an hour to scribble a few pages about her life story, hoping to prove once and for all she was no writer. However, this displayed such natural writing talent that she reluctantly agreed to finish what she had started, and her jottings formed the basis of the first chapter of her memoirs. Her book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, was a best-seller. The book was published in 1949 by J. B. Lippincott Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


The book describes the life of the von Trapp family, from their beginnings in Salzburg, Austria, to their adventures in America where they escaped from Nazi-invaded Europe. The story reflects on family tragedies, victories, and the kindness of strangers who soon became friends to the young family.


  • Die Trapp-Familie (The Trapp Family), 1956 film
  • Die Trapp-Familie in Amerika (The Trapp Family in America), 1958 film
  • The Sound of Music, 1959 stage musical; also see several other stage adaptations in this article
  • The Sound of Music, the iconic 1965 film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer
  • Trapp Ikka Monogatari (Trapp Family Story), 1991 animated TV series, part of World Masterpiece Theater
  • The Sound of Music Live!, 2013 live television production starring Carrie Underwood
  • The Sound of Music Live, 2015 Live television production starring Kara Tointon
  • ''The Sound of Music,* 2017 Innovative Arts stage musical

    Differences between the book and the musicals

    Maria married Georg von Trapp in 1927, not 1938 as portrayed in the musical. She initially fell in love with the children rather than the father and only later came to love him. The father was not the aloof patriarch who disapproved of music but a warm gentle-hearted parent. They also left Austria openly by train.


  • The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, (Doubleday 1990).