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Gertrude Traubel Papers

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Collection Summary

Gertrude Traubel Papers


Collection ID

Traubel, Gertrude

37.72 linear feet (102 boxes + map folders)

Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Materials in English   

Detailed Collection Information

Biographical Note

Gertrude Traubel (1892‑1983) was a singer, teacher, writer and speaker. She was born in Camden, New Jersey, but lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for many years where she studied at the Constantin von Sternberg School of Music. The daughter of Anne Montgomerie and Horace Traubel, Gertrude saved her family's papers. She annotated many items, adding notes to letters her parents received. The family had a habit of jotting notes on replies directly on the letter, thus an incoming letter may have information on the type of reply sent.

Gertrude had had a brother, Wallace, who died while very young (1893‑1898). She married, had a son Malcolm Aalholm (b.1918?) and was later divorced. She supported herself and Malcolm by writing, teaching music, singing and speaking; her mother lived with them in Camden and in Philadelphia. Gertrude taught in the School District of Philadelphia in 1934 and gave classes at the YWCA of Germantown.

Music was one of the common bonds in the Traubel family. Anne and Horace attended concerts and went to the theatre whenever and wherever they could. Gertrude taught music at the Germantown Academy where Malcolm went to school. She also gave private lessons. Gertrude presented annual holiday recitals at the end of December, specially designed to interest children. Horace Traubel wrote the words of a song, "To Our Comrade," with music by Detweiler. Gertrude also published some songs.

Writing was another common activity. With Hawley McLanahan and Will Price, Horace had edited The Artsman, 1903‑1907, published by the Rose Valley Association. He was also the editor of The Conservator, a monthly literary magazine. This was a family affair as Emile G. Traubel, Horace's brother (?), was advertising manager in 1900. Anne Montgomerie was the "Associate" by March 1895 and the Associate Editor by 1904. While still a teenager, Gertrude became the "Associate Worker" by the October 1906 issue. Letters to each member of the family include requests for information about The Conservator.

Gertrude saved the page proofs of some issues and uncut pages for several others. Three boxes contain drafts or copies of Gertrude's articles, stories, poems, music and her talks on music appreciation, Whitman, and Horace Traubel. Some of her writings were published under her pen name of "Janet Storm."  Anne's writings include A Little Book of Nature Thoughts: Walt Whitman, published by Thomas B. Mosher (1906).

The family also prepared the materials for the six volume series, With Walt Whitman in Camden. The young Horace had visited the older poet in his rooms during his final days in Camden; he took notes of their conversations and transcribed his notes after he returned home. He edited the first three volumes and prepared the manuscript for the fourth volume before he died in 1919. Anne saw the fourth volume through publication and Gertrude edited the fifth from her father's notes. The sixth was prepared with the assistance of William White as Gertrude was too ill to complete the task herself.

Gertrude collected postcards, most of which her parents sent her. Horace traveled a great deal as a speaker and in his capacity as one of Walt Whitman's three literary executors (the other two were Richard Maurice Bucke and Thomas B. Harned, Horace's brother‑in‑law). Occasionally Anne and Gertrude would join Horace during his trips.

The Traubel family worked to preserve the memory of Walt Whitman. The Whitman family had known Horace's family as neighbors in Camden. Anne and Horace had been married in Walt's rooms in Camden in 1891. All three of the Traubels‑‑Anne, Horace, and Gertrude‑‑spoke publicly about Whitman. The anniversary of his birth‑‑May 31‑‑was the date of the Walt Whitman Fellowship: International meetings and a time for informal meetings as well. Letters in the Gertrude Traubel collection include correspondence from international, national, and local Whitman readers and scholars, from Japan, Canada, England, and Camden.

In 1893, the three literary executors edited In Re Walt Whitman, published by George S. Ferguson Company of Philadelphia. The preceeding year Horace had written At The Graveside of Walt Whitman; this was published by Billstein and Son, also of Philadelphia. Horace also compiled The Book of Heavenly Death by Walt Whitman, from the poet's Leaves of Grass. This, and a facsimile edition of the 1855 Leaves of Grass, were published by Thomas Bird Mosher, Portland, Maine, in 1907 and 1919.

Description of Collection

The papers of this Philadelphia music teacher and writer also includethe correspondence of her mother, Anne Montgomerie Traubel and her father, Horace Traubel, the biographer of Walt Whitman. A large volume of the materials document the Traubel family interest in Walt Whitman including correspondence and manuscripts relating to the six volume series, "With Walt Whitman in Camden," to the Walt Whitman Fellowship and the Contemporary Club of Philadelphia, and with the publisher, T.B. Mosher. There is correspondence with another Whitman literary executor, Richard Maurice Bucke, and Charles E. Feinberg.

Patron Information

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Temple University’s online library catalog: https://librarysearch.temple.edu/catalog/991029323889703811

Research Access

Collection is open for research.

Collections Stored Off-Site

This collection may be housed off-site at the Library Depository, and require up to two business days to retrieve. Please review the finding aid and be prepared to identify specific materials to be retrieved. Contact the Special Collections Research Center in advance of your visit, so that materials may be relocated to the reading room for research.

Publication and Copyright Information

The Gertrude Traubel Papers are the physical property of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries. The creator/donor has not assigned their rights to Temple University Libraries.  Other creators’ intellectual property rights, including copyright, belong to them or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for determining the identity of rights holders and obtaining their permission for publication and for other purposes where stated.  

Preferred Citation

[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Gertrude Traubel Papers, SPC MSS LT 079, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Administrative Information 

Acquisition Information

The Papers of Gertrude Traubel were the gift in 1980 to Temple University jointly by Gertrude Traubel and Charles E. Feinberg, through William Homer. Following the removal from the Germantown house of archival materials by the Library of Congress in its relationship with Mr. Feinberg, Temple cleared the house of remaining items. Gertrude's Papers at Temple do reflect all aspects of her life and do include some material, personal and professional, of her parents. Non‑archival gifts (prints, theater programs, etc.) have been absorbed in other collections of the Library.

Processing Information

Typing of Register in June and July 1987 was performed by Rosa Grier; additional processing help with Collection was given by Deepak Pradhan. Stephanie Morris, Compiler, July 1987. Indexing 1998 by Asli Tunc. Revisied according to current archival standards in January 2020 by Katy Rawdon, Coordinator of Technical Services.    

Index Terms

The following headings have been used to index the description of this collection in Temple University’s electronic catalog:

Personal/Family Names:
Aalholm, Albert Clement
Aalholm, Malcolm Wallace
Bain, Frank
Bucke, Richard Maurice, 1837-1902
Feinberg, Charles E., 1899-1988
Law, Lucy W.
Montgomerie, Alberta Victoria
Mosher, Thomas Bird, 1852-1923
Potter, Grace Elizabeth
Stokes, Rose Harriet Pastor, 1897-1933
Traubel, Anne Montgomerie, 1864-1954
Traubel, Horace, 1858-1919
Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892
T.B. Mosher
Traubel, Gertrude

Corporate Names:
Contemporary Club (Philadelphia, Pa.)         
Walt Whitman Fellowship

Music – Juvenile
Music -- Instruction and study
Music teachers -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Theater -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Labor unions
Women -- Suffrage

Material Types:

No Inventory Available