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Collection of German Theater Scripts

In 1943, the Milwaukee Public Library received a gift of the Albert O. Trostel Collection of German plays which had been used by the German Theater stock company in Milwaukee.

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Dated from 1865 to 1936, these acting editions of more than 1500 items were donated by Trostel’s widow, Clara Uihlein Trostel, upon his death. 

Mr. Trostel had been a long-time supporter of the German Theater which had a long history in Milwaukee.  During the German Theater’s heyday the theater-going public in Milwaukee saw a wide selection of plays including the works of Shakespeare, Moliere, Ibsen and Goethe.  Sometimes English plays were introduced in German translation as was the case with George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” and the works of Oscar Wilde. 

The Milwaukee Public Library is extremely pleased to be able to help keep the collective memory of our City’s cultural past alive in making the Trostel Collection available.  The collection has been recently reorganized and an electronic index produced.  The library wishes to thank the Max Kade Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for donating their time creating the digital index to this collection.  Led by the Institute’s Director, Cora Lee Kluge, who has written books on German Literature, and who used the collection to research her latest book, Other Witnesses: An Anthology of Literature of the German-Americans 1850-1914, this digital index will increase access to this very important collection.  The index is arranged alphabetically by original German title and can be searched by keyword.

If you are interested in viewing materials from the Albert O. Trostel Collection, please contact the Art, Music & Recreation Department at the Central Library by phone at 414-286-3071 or electronically through Ready Reference. Because materials may not be available on demand, patrons are highly encouraged to contact the department before visiting the library to view Trostel Collection materials.  The librarians and the plays are waiting for you.