Baron von Trapp, was an Austro-Hungarian Navy officer. His exploits at sea during World War I earned him numerous decorations, including the prestigious Military Order of Maria Theresa. The story of his family served as the inspiration for the musical The Sound of Music.
How do you solve a problem like Maria? At the left is the real Maria who was, quite honestly, much more of a "problem" than the film version. You can read my study about the real wedding here: http://www.edelweisspatterns.com/blog/?p=1415
In real life, James Stewart was a decorated WW II bomber pilot. Stewart flew 20 bombing missions over Germany including one over Berlin-after wrangling combat duty when commanders would have preferred to use a movie star for morale building work at home. As a squadron commander, he flew many dangerous missions when he could have sent others instead, recalled Robbie Robinson, a sergeant who was an engineer-gunner in Stewart's B-24 squadron. Stewart rose to colonel during the war.
Mary Church Terrell (September 23, 1863 – July 24, 1954), daughter of former slaves, was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree. She became an activist who led several important associations and worked for civil rights and suffrage.
When he lost his wife Nettie in childbirth and their infant son also died, Thomas Andrew Dorsey wrote “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” which his protégé Mahalia Jackson sang at the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. Dorsey helped develop and shape modern day gospel music through the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, which he founded. He is considered the father of modern gospel music.
"In 1943, Maria von Maltzan, a German aristocrat, took Hans Hirschel, her Jewish lover into her Berlin apartment to hide him from the Nazis. It was the time when the last Jews were supposed to be 'cleansed' out of Berlin. Since Hans had ingeniously faked his own suicide, he was registered as dead, and for a long while, no suspicion fell on Maria; until one day..." Read the rest of the story at the link.