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Madeleine Bartfeld Sigel collection of autographs and performing arts memorabilia

 Collection 0021-SCPA

Madeleine Bartfeld Sigel (b. 1924 - d. 2020), who grew up in Austria and later emigrated to the United States, and her father Albert Bartfeld, a theatre manager and owner of a cabaret in Vienna in the 1930's, were both avid collectors of performing arts autographs and programs. This collection includes programs from various performances attended by Sigel thoughout the United States and internationally, the bulk of which are from the Washington, DC metro area; materials related to the Comedian Harmonists, a popular male vocal ensemble who performed throughout Europe in the mid-to-late 1930's; and scrapbooks, photographs and autographs of various performers from the early 1900's through the 1930's collected by Sigel and her father.


  • 1899-2003
  • Majority of material found within 1930-2001

Use and Access to Collection

The collection is open for research use.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact the curator for an appointment:


9.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Madeleine Bartfeld Sigel collection of autographs and performing arts memorabilia covers the period from 1899 to 2003; the bulk of the materials date from 1930 to 2001. The collection contains programs, autographs, photographs, scrapbooks, and other memorabilia collected by Madeleine Sigel and her father, Albert Bartfeld.


Madeleine Bartfeld Sigel (b. 1924 - d. May 3, 2020) began collecting performing arts autographs as a teenager in 1930s Vienna. The daughter of Albert Bartfeld, theatre manager and owner of a thriving cabaret, she inherited an interest in collecting autographs from her father who also kept performing art scrapbooks and collected autographs starting as far back as 1904. In his position as the theatre management, Mr. Bartfeld came into contact with many performers who gave him signed photographs, some inscribed to him and others to his daughter. Mrs. Sigel also collected autographs and pictures in scrapbooks she created herself in addition to collecting autographs on calling cards and scraps of paper. A few of the more notable autographs in the collection include Marlene Dietrich, Franz Lehar, Ewald Balser, Josephine Baker, Fred Liewehr, Arturo Toscanini, and Julie Harris. In addition, Mrs. Sigel collected materials relating to a popular singing group from the 1930s, the Comedian Harmonists, whose Jewish members were forced to emigrate when Hitler came to power.


The collection has been divided into twelve series.

  1. Music Programs
  2. Opera and Vocal Music Programs
  3. Play Programs
  4. Musical/Review/Dance/Ballet Programs
  5. International Programs
  6. Comedian Harmonists
  7. Published Books
  8. Scrapbooks
  9. Photographs
  10. Non-Photograph Autographs
  11. Correspondence
  12. Clippings and Inventories

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Gift from Madeleine Sigel of Bethesda, Maryland on May 8, 2003

Madeleine Bartfeld Sigel collection of autographs and performing arts memorabilia
Lori Fowser with biographical sketch by Bonnie Jo Dopp; revised by Colleen McKnight.
June 2004; revised June 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States