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The Troostwyk Family Papers

Call Number: Misc. Ms. 306

Scope and Contents

The Troostwyk Family Papers document the musical activities of the Dutch-born violinist Isidore Troostwyk, his wife Erna Dessauer Troostwyk, and their children Leo, Hendrika, and Arthur. The family's musical activities in New Haven are documented by correspondence, programs, scrapbooks and clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous materials. The majority of the Papers relate to Isidore and Leo. The largest and richest series is the scrapbooks and clippings, which cover not only the careers of the Troostwyk Family, but also document musical life in New Haven at the turn of the 20th century, including beginning of formal music study at Yale University and the founding of the Yale School of Music.


  • 1894-1957


Language of Materials

Materials chiefly in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open to researchers by appointment. There are no restricted materials in the collection. Please contact the Special Collections staff to schedule an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

The papers are the physical property of the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University. Copyrights belong to the composers and authors, or their legal heirs and assigns.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Troostwyk Family Papers were established in the Music Library of Yale University by Elaine Troostwyk Toscanini and Lee Troostwyk in October 1986.


In 6 series as follows: I. Music. II. Correspondence. III. Concert programs. IV. Scrapbooks. V. Miscellaneous. VI. Photographs.


2 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Music, correspondence, programs, scrapbooks and clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous materials by and about the Dutch-American violinist and educator Isidore Troostwyk (1862-1923), his wife Erna Dessauer Troostwyk, and their children Leo, Hendrika, and Arthur, all of whom were musicians

Biographical / Historical

Isidore Troostwyk (1862-1923) was a brilliant violinist from Zwolle in the Netherlands. He began studying the violin at the age of ten, and when he was sixteen, admiring patrons funded lessons with Joseph Joachim in Berlin. (Joachim later sent him to the United States with a letter of recommendation.) In 1883 Troostwyk was appointed professor of the violin at the Academy of Music in Amsterdam, and was appointed concertmaster of the Concertgebouw orchestra. During his career in Holland, he played under conductors such as Brahms, Bruch, Benoit, Rubenstein, Bülow, Massenet, Moszkowski, and Grieg.

Troostwyk emigrated to the United States in 1888. He was co-founder of the Dessauer-Troostwyk School of Music, at 781 Chapel Street in New Haven, incorporated in 1893. Troostwyk joined with the co-founder of the School, flutist Max Dessauer (b. 1864), and Dessauer's sister Erna (b. 1865), to form the Dessauer-Troostwyk Trio. Troostwyk became the concertmaster of the New Haven Symphony at the time of its organization in 1894. (The first concert was in January 1895.) In 1895, Troostwyk was appointed as the first Instructor of Violin at the newly established Yale School of Music, where he was later promoted to Assistant Professor, and performed as a member of the Faculty Trio. Troostwyk was the founding conductor of two orchestras: the New Haven String Orchestra (1907) and the Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra.

Troostwyk's entire family was involved in music. In addition to his wife Erna (a pianist and composer) and brother-in-law Max Dessauer, his and Erna's children became talented and successful musicians in their own right. Their son Leo became the principal cellist in the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Instructor of Cello in 1912 at the Yale School of Music. Their daughter Hendrika was known as a child prodigy on the violin, and also played viola. Their son Arthur was a violinist in the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and played in the Leo Troostwyk Trio with his brother Leo and pianist Roy J. Ward. Leo, Hendrika, and Arthur played with their father in the Troostwyk Family Quartet.

The Troostwyk Family Papers
Edited Full Draft
Compiled by Eva M. Heater
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Music Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Gilmore Music Library Repository

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