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Sister Romana Hertel Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Hertel

Scope and Content of the Collection

Research materials related to Sister Romana’s thesis on J.W. Hertel, professional and personal correspondence, biographical material on Sister Romana, and original compositions.


  • Creation: 1951-1997
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1960 - 1980



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Sister Romana Hertel Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Sister Romana Hertel Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Sister Romana Hertel

Sister Romana Hertel was born in 1915 in Stockbridge, Wisconsin as Gertrude Hertel. From an early age, Gertrude showed an aptitude and interest in music, and studied piano and organ in college. She eventually followed this degree up with a master’s in violin and a doctorate in musicology. Her thesis was written on Johann Wilhelm Hertel (family connection unknown).

After graduating high school, she entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi in 1933, accepting the name Sister M. Romana. Sister Romana took her first mission in 1936 as a music teacher at Sacred Heart in St. Francis. She transferred to a few different assignments over the years before settling at Cardinal Stritch University, where she headed the music department from 1954-1960.

Sister Romana composed as well as taught, entering her compositions into competitions under the pen name “Mario Roma.” She was also active in peace demonstrations and protests of U.S. foreign policies, played violin in concerts, volunteered with different local ministries, and taught private music lessons. In 2006, Stritch presented Sister Romana with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peacemaker Award for her work in various ministries and advocacy. Sister Romana died on February 27, 2014 at the age of 98.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)


Sister Romana Hertel, born Gertrude Hertel, entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi in 1933, working as a music instructor in various Catholic schools. She earned her doctorate in musicology and became head of the music department at Cardinal Stritch University.


Materials arranged alphabetically by subject.

Collection Stack Location

1 22 3


Provenance unknown.

Processed by

Emily Richardson, 2019.

Inventory of the Sister Romana Hertel Papers, 1951-1997, bulk 1960-1980
Emily Richardson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States