All About Urban

The collection of Joseph Urban’s papers at Columbia University is a rich treasure trove and if you visit their website, you can use a 3-D image viewer to transport yourself into his set designs.

All of the materials in the Urban papers, related to the Gingerbread House’s development are included in this Digital Library with the permission of the Curator. The images not used elsewhere are included in this gallery:

Columbia Finding Aid Link


There are so many facets to Joseph Urban’s creative work, that you could spend a years studying his works.

  1. His Family
  2. His range of creative endeavors
  3. Articles:
  4. Andrea Doria reference – “Many of his papers, went down…”

Family Information:

  • Wife: Mary Porter Beegle Urban
  • Daughter, Margarete Urban,   Name Used – Gretl Urban Thurlow
  • Born, 7 January 1898, Vienna, Austria-Hungary, now Austria
  • Died 6 December 1997 at Toms River, New Jersey

About his daughter — I am unable to find the reference

  • Daughter of well-known Vienna born Joseph Urban, architect, illustrator and designer. Gretl studied in Boston, joined her father’s New York studio, created costumes for several of his productions. Worked for Ziegfeld Follies and Metropolitan Opera New York. Followed her father to California, worked in Hollywood 1923-1925. Also 1939 for New York World’s Fair, when Billy Rose restored the Ziegfeld Theatre in 1943, she served as a consultant. Between 1950 and her retirement in 1981 she worked for the music publisher Carl Fisher. Lived last in Toms River, New Jersey.



Joseph Urban: An Appreciation

Harry Mahnken and Janine Mahnken
Educational Theatre Journal
Vol. 15, No. 1 (Mar., 1963), pp. 55-61
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Article Stable URL:



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