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Tree of Life #2

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QUILT INDEX RECORD

18-14-16

DESCRIPTION:

To make her Tree of Life quilts Gasperik transformed a McCall crewelwork pattern into an applique quilt pattern with the help of her daughter Elsie. This is the second of the pair of quilts pictured in the 1935 family photograph. See also #082.

ESSAY:

Salser's notes indicate that Ruth Stein's married named was Mrs. Ernest Stein and that although Ruth was a Chicago friend, the couple moved to Wisconsin. This information might be of help in locating the pair of quilts, in case they still exist.

Susan Salser remembers this about the making of the Tree of Life quilts:
1935 was a period of time in which grandma was going full bore with her quilt making. She had discovered the 'Detroit News' and its quilt club and shows and was made VERY aware of how quilters were rewarded (in prizes and publicity) for utilizing commercial pattern offerings. Grandma very actively sought recognition; we know that from the quality and volume of her work. 

The 'Tree of Life' quilts were ones which my mom [Elsie Gasperik Krueger] was deeply involved in helping design. Even though a lot of the design components are dictated by the McCall Kaumagraph #1853 for crewelwork, Elsie worked hard to draw the applique patterns for her mother and make suggestions about how best to turn the McCall pattern into an appliquéd, quilted quilt. She considered what might be amplified, what might be left out, proposed reflecting the applique IN the quilting design, etc. We know that from personal memory and also from mom’s cousin Vilma McClure who wrote me a letter explicitly describeing how hard mom worked to help grandma create these 'Tree of Life' quilts. Vilma stated that my mom was very involved in helping grandma with her quilting in these years. 'Tree of Life' was the specific pattern she mentioned, but I know there were also other MG/EGK quilt collaborations ('Double Feather Star', #006#045#081 and 'Four Little Pigs', #057 come to mind.)

Mary was stricter with Elsie than she was with her sons, sometimes driving her to tears. Despite that, my mother wanted to encourage her mother to use her prodigious needlework skills to express more personal and original  designs - especially using  connections with the elaborate floral embroideries of grandma’s native land, Hungary. So these particular quilts are attached to their mother/daughter relationship. My mom, the daughter who wanted more recognition of her own independence than her mother appeared willing to grant her and who refused to make, much less admire, the prolific embroidery she grew up surrounded by, was telling the expert needleworker how to improve or change her needlework. Image how grandma felt about that! 

My grandmother very much believed in formal family weddings and expressly demanded that her daughter turn over that decision to her. My mother (and father) wanted a private and civil ceremony and simply went ahead and married on a lunch break in downtown Chicago on Aug. 25, 1934. Grandma was deprived of the grand wedding (and accompanying wedding quilt stamp of approval) she was so determined to have. So, when my mom’s very good friend at the time, Ruth Peterson, got married (presumably in 1935 to someone with the last name Stern) grandma had her opportunity and used it to present Ruth and her husband with a pair of 'Tree of Life' quilts. These were possibly the very first 'Tree of Life' quilts grandma made.

Where are the records for this quilt housed?

Mary Gasperik Legacy Project

Who documented this quilt?

Mary Gasperik Private Collection

CONTRIBUTING INSTITUTIONAL INVENTORY CONTROL NUMBERS: Enter the main control number for this item you are entering.

083

TYPE OF QUILT OBJECT: Choose the best description for the quilt being documented.

Finished quilt

OWNER'S NAME FOR QUILT'S PATTERN: Enter the name given to the quilt by the owner. This can be the name the family used to refer to the quilt as it passed through different generations, e.g. "Aunt Susie's quilt" or a pattern name that the owner used.

Tree of Life #2

PREDOMINANT COLOR(S): Enter all colors that are found in the quilt.

Beige or Tan; Brown; Cream; Green; Orange; Yellow

OVERALL COLOR SCHEME: Choose the best color scheme description for the quilt being documented.

Bright or primary colors; Dark colors

OVERALL CONDITION: Choose the best description for the quilt being documented.

Unknown/Not Rated

TIME PERIOD: Choose the time frame that best describes when the quilt was made. The date does not have to appear on the quilt to enter it in this field. This can be your best guess based on family stories or your own knowledge of quilts.

1930-1949

DATE FINISHED: Enter the date the quilt was finished.

1935

FAMILY/OWNER'S DATE FOR QUILT: If there are family stories that indicate a date when the quilt was made, enter that date.

1935

OTHER DATE ESTIMATION BY WHOM: Enter the name and/or title of the person who estimated the quilt's date for field 23d.

Merikay Waldvogel

FURTHER INFORMATION CONCERNING DATE(S): If you know anything else about the date the quilt was made, please tell the story.

McCall Kaumagraph #1853 was offered in 1931-32. This Gasperik quilt appears in a family photograph dated 1935.

LAYOUT FORMAT: Choose the best description for the layout (or set) of the quilt.

Medallion or framed center

SUBJECT OF QUILT, IF IT HAS ONE: Some quilts are made with a specific intent (e.g. Commemoration of September 11, the 100th anniversary of a town, or an AIDS panel). Enter the subject of the quilt.

Tree of Life

NUMBER OF BORDERS: Borders are the strips of fabric that are added after the blocks (and sashings) are put together. They appear on the outside edges of the quilt. Quilts often have multiple borders. Enter the number of borders on the quilt.

One

BORDER DESCRIPTION: Describe the style of the borders (i.e. pieced, appliqued, stenciled) and the width of each border, from the inside to the outside.

Wide rich dark brown border on four sides frames the center panel.

FABRIC FIBER TYPES USED IN QUILT TOP: Choose all the types of fiber that are used to make the quilt top.

Cotton

FABRIC PATTERNS, STYLES, MOTIFS, OR PRINT CATEGORIES USED IN QUILT TOP: Choose all the types of prints that are used to make the quilt top.

Print; Solid/plain

CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN QUILT TOP: APPLIQUE TECHNIQUES: Choose the applique method used to construct the quilt.

Hand Applique

CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN QUILT TOP: EMBELLISHMENT TECHNIQUES: Choose the embellishment technique used to make the quilt.

Embroidery

MATERIAL USED FOR QUILT BATTING OR FILLING: Choose the fiber content that best describes the material used to fill the quilt.

Cannot tell

QUILTING TECHNIQUES USED: Choose the technique that best describes the way the quilt layers are held together.

Hand quilting

QUILTING DESIGNS USED: MOTIFS/OVERALL PATTERNS: Choose the overall quilt design found on the quilt top.

Grid diamond; Outline

QUILTING DESIGNS USED: BACKGROUND FILL PATTERNS: Choose the background quilt design found on the quilt top.

Grid/crosshatch

ANY OTHER FEATURES OR NOTES ABOUT THE QUILT'S APPEARANCE, MATERIALS, OR CONSTRUCTION: Describe anything about the physical appearance of the quilt that wasn't already recorded in a previous field.

The pair of quilts appearing in a photograph dated 1935 (which, in Elsie's handwriting, also notes they were "given to Ruth Peterson Stein") appear to be the simplest of Gasperik's Tree of Life series. The quiltING is an all-over hanging diamond pattern without Gasperik's usual flourishes and embedded motifs. There appear to be no birds: either quilted or appliqued. This (and its mate, #082) is the simplest - and probably earliest - Gasperik rendition of the McCall design. Although some decorative additions (and substitutions) were made, Gasperik constructed her five Tree of Life quilts (#031, #065, #044, #082, #083) from a single universe of fabrics.

QUILT TOP MADE BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who made the quilt top.

Gasperik, Mary

QUILTED BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who quilted the top.

Gasperik, Mary

CITY: Enter the name of the city where the quilt was made.

Chicago

COUNTY: Enter the name of the county where the quilt was made.

Cook County

STATE: Enter the name of the state where the quilt was made.

Illinois (IL)

COUNTRY: Enter the name of the country where the quilt was made.

United States

DETAILS ON HOW THE QUILT WAS ACQUIRED:

Gasperik made a pair of Tree of Life quilts for her friend Ruth Peterson Stein in 1935. Karen Krueger remembers that they were given by Gasperik as a wedding present.

QUILTMAKER'S REASONS FOR MAKING THE QUILT: If the quilt was made for a specific purpose, choose the reason from the list.

Wedding

QUILT WAS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED TO BE USED AS: Choose how the quilt was originally used.

Bedding, special occasion

QUILT IS PRESENTLY USED AS: Choose how the quilt is being used by the present owner.

Unknown

SOURCE OF QUILT'S MATERIALS: Choose how the quilt maker acquired the fabric for this quilt.

Purchased new

QUILT TOP PATTERN SOURCE: Choose where the quilt maker found the pattern for this quilt.

Commercial/Published source: Pattern

COMMERCIAL SOURCE NAME(S): If you know the commercial name of the pattern used for this quilt, please enter it. This may include books, magazines, newsletters, pattern companies, computer software programs, and kits.

"McCall #1853 Crewelwork Pattern/Tree of Life" published in McCall Decorative Arts and Needlework 1931-1932.

ANY ADDITIONAL NOTES OR STORIES ABOUT THE QUILT'S DESIGN OR MATERIALS SOURCE: Describe anything about the design of the quilt that wasn't already recorded in a previous field.

According to Elsie's cousin, Vilma McClure, Elsie helped Gasperik design the Tree of Life quilts. Elsie's daughters remember that this particular series of quilts, the Tree of Life quilts, seemed to be Elsie's personal favorites of all the quilts her mother made.

OTHER RELATED ITEMS: List other materials that exist about this quilt like oral histories, wills, diaries, or patterns.

January 9, 1994 letter from Vilma McClure to Susan Salser: "About your mother. She helped design many of the quilts. I particularly remember the family tree quilt. I saw it in the making. I think your mother designed that one. Elsie was most pleased that her mother had such a passion for making quilts. Indeed, Aunt Mary didn't do anything else - literally! Your mother went to Hazelcrest and cleaned her mother's house and did her wash on a regular basis." (Susan Salser, personal collection).

Family photograph, b&w, showing a pair of Tree of Life quilts. Written on the back, in Elsie's hand: "1935 Twin Tree of Life made for Ruth Peterson Stein".

AVAILABLE SOURCES FOR QUILTMAKER: List other source materials about this quiltmaker such as photos, oral histories, book or newspaper publications, fame for some other reason or event.

Merikay Waldvogel and Barbara Brackman. Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, (Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press, 1993)102-103.

Merikay Waldvogel "One American Dream Comes True", Quilters Newsletter Magazine, March 2008, 46-49.

OWNERSHIP OF THIS QUILT IS:

Private

QUILT OWNER'S COUNTRY:

United States

AUTHOR/INTERVIEWEE'S RELATION TO THE QUILT:

Author/researcher; Blood relative of quiltmaker

OTHER RELATIONSHIP TO SOURCE: If you chose Other, for the relationship to the source, describe the relationship here.

Grand-daughter

OTHER INFORMATION ON SOURCE PERSON TO QUILT:

Grand-daughter Susan Salser began this research effort in 1991, after she and her two sisters divided up the quilts which belonged to their mother (Elsie Gasperik Krueger) who died in 1988. Her ongoing research has been fruitful and interesting.

QUILTMAKER'S MAIDEN NAME:

Mihalovits, Maria

QUILTMAKER'S GENDER:

Female

QUILTMAKER'S BIRTH DATE:

01/25/1888

DEATH DATE OF THE QUILTMAKER, IF APPLICABLE:

05/25/1969

QUILTMAKER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:

Hungarian

QUILTMAKER'S EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:

Elementary School

QUILTMAKER'S COUNTRY OF BIRTH:

Hungary

IN WHICH KIND OF ENVIRONMENT DID THE QUILTMAKER GROW UP?

Rural

CITY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:

Chicago

COUNTY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:

Cook

STATE WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:

Illinois (IL)

COUNTRY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:

United States

QUILTMAKER'S FATHER'S NAME:

Mihalovits, Istvan

FATHER'S BIRTHPLACE:

Hungary

FATHER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:

Hungarian

QUILTMAKER'S MOTHER'S NAME:

Mihalovits, Vidoszava

MOTHER'S BIRTHPLACE:

Hungary

MOTHER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:

Hungarian

SPOUSE'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:

Hungarian

SPOUSE'S OCCUPATION:

Milk Dealer/Grocery Store Owner/Butcher

NUMBER OF CHILDREN:

3

NUMBER OF FEMALE CHILDREN:

1 (Elsie 1909-1988)

NUMBER OF MALE CHILDREN:

2 (Elmer and Stephen)

HOW DID THE QUILTMAKER LEARN TO QUILT?

From guild or club member; Self-Taught

WHEN DID THE QUILTMAKER LEARN TO QUILT?

Age 40-49

WHY DOES/DID THE QUILTMAKER QUILT:

Pleasure; Other

OTHER, WHY THE QUILTMAKER QUILTS:

Mary Gasperik made quilts because it was her life passion and greatest talent. As opportunities arose, she entered contests and exhibited them publicly. She also made special quilts for her family.

NAME OF QUILTING GROUP: If the quilt maker belonged to a group, enter the name of the group.

Tuley Park Quilt Club and Detroit News Quilt Club

LOCATION OF GROUP:

Chicago, IL and Detroit, MI

SPECIALIZED ACTIVITIES/EVENTS OF QUILTING GROUP: Enter activities the group participated in.

Chicago group met to quilt and held periodic quilt shows; Detroit group held national exhibits and contests.

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF QUILTS MADE BY THIS QUILTER:

more than 50

DID THE QUILTMAKER SELL QUILTS?

no

DOES/DID QUILTMAKER TEACH QUILTING: Is the quilt maker also a quilt teacher?

no

PHOTO CREDIT:

unknown, family photo

ACCESS AND COPYRIGHT IS:

Restricted

HOLDER OF COPYRIGHT:

Hank Finn

Details

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Cite this Quilt

Gasperik, Mar. Tree of Life #2. 1935. From Mary Gasperik Legacy Project, Mary Gasperik Private Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, https://quiltindex.org/view/?type=fullrec&kid=18-14-16. Accessed: 01/18/22

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