Hungarian Harvest Festival; Hungarian Girls/Harvest Festival, Hungarian Girls, Hungarian Peasant Girls, "Magyar qvilt" in maker's own words






This quilt, finished in time for the May 1940 Detroit News Quilt Show, is a family favorite. Gasperik began work on this project immediately after she returned home from the 5th Detroit News Quilt Show, held October 7-9, 1938. The October 22, 1938 Detroit News quilt column written by quilt club editor Edith B. Crumb featured a picture of a Hungarian peasant girl appliqué sample block which Gasperik sent to Detroit for Crumb to share with fellow members of the Friday afternoon Quilt Club Corner, who gathered weekly in the basement of The Detroit News radio broadcast building. At the 5th Detroit News Quilt Show Gasperik had won the $25 top prize for appliqué (News pattern) and she was no doubt eager to start a quilt entry for the next Detroit show, one which might win her the highest prize ($50) they offered, the Grand Prize.

The exquisite embroidery skills so well displayed on this quilt reflect Mary Gasperik's Hungarian heritage applied to a new medium, the American quilt. As a young girl Mary was taught sewing and embroidery to help bring in family income. The intricate and colorful floral embroideries traditional to Hungary lend themselves especially well to appliqué, the quilt style Mary preferred. Salser believes Gasperik designed the centerpiece Hungarian couple herself, using book illustrations, by Kathleen Mann, of ethnic European costumes.

The sample block sent to Edith Crumb shows a slightly different arm position for the peasant girls encircling the married couple in the finished quilt, suggesting that Gasperik made revisions to the pattern she was working from. One wonders if Gasperik's efforts may have been stimulated by a Hungarian member of The Detroit News Quilt Club Corner named Lena M. Seles (Mrs. Bernat). Seles wrote to Quilt Club Corner (August 17, 1935) p 10 "Dear Ms. Crumb. I have made a quilt according to my own ideas. There are applique designs of little girls in the center with tulips for a border and it needs only quilting. I have never done any of this before. I would like so much to enter it in the Quilt Show if it is possible..." The October 1935 Detroit News quilt show was Gasperik's first. Perhaps she saw Seles' quilt there, and had the joy of meeting a fellow Hungarian quilter and sharing ideas, patterns and enthusiasm sparked by their shared ethnic heritage.

After Gasperik's triumph at the October 7-9, 1938 Detroit show, she went home and started making her Hungarian Peasant Girls quilt. She sent a sample block to The Quilt Club Corner. It is pictured and described in the October 22, 1938 (p 11) Detroit News. Seles evidently responded to Gasperik's peasant girl block. On December 10, 1938 (p 10) Edith Crumb wrote in her quilt column: "Mrs. Lena Seles brought an appliqued block of an Hungarian peasant boy to be used with the Hungarian girl peasant block which Mrs. Mary Gasperik of Chicago designed. Mrs. Bella Ware and Mrs. Seles have both copied the little girl and Mrs. Leontine Hardy is also going to make one like it."

Like Gasperik's Colonial Quilting Bee quilt, her Hungarian Girls quilt is strongly connected with The Detroit News quilt club and shows. This exemplifies how the Detroit quilters and The Detroit News Quilt Shows helped Gasperik develop into a master quilter.


Of all the quilts made by Mary Gasperik , this one is the all-time favorite of many family members. It salutes Mary's Hungarian heritage. She called it her "Magyar qvilt".

Mary was born in 1888 in Csongrad county (megye) in southern Hungary. She grew up in the area known as Transylvania, from which she emigrated to the United States at age 16 along with her 18-year old sister. They were sponsored by the eldest Mihalovits sister, Anna, who had married in Hungary and emigrated (to Chicago) with her husband, John Kiss. In leaving Hungary, the girls were seeking a more prosperous future. They were part of a large family which had fallen on hard times. Their father (Stephen/Istvan Mihalovits), who had initially been a small landowner, tried to increase his holdings by renting additional land and taking out loans he could not repay. Details of this gradual decline, dated from 1869 to 1878, are recorded in a ledger he kept (collection of Susan Salser). In the end he lost the land he started out with. In the words of his wife, as related to his youngest daughter Julia, who recorded a family genealogy, he “gambled it all away” and the family had to “live in great poverty”.

This forced the family to move, in 1892, away from Csongrad to the rather remote village of Otelek (not far from Temesvar). In 1992 grand-daughter Susan Salser visited Otelek, now part of Romania, and found it remote and poor; possibly not much different from the village Mary left behind in December 1904. The oldest children being unmarried daughters in a now-poor family, it is not surprising that, when an older local man planning to emigrate to America asked for the hand of their eldest daughter, Anna, Stephen and Vidoszava Mihalovits accepted.

Emigration to America (to Chicago, in particular) turned out to be the future of the entire family. After Stephen Mihalovits died in 1913, his widow emigrated with their remaining children: Alex, George and Julia. Vidoszava remarried and became Victoria (Mrs. Charles) Novak. Daughter Emilia emigrated a year after Mary and her sister arrived in Chicago, but died of tuberculosis 11 months later. Brother Elias, also sponsored by the Anna and John Kiss, came to Chicago in 1908.

The exquisite embroidery skills so well displayed on this quilt are a part of Mary's Hungarian heritage applied to a new medium, the American quilt. As a young girl Mary was taught sewing and embroidery. Her maternal grandfather was a master tailor (and his wife a seamstress) in Temesvar, perhaps indicating that the skills she was taught were expert ones. Her formal schooling ended with third grade.

Traditional Hungarian embroidery is very colorful and intricate, reflected well in the native Hungarian linens and costume preserved in Hungarian Folk Art museums. Echoes of the colorful floral patterns found in traditional Hungarian embroidery can be found on many Gasperik quilts. Mary’s decision to embroider stalks of wheat, in particular, into most floral bouquets, is a very Hungarian choice of pattern. I would note that on one of her earliest quilts, the 1933 Floral Bouquet/Formal Garden (quilt #004), she executed the motif in applique (a very unusual choice). In all of the later quilts featuring wheat stalks, it is embroidered. Good examples of the signature Gasperik embroidered wheat can be seen on the 4 surviving Indiana Wreath quilts (#011, #032, #043, and #063); Wild Flower Wreath, a kit quilt to which the wheat is added (quilt #046), and in a now-missing quilt which the family calls “Mom’s Quilt” (which survives only as a color snapshot).

When Mary and Elizabeth arrived in Chicago they found employment as household help. Soon they met two Hungarian brothers, Geza and Stephen Gasperik, whose father ran a dairy in Chicago. Salser is not sure if the girls met their future husbands because they worked in the Joseph Gasperik household, if perhaps the boys delivered milk from their father’s dairy to the home where the sisters were employed, or if they met in one of Chicago’s public parks where Hungarian emigrants gathered. An old family photograph shows Stephen and Mary, before they were married, in such a setting as part of a larger group. The two sisters married the two brothers, Elizabeth on May 13, 1906 and Mary on November 18, 1906.

By 1908 Elizabeth and her two children were dead. Mary and Stephen prospered. Their family grew: eldest son Stephen was born August 13, 1907, daughter Elsie (named after Mary’s sister Elizabeth/Erzsi in Hungarian) was born February 3, 1909; Elmer was born April 24, 1912; and Edvard Rudolf John was born January 5, 1918 (but died 15 months later). Mary’s husband Stephen built his own milk delivery business and then purchased a grocery store and meat market at 9314 S. Cottage Grove, which he managed until 1948-9, when he suffered a stroke, sold the business and they retired to East Hazelcrest, Illinois.

Chicago was the perfect place to be, in 1933, when Mary discovered quilts. She could see and read about the quilts made famous by the Sears contest. She already knew how to sew and how to embroider expertly, and thanks to her husband’s success, she now had money to purchase whatever threads, fabric, patterns and magazines she wished. Chicago, in the 1930s, was a rich source of patterns and raw materials for someone wishing to learn how to make quilts. Some major quilt catalogs were distributed in Chicago. Commercial sources that come to mind (and which Salser believes her grandmother used) include catalogs called Colonial Quilts from H. Ver Mehren/Home Art Studios, of Des Moines Iowa, but also printed and distributed in Chicago. The Duncan Company was based in Chicago. They manufactured a box of patterns called The Wonder Package (copyright 1933, Donald F. Duncan Inc.) which was promoted by The Detroit News. Mary used 2 patterns from that box: to make the moons appliqued on “Star Arcturus” (quilt #048), as well as to quilt the leaping fish on a 1957 quilt made for great-grandson Andrew Finn (quilt #058). Quilt patterns by "Nancy Cabot" appeared in her daily newspaper (the overall pattern for Star Arcturus, which was called “Century of Progress” in the Cabot column came from this Chicago source. Virginia Snow catalogs, which Mary collected, came from nearby Elgin, Illinois. Mary made several quilts like those presented in the catalog Romance of the Village Quilts from the Mary E. McElwain quilt shop in Walworth, Wisconsin. The Boag Company, also in Elgin, Illinois, carried these in a 1933 catalog called Quilts by Boag. Mary probably saw quilts made by fellow Chicagoans, including the famous Bertha Stenge (see material under quilt #034 ‘Colonial Quilting Bee’). Another less well known but prolific Chicago quilter, named Catherine Hamburger, seems to have based her ‘Harlequin’ quilt, an entry in the 1942 Woman’s Day Needlework contest on Mary Gasperik’s ‘Double Feather Star’ quilts (see material under quilt #006, ‘Double Feather Star’). Most importantly, Mary had a very important resource just blocks from her home: the quilt club at Tuley Park, sponsored by the Chicago Park District. Happily for Mary Gasperik, Chicago was a major quilting center. She lived in the right place at the right time.

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.


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

Finished quilt

QUILT'S TITLE, IF IT HAS ONE: Many quilts have no title, but contemporary quilters often give a name to their quilts.

Hungarian Harvest Festival

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.

Hungarian Girls/Harvest Festival, Hungarian Girls, Hungarian Peasant Girls, "Magyar qvilt" in maker's own words

OVERALL WIDTH: Enter how wide the quilt is.

79 inches

OVERALL LENGTH: Enter how long the quilt is.

94 inches

SHAPE OF EDGE: Choose the best description for the edges of the quilt.


SHAPE OF CORNERS: Choose the best description for the corners of the quilt.


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

Cream; Gold; Lavender; Turquoise or Teal; White

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

Multicolor; Bright or primary colors

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

Excellent/like new

CONTENT OF INSCRIPTION(S): Enter the exact inscription here, including dates in the same form in which they appear on the quilt. Do not correct any spellings. If you are unsure of a letter or name, place a (?) to indicate uncertainty.


DATE OF INSCRIPTION: Enter the date found on the quilt.

Gasperik moved from 9314 S. Cottage Grove, Chicago IL to East Hazelcrest in ~1948. Labels like this were sewn to quilts sent to Illinois State Fairs. Many quilts made at the Cottage Grove address were sent to Springfield after that 1948 move.

METHOD OF INSCRIPTION: Choose the method used to inscribe the quilt.

Attached label; Ink; Other

OTHER METHOD OF INSCRIPTION: If you chose Other, please describe the method used to inscribe the quilt.

label is inked on separate piece of cloth and sewn to back of quilt.

LOCATION OF INSCRIPTION: Enter where the inscription was found on the quilt.

on back

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.


DATE BEGUN: Enter the date the quilt was started.

October 1938

DATE FINISHED: Enter the date the quilt was finished.


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

1938-1940. Finished quilt competed in May 24-26, 1940 Detroit News Quilt Show

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.

Detroit News October 22, 1938, p11 shows picture of Gasperik Hungarian Girl appliqued block sent to Detroit. Letter dated May 3, 1940 from Edith Crumb, of the Detroit News "Quilt Club Corner" editor refers to looking forward to seeing "your Hungarian Girl quilt" finished, so the family dates it as circa 1938-40.

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.

Hungarian girls in traditional costumes

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.


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.

Three concentric scalloped borders (in aqua, lavender-violet and gold prints) frame the center panel.

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


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.


UNIQUE OR OTHER CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES: Enter any unusual technique that hasn't been described in a previous field.

The girls costumes are intricately embroidered.

UNIQUE EMBELLISHMENTS: Enter any embellishment materials that don't appear in a previous field.

The girls' sleeves are filled with white chain-stitching, capturing the look of the miniscule pleating characteristic of sleeves and petticoats in Hungarian traditional costumes.

FABRIC FIBER TYPES USED IN QUILT BACK: Choose the fiber type used to make the quilt back.


COLOR OF BACKING: Enter all colors that are found in the quilt backing.


DESCRIPTION OF BACK: Choose the best description for the back of the quilt.

Same fabric used throughout; Solid/plain

WIDTH OF QUILT BINDING: Choose the width (in inches) of the binding of the quilt. Measure from the front side only.

less than a half inch

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

THREAD TYPE: Describe the fiber content or type of quilting thread used on the quilt.


THREAD COLOR: Enter the color(s) of thread used to hold the quilt layers together.


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

Clamshell; Grid/crosshatch

QUILTING DESIGNS USED: DECORATIVE PATTERNS: Choose the decorative quilt design found on the quilt top.

Feathering; Wreaths

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

Grid/crosshatch; Other

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.


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


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

HOW WAS QUILT ACQUIRED BY OWNER: Choose the best description for how the owner acquired the quilt.



Selected by her daughter-in-law Doris from among the quilts to be divided up after Mary Gasperik died.

ANY ADDITIONAL STORIES OR NOTES ABOUT THE QUILT'S OWNERSHIP OR HISTORY: Describe anything about the history of the quilt that wasn't already recorded in a previous field.

This was not a quilt made for or presented to a specific individual.

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

Art or personal expression

PLEASE EXPLAIN OTHER OCCASION, IF APPLICABLE: If you chose Other, please explain the occasion.

It is likely Gasperik created this quilt precisely FOR a Detroit News quilt show and contest. The one she entered it in was held in May 1940. That turned out to be the last Detroit News quilt contest.

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.


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: Book

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.

Peasant Costume in Europe-Book 1, (1937) by Kathleen Mann

QUILTING DESIGN PATTERN SOURCE: Choose where the quilt maker found the pattern for the quilting design used in this quilt.

Kit; Original to maker

OTHER QUILTING DESIGN PATTERN SOURCE: If you chose Other, please explain the where the quilting design pattern was found.

Paragon kit #01010 Wild Flower Wreaths/Field Flower Wreaths.

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.

For the central figures, Peasant Costume in Europe, Book 1, (1937) illustrated by Kathleen Mann may be the design source. Gasperik's daughter Elsie, who encouraged her to develop her own design ideas, gave her the book as a gift.

The floral motifs quilted into the lower portion of the quilted oval wreath are transposed from an applique floral design in Paragon kit #01010 Wild Flower Wreaths/Field Flower Wreaths.

The Detroit News annual quilt show of 1940 introduced a new contest entry category: aprons. This quilt, with all its apron-clad girls, (and which was submitted to that show), may be Mary's salute to that new exhibit category.

An unusually large array of different print fabrics are found on quilt #34, making it an ideal choice to compare with fabrics found in other Gasperik quilts, particularly the Tree of Life quilts (#031, #044 and #065).

EXHIBITIONS: List all known exhibits where this quilt has been displayed.

Exhibited at the (6th and last) Detroit News Quilt Show - May 24-26, 1940.

Exhibited at Illinois State Fair in Springfield - 1941, 1947, 1960 and 1966.

Exhibited at a Tuley Park Quilt Club exhibit in Chicago - probably February 1949.

Possibly exhibited at Mandel Brothers department store in Chicago - April 1956.

Exhibited in The Quilts of Mary Gasperik, Ann Anastasio, Curator, Ravenswood Historic Site, Livermore, CA, March 14-15, 1992.

This is one of the 23 Mary Gasperik quilts exhibited in the Carnegie Room of the Marion Indiana Public Library July 16-17, 2021 in connection with the ceremony honoring the induction of Mary Gasperik into The Quilters Hall of Fame as their 2021 Legacy Quilter honoree. Mary Gasperik Quilters Hall of Fame Induction Exhibit.

CONTESTS ENTERED: List contest(s) entered.

Honorable Mention, Detroit Quilt Show, May 24-26, 1940
First prize, Illinois State Fair, Springfield, IL, 1941, 1947; 1960 and 1966.

According to information Gasperik wrote under 2 photographs of this quilt included in a photo album sent to Hungary in 1947 [translation from Hungarian]: "I won two first prizes with it and a second one. Also, I won a recognition ribbon for the quilt. This year - 1947 - I won again 2 first prizes with the quilt."


Mary won three Honorable Mention ribbons at the Detroit News 1940 Show. One was probably for Hungarian Girls.


First Prize ribbon at the 1940 Illinois State Fair for Quilts and Bedspreads Cotton Applique.


First Prize ribbon at the 1940 Illinois State Fair for Most Artistic


First Prize ribbon at the 1947 Illinois State Fair.


First Prize ribbon at the 1947 Illinois State Fair.


From this tag we know one of the 1947 blue ribbons was for Best Quilting on Cotton Quilt


From this tag we know one of the 1947 blue ribbons was for Most Artistic Quilt


First Prize ribbon at the 1960 Illinois State Fair.


First Prize ribbon at the 1966 Illinois State Fair.

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

The Detroit News October 22, 1938, page 11 "Club Members Settle Down to Long Winter of Quilting," by Edith B. Crumb: includes newspaper photo of Gasperik Hungarian Girl Block and detailed discussion of some of its details. Edith wrote: "She calls this pattern her "Hungarian Girl" and it is appliqued and embroidered in very gay colors. The skirt is brilliant red ground percale with a conventional design in bright green, blue, yellow and black. The bodice is bright green and the edge of the apron is also green. The shoes and the head dress are of bright yellow ground percale with blue, red and green conventional floral pattern. The sleeves are of embroidered lines in white with red and green lines denoting bows and shirrings above the elbows. There is an embroidered necklace, also a bracelet of fine embroidered lines. The apron is of white mesh material and the hair is of brown embroidered in solid stitchery. Mrs. Gasperik has shown a great deal of patience in the creation of this block for there is a lot of very fine detail. For example the arm and hand are appliqued and embroidered and you may well imagine how difficult it is to turn in the material and embroider around the fingers. The shoes are also appliqued and the turning in of the material around the high heels is no easy matter either. This block would be charming for a pillow top or it could be framed and used as a wall decoration or under the glass of a tray."

Typed letter from Edith B. Crumb to Mary Gasperik dated May 3, 1940 reading: "Everybody is going to be delighted to see your Hungarian Girl Quilt, because that little block you sent me was borrowed by a great many." (original letter in Gasperik archive) This indicates that the quilt was started in 1938 and finished in time for the May 1940 Detroit Quilt Show.

The Detroit News August 17, 1935 page10, published letter from Mrs. B. Seles.

The Detroit News December 10, 1938, page 10 "Quilt Club Announces Christmas Grab Bag," includes the following Quilt Club news: "Mrs. Lena Seles brought an appliqued block of an Hungarian peasant boy to be used with the Hungarian girl peasant block which Mrs. Mary Gasperik of Chicago designed. Mrs. Bella Ware and Mrs. Seles have both copied the little girl and Mrs. Leontine Hardy is also going to make one like it." Although she lived in Chicago, not Detroit, Marty Gasperik was an active participant in the Detroit Quilt Club.

‘Round Dance of Girls from Kalocsa’, this is a black and white photograph on page 208 of Hungarian Decorative Folk Art; copyright by Corvina; made and printed by Szikra, Budapest, Hungary, 1955. This book was “Compiled by the experts of the Hungarian Ethnograpical Museum”. Photos by Karoly Falus and Alfred Schiller. This book was given to Susan Salser by Mary Bruland (Gasperik’s niece). It is not a book which belonged to Gasperik. The photograph illustrates why the circle of Hungarian peasant girls seen on quilt #014 was a design which might have appealed to this particular quilter. This book also explains (p. 14) that, traditionally, married Hungarian women covered their heads and wore more subdued colors (such as brown, dark green and claret) than Hungarian girls. A comparison of the central woman’s figure in this quilt with the surrounding girls’ figures illustrates this.

The Detroit News, May 24, 1940, page 4 ("Another quilt comes from a Hungarian woman living in Chicago, Mrs. Mary Gasparik. It depicts her own life in this country from the time of her arrival here in 1927. Mrs. Gasparik will be among a bus load of women coming to the show from Chicago." Note the mistakes: Gasperik is misspelled; she immigrated in 1904 not 1927; and the quilt depicts life in Hungary not life in America.

Gasperik included photographs of herself working on The Detroit NewsHungarian Harvest FestivalThe Detroit News at her quilting frame and of the completed quilt in a photograph album made for relatives in Hungary in 1947. Granddaughter Linda MacLachlan took photographs of this album page when she visited Hungary in 2011. The following is handwritten in Hungarian on that page (translation supplied by Bernadett Black): “This is how I make my quilt. I put it over a frame and I work on the quilt for months. This is my Hungarian quilt [written “ar en Magyar qviltem”].” She continues: “I won two first prizes with it and a second one. Also, I won a recognition ribbon for the quilt. This year – 1947 – I won again two first prizes with the quilt.” She ends with: “My Hungarian quilt is very beautiful.”

Two letters from Mrs. D. Burdell of East St. Louis Illinois dated August 27 and December 22, 1960 first request pattern then request a made up top!

Letter from Miss Loretta Jones of Springfield ILL dated August 19, 1966 describes Hungarian Girls as recent blue ribbon prize winner at Fair and wants to know how to order such a quilt.

August 15, 1958 "State Fair Briefs" from Springfield Register reads "Mrs. Mary Gasperik of East Hazelcrest exhibited four appliqued quilts at the Fair and was awarded three firsts and one second place. Salser doesn't know which Gasperik quilts won these prizes, but Hungarian Girls is a possibility.

Two family snapshots include this quilt: (1) Stephen and Mary Gasperik standing next to the quilt with a blue ribbon pinned to it. Probably taken after this quilt won a blue ribbon at the 1960 Illinois State Fair (Stephen died in 1962). This is probably the ONLY family photo showing the husband and wife with one of Mary's quilts.

(2) an early 1970's photo taken in daughter Elsie's Chicago apartment shortly before she divided quilts with her brother Elmer. The picture shows Elsie and daughters Susan, Karen and Linda (left to right) on the floor holding up one end of 'Hungarian Girls'.

August 15, 1941 Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield IL) article titled "Awards Made in Quilt Department". Text includes this: "First place in the applique quilt division at the Illinois state fair was won yesterday by Miss Mary Gasperik of Chicago with a green, lavender and yellow bordered cotton quilt figured with peasant dancing girls."

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, (Rutledge Hill Press, 1993)102-103.

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




Elmer Gasperik Heirs - Kathy Jacob contact


United States


Author/researcher; Blood relative of quiltmaker; Relative of quiltmaker; Other

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


RELATIONSHIP OF SOURCE PERSON TO QUILT: Choose the best description of the relationship of the source to the 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.


Mihalovits, Maria




January 25, 1888


May 25, 1969




Third grade in Hungary

OCCUPATION: Enter the occupation of the quilt maker (if retired, former occupation).











Illinois (IL)


United States


Mihalovits, Istvan






Mihalovits, Vidoszava








Grocery Store Owner/Butcher




1 (Elsie 1909-1988)


2 [Stephen and Elmer]


From guild or club member; Self-Taught


Age 40-49


Pleasure; Other


To exhibit in shows held by her Tuley Park quilt club in Chicago, the Detroit News quilt show in Detroit, many Illinois State Fairs, at least one Indiana State Fair. She entered quilts in at least 2 Chicago department store contests. She made at least one quilt and one quilt top specifically for the 1939 New York Worlds Fair quilt contest. She also made children's quilts specifically for grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and wedding and wedding anniversary quilts for her son Elmer and grand-daughter Karen. Primarily, she wanted to make quilts because it was her life passion and her greatest talent. The occasions and venues to show them presented themselves. It should be noted that prior to Mary's emigration to America in late 1904, at age 16, she was an apprenticed needleworker in her native Hungary. The intricate and colorful floral embroideries traditional to Hungary lend themselves especially well to applique, the quilt style Mary preferred.

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


Southside Chicago 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.


more than 50



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


DESCRIBE THE QUILTMAKER'S UNIQUE OR FAVORITE MATERIALS, PATTERNS, QUILTING TECHNIQUES, ETC: Enter the types of patterns, techniques and styles preferred by the quilt maker.


Don Gonzalez




Hank Finn


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Cite this Quilt

Gasperik, Mar. Hungarian Harvest Festival. 1938-1940. From Mary Gasperik Legacy Project, Mary Gasperik Private Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, Accessed: 07/03/22