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Tree of Life; Tree of Life (Linda)

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Cite this Quilt

Gasperik, Mar. Tree of Life. 1938. From Mary Gasperik Legacy Project, Mary Gasperik Private Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, https://quiltindex.org/view/?type=fullrec&kid=18-14-49. Accessed: 08/01/21

QUILT INDEX RECORD

18-14-49

ESSAY: Essay about this quilt or image object.

The five Tree of Life (#031, #065#044, #082, #083) quilts are based on the crewelwork design McCall Kaumagraph #1853. The first two were given away but can be documented in a 1935 family photo. Elsie Krueger helped her mother with the design transformation to appliqué. The appliqué bird in shades of orange and yellow in this quilt is a Gasperik addition to the McCall pattern. It appears on Tree of Life #044 as well. Being a crewelwork pattern, McCall Kaumagraph #1853 had nothing to say about quilting designs. As is true of other Gasperik quilts which were done in series, the quilting is slightly different on each Tree of Life quilt, as are some of the appliqué fabric selections. Gasperik quilted the date "1938" across the top of the white ground.

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. For a museum, this will probably be your acquisition number. It may be the number given to the quilt by the state or county project.

031

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

Finished quilt

QUILT'S TITLE, IF IT HAS ONE: Enter the name given to the quilt by the maker. Many quilts have no title, but contemporary quilters often give a name to their quilts. If the quilt has no title, leave this field blank.

Tree of Life

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 (Linda)

OVERALL WIDTH: Enter how wide the quilt is. Specify units of measure (mm or in or inches)

68 inches

OVERALL LENGTH: Enter how long the quilt is. Specify unit of measure (mm or in or inches).

89 inches

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

Scalloped

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

Scalloped

PREDOMINANT COLOR(S): CHECK ALL THAT APPLY: Enter all colors that are found in the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

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

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

Multicolor; Dark colors

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

Excellent/like new

TYPE(S) OF INSCRIPTION: Choose all the options that are found on the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Date

DATE OF INSCRIPTION: Enter the date found on the quilt. If there is more than one date, enter others in field 20 (as mm-dd-yyyy or c.yyyy, e.g. c.1965)

1938

METHOD OF INSCRIPTION: Choose the method used to inscribe the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

In the quilting

OTHER LOCATION OF INSCRIPTION: If you chose Other, please describe where the inscription was found.

Visible at center top on front white ground

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 (as mm-dd-yyyy or c.yyyy, e.g. c.1965). Leave blank if you don't know.

1938

FAMILY/OWNER'S DATE FOR QUILT: If there are family stories that indicate a date when the quilt was made, enter that date (as mm-dd-yyyy or c.yyyy, e.g. c.1965).

1938

OTHER EXTERNAL OR PROFESSIONAL DATE ESTIMATION: If the date was estimated by an antique dealer, quilt historian or appraiser, enter that date (as mm-dd-yyyy or c.yyyy, e.g. c.1965).

1938

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.

Although the McCall pattern on which this quilt is based was published in 1931; the estimated time span for Gasperik's Tree of Life quilts is based on the 1938 date quilted on this Tree of Life quilt.

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. If there is no subject, leave the field blank.

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 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. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

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. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Print; Solid/plain

CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN QUILT TOP: APPLIQUE TECHNIQUES: Choose the applique method used to construct the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. Skip the question if no applique appears on the quilt.

Hand Applique

CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN QUILT TOP: EMBELLISHMENT TECHNIQUES: Choose the embellishment technique used to make the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. If your answer in Field 38f was no, skip this question.

Embroidery

FABRIC FIBER TYPES USED IN QUILT BACK: Choose the fiber type used to make the quilt back. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Cotton

COLOR OF BACKING: Enter all colors that are found in the quilt backing. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Beige or Tan

DESCRIPTION OF BACK: Choose the best description for the back of the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Solid/plain

MATERIALS USED IN QUILT BINDING: Choose the fiber type used to make the quilt binding. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Cotton

CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN BINDING: Choose the construction technique used to make the quilt binding. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Bias grain

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.

Cotton

QUILTING TECHNIQUES USED: Choose the technique that best describes the way the quilt layers are held together. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Hand quilting

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

white

NUMBER OF QUILTING STITCHES PER INCH (PLACE 1): Count only the stitches that are visible on the top and measure in one place on the quilt. Enter the measurement.

12

QUILTING DESIGNS USED: MOTIFS/OVERALL PATTERNS: Choose the overall quilt design found on the quilt top. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. Skip the question if none of the designs appear on the quilt.

Clamshell; Grid diamond; Patches outlined/in the ditch

QUILTING DESIGNS USED: DECORATIVE PATTERNS: Choose the decorative quilt design found on the quilt top. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. Skip the question if none of the designs appear on the quilt.

Floral; Other

QUILTING DESIGNS USED: BACKGROUND FILL PATTERNS: Choose the background quilt design found on the quilt top. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. Skip the question if none of the designs appear on the quilt.

Grid/crosshatch

PLEASE DESCRIBE OTHER QUILTING DESIGNS USED: Describe any quilting designs that appear on the quilt, but were not listed in a previous field.

Embedded in the diamond crosshatching of the center panel are at the top, two quilted leaves which duplicate the appliqued long feathered leaf at the base of the tree, and four quilted birds (spaced widely apart). Two of those birds are quilted versions of the two appliqued birds; the third and fourth birds are slightly different.

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.

Of the three Tree of Life quilts examined, this is the only one with a scalloped border. The bird appliques use only solid colored fabrics. A very broad range of colors, and color gradations, is seen in all three of the surviving Tree of Life quilts.

QUILT TOP MADE BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who made the quilt top. Names must be listed last name first, followed by first name and middle name or initials; last name should be followed by a comma and space.

Gasperik, Mary

QUILTED BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who quilted the top. Names must be listed last name first, followed by first name and middle name or initials; last name should be followed by a comma and space.

Gasperik, Mary

CITY: Enter the name of the city where the quilt was made. Skip the question if you don't know where the quilt was made.

Chicago

COUNTY: Enter the name of the county where the quilt was made. Skip the question if you don't know where the quilt was made.

Cook County

STATE: Enter the name of the state where the quilt was made. Skip the question if you don't know where the quilt was made.

Illinois (IL)

COUNTRY: Enter the name of the country where the quilt was made. Skip the question if you don't know where the quilt was made.

United States

HOW WAS QUILT ACQUIRED BY OWNER: Choose the best description for how the owner acquired the quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one. Skip the question if you don't know how the owner acquired the quilt.

Gift

OCCASION, DATE, PERSON INHERITED FROM, ETC: If the quilt was inherited, enter any information you know about the inheritance. Skip the question if the quilt was not passed on through a family.

Elsie brought this quilt to Linda as a gift from Gasperik 1968-69.

QUILTMAKER'S REASONS FOR MAKING THE QUILT: If the quilt was made for a specific purpose, choose the reason from the list. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Art or personal expression

QUILT WAS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED TO BE USED AS: Not all quilts were made for beds. Choose how the quilt was originally used. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Bedding, special occasion

QUILT IS PRESENTLY USED AS: Choose how the quilt is being used by the present owner. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Keepsake/memento

OTHER PRESENT USE(S) OF QUILT: If you chose Other, please explain the quilt's present use.

Mary's grandchildren regard her quilts as a unique collection to be preserved and appreciated.

SOURCE OF QUILT'S MATERIALS: Choose how the quilt maker acquired the fabric for this quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Purchased new

QUILT TOP PATTERN SOURCE: Choose where the quilt maker found the pattern for this quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

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 family stories it was Elsie who persuaded her mother to quilt some of the birds, rather than execute all of them in colorful applique. Elsie had a rather austere quilt aesthetic. Her mother, on the other hand, was probably well aware of the richly colorful (and crowded) Tree of Life designs being copied from museum wall hangings, designs which were winning quilters' attention (and prizes). Gasperik herself would have preferred to have more appliqued birds, not fewer.

There is also a different perspective from which to view Gasperik’s quilted birds. Gasperik’s granddaughter Susan Salser, who began researching her grandmother’s quilts in 1992, discovered that Mary Gasperik was an enthusiastic and devoted participant in the annual quilt shows and contests held in Detroit Michigan sponsored by The Detroit News. Gasperik first discovered the Detroit quilt phenomenon in the fall of 1935, picking up a discarded Detroit News at a World Series baseball game at Wrigley Field. Mary, who had probably been engaged in quilt-making for only 2 years at that point, immediately sent some of her quilts to Detroit, to enter into the show. Several weeks later she got on the bus and went to see her first Detroit News quilt show and contest. This particular show featured three quilts sent by an Angola, Indiana quilter named Ada Chilton, quilts that were eagerly anticipated and admired by the crowds attending this 3rd such Detroit News national quilt show. Mrs. Chilton had contributed a quilt to the previous year’s show (1934), an appliqué quilt, called “the birds quilt” by the Detroit News quilt club and shows editor, Edith B. Crumb. Club members had found that quilt so remarkable that they asked Mrs. Chilton to send it to the next show, 1935. So, in 1935 (the year year Mary Gasperik first went to a Detroit News quilt show) Ada Chilton not only exhibited “the birds quilt” again, she also sent her latest two quilts, one of which featured flowers and accurately rendered butterflies, and the other of which featured fish and sailboats. Chilton was an enthusiastic bird and butterfly watcher. She was an outdoorswoman. She loved to fish. She loved reading books by Indiana’s popular writer and amateur naturalist Gene Stratton-Porter. Those three quilts were unique expressions of Mrs. Chilton‘s passions; they were creatively original and extremely expertly made. The crowd admired them greatly. Gasperik was in that crowd. In her quilt column of October 24, 1935, soon after that 1935 Detroit quilt show and contest, Edith Crumb presented, in her Detroit News column, a black and white photograph of Chilton’s fishes quilt along with a rhapsodic description of it. This description includes the following: “The border of this quilt is formed of sail boats; and between each group of fish there is a small sailboat created by quilting rather than piecework or appliqué.” Gasperik, who was beginning a life-time of quilt-making and was eager to learn what was admired, eager to gather ideas for her own use, must have spent some time in that crowd admiring Chilton’s quilts, listening to the comments and observing details of those quilts. Her decision to quilt rather than appliqué some of the birds onto her Tree of Life quilts may have been influenced by this experience at her first Detroit quilt show. She attended all subsequent shows, corresponded with Detroit News Quilt Club Corner members and its editor, Edith Crumb up until the club and shows ceased, in January 1942. As late as 1957, when she made a quilt for her first great-grandchild, Andy Finn (the family called this quilt What Are Little Boys Made Of? #058) she was careful to quilt, rather than appliqué or embroider, the fish in the water in her design. This is a wonderful example of how family stories can mesh with quilt research – how they can reinforce each other.

EXHIBITIONS (LIST ALL): List all known exhibits where this quilt has been displayed including: Title, Location, Dates, Venue of Exhibit and Catalog Title or publications, if applicable. Use this field for all information.

The Quilts of Mary Gasperik, Ravenswood Historic Site, Livermore, CA, March 14-15, 1992.

It is likely this quilt was sent both to Detroit and to Springfield.

CONTESTS ENTERED (LIST ALL): List contest entered including: Contest Name, Location, Dates, Awards or Prizes, and Contest Catalog or Publications, if applicable. Use this field for all contests.

A handwritten yellow paper exhibit tag (most likely from a Tuley Park quilt show) reads: "Tree of Life First Prize (most artistic) in Springfield in 1942 Second Prize in Detroit in 1940 Mrs. Mary Gasperik" an added note in Elsie's handwriting reads "to ECK to Linda". This would mean that a Gasperik Tree of Life won second prize to the grand-prize-winning quilt in Detroit that year which was also a Tree of Life design (made by Mrs. Charles Voelker).

A second yellow paper tag reads "Tree of Life First Prize - Most Artistic 1942 Springfield Made by Mrs. Gasparik" [sic]. An annotation in Elsie's handwriting reads "To ECK to Karen". A Detroit News article from the May 25, 1940, p. 4, quilt show confirms that Gasperik won a second prize, but does not describe or name that winning quilt.

OTHER RELATED ITEMS SUCH AS IMAGE, ORAL HISTORY, OR EPHEMERA: Use this box to list other materials that exist about this quilt. This may include oral history, articles, additional photos or publications, etc.

Pattern envelope (including contents with yarn color chart) McCall #1853 Crewel Tree of Life - Susan Salser private collection.

The family has Gasperik's own copy of the McCall Kaumagraph #1853 pattern (printed in black and white).

Letter from Gasperik's niece Vilma McClure to Susan Salser, dated Jan. 9, 1994 refers to the Gasperik Tree of Life quilts (she calls the design "the family tree quilt"): "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."

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: Choose whether the quilt is owned by a person (private) or a museum or public collection.

Private

NAME OF QUILT OWNER: Add name of Quilt Owner if public other.

Linda Krueger MacLachlan

QUILT OWNER COUNTRY: Country of current quilt owner

United States

AUTHOR/INTERVIEWEE: The person who brought the quilt for documentation is the source. Enter his/her name here.

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: If you chose other, please describe how the quilt maker participated in the design.

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: Enter the maiden name of the quilt maker.

Mihalovits, Maria

GENDER: Choose the gender of the quilt maker(s). Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Female

BIRTH DATE: Enter the birth date of the quilt maker (as mm-dd-yyyy or c.yyyy, e.g. c.1965).

01/25/1888

DEATH DATE, IF APPLICABLE: Enter the date of death of the quilt maker (if applicable, as mm-dd-yyyy or c.yyyy, e.g. c.1965).

05/25/1969

QUILTMAKER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND/TRIBAL AFFILIATION: Enter the ethnic background or tribal affiliation of the quilt maker.

Hungarian

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND: Enter the last level of education completed by the quilt maker.

Elementary School

QUILT MAKER'S COUNTRY OF BIRTH: Select the quilt maker's country of birth, if known.

Hungary

IN WHICH KIND OF ENVIRONMENT DID THE QUILTMAKER GROW UP: Choose the kind of environment the quilt maker(s) are from. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Rural

COUNTY: Enter the county where the quilt maker lives/lived.

Cook

CITY: Enter the city where the quilt maker lives/lived.

Chicago

STATE: Enter the state where the quilt maker lives/lived.

Illinois (IL)

COUNTRY: Enter the country where the quilt maker lives/lived.

United States

FATHER'S NAME: Enter the name of the quilt maker's father.

Mihalovits, Istvan

FATHER'S BIRTHPLACE: Enter the birthplace of the quilt maker's father.

Hungary

FATHER'S ETHNIC/TRIBAL BACKGROUND: Enter the ethnic background or tribal background of the quilt maker's father.

Hungarian

MOTHER'S NAME: Enter the name of the quilt maker's mother.

Mihalovits, Vidoszava

MOTHER'S BIRTHPLACE: Enter the birthplace of the quilt maker's mother.

Hungary

MOTHER'S ETHNIC/TRIBAL BACKGROUND: Enter the ethnic background or tribal background of the quilt maker's mother.

Hungarian

SPOUSE'S/SPOUSES' ETHNIC/TRIBAL BACKGROUND(S): Enter the ethnic background or tribal background of the quilt maker's spouse.

Hungarian

SPOUSE'S/SPOUSES' OCCUPATION(S): Enter the occupation of the quilt maker's spouse.

Milk Dealer/Grocery Store Owner/Butcher

NUMBER OF CHILDREN: Enter the number of children of the quilt maker.

3

NUMBER OF FEMALE CHILDREN: Enter the number of daughters of the quilt maker.

1 (Elsie 1909-1988)

NUMBER OF MALE CHILDREN: Enter the number of sons of the quilt maker.

2 (Elmer and Stephen)

HOW DID THE QUILTMAKER LEARN TO QUILT: Choose the way(s) the quilt maker learned to quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

From guild or club member; Self-Taught

WHEN LEARNED TO QUILT (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY): Choose the age when the quilt maker learned to quilt. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Age 40-49

WHY DOES/DID THE QUILTMAKER QUILT: Choose the best explanation(s) for why the quilt maker makes quilts. Use ctrl + click to choose more than one.

Pleasure; Other

OTHER, WHY THE QUILTMAKER QUILTS: If you chose Other, explain the why the quilt maker quilts.

To make her Tree of Life quilts (#031, #044, #065, #082 and #083) Gasperik transformed a McCall Kaumagraph #1853 crewel work pattern into an applique quilt pattern. This required considerable skill, judgment, and allowed the maker full choice of fabrics and colors. Like the Indiana Wreath quilts (#011, #032, #043, #063), the Tree of Life quilts constitute a series of quilt studies based on a very specific design. Mary Gasperik made quilts 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 belongs to a group, enter the name of the group.

Tuley Park Quilt Club and Detroit News Quilt Club Corner

LOCATION OF GROUP: Enter where the group meets. Include the name of the building, city, county, and state.

Southside Chicago and Detroit MI

SPECIALIZED ACTIVITIES/EVENTS OF QUILTING GROUP: Enter activities the group participates 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: Choose the number that approximates how many quilts the quilt maker has made.

more than 50

DOES/DID QUILTMAKER SELL QUILTS: Has the quilt maker ever sold a quilt or sold quilting services?

no

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

no

PHOTO CREDIT: Credit for photographer.

Don Gonzalez

ACCESS AND COPYRIGHT INFORMATION FOR IMAGE: Choose whether this TIF is available to use other than in this database.

Restricted

FOR HOLDER OF COPYRIGHT, CONTACT: Enter the name of the person or institution that owns the copyright to the image.

Hank Finn

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