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Laurel Wreath; Laurel Wreath
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This Gasperik quilt, bearing the year 1935 in its quilting, differs from the original Nancy Page Quilt Club series quilt designed by Florence LaGanke which inspired it. In 1934-1935, the Laurel Wreath series appeared in newspapers nationwide, including in Chicago and Detroit. Twelve of the 15 wreath blocks use Nancy Page flower and bird patterns. Gasperik elaborated on the Page bird patterns, incorporating a wider variety of fabrics and shapes than the commercial pattern specified. The 15 blocks which do not have the iconic Page wreath use floral patterns from outside sources. Three are from Nancy Cabot/Chicago Tribune. One is from the Priscilla Patchwork Book, and Gasperik adapted one from a quilting pattern from Home Art Studios. The remaining four bird and flower patterns are from as-yet-unidentified non-Page sources.
Gasperik used the laurel leaf motif to create a blouse for her daughter-in-law Doris.
Mary Gasperik attended her first Detroit quilt show in October 1935, after learning of the existence of the Quilt Club Corner and the annual Detroit quilt show when she picked up a discarded Detroit newspaper at a Tigers vs.Cubs World Series baseball game played at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. She had begun to make quilts after seeing the Sears Quilt Contest prizewinners hanging at the Century of Progress World’s Fair, and encountering the resurgent popularity of quilt-making in the numerous and colorful women’s magazines of this period. The Detroit News she saw at the ballpark carried a quilt column by Edith B. Crumb, who was creator and sponsor of The Detroit News Quilt Club Corner, a popular group which had an enthusiastic following not just in Detroit but throughout Michigan and in many other states. Crumb wrote the regular column about interior decorating, and she also wrote a regular column about quilts and the quilt club, which she had created in 1932.
The upcoming quilt show which Mary Gasperik read about was to be the third Detroit News Quilt Show. Its first two such shows had been great successes. In the newspaper of November 20, 1933 (page 4, by-line Esther Beck McIntyre) the success of the quilt club and first show were described as follows: “In little more than a year, the Quilt Club Corner, under the direction of Miss Edith Crumb, Beauty in the Home editor, has grown to astonishing proportion. Its members live in New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. There were quilts in the brilliant array filling 70 great racks, sent from as far as Waco, Texas, and Albany, N.Y. Running an eye along that vast exhibit, which closed Sunday night after at least 50,000 visitors had viewed it, a person knew that women whose hearts were in their homes had achieved the beauty and art stitched into a thousand lovely designs…”
By the time of the second show, in October 1934, there was a regular radio Quilt Club Corner broadcast on News station WWJ. Again the newspaper reported an attendance of 50,000 visitors to the 3-day event. A map showing members in 29 states illustrated how far flung its membership had grown. The third quilt show was scheduled for October 18-20, 1935, just weeks after the aforementioned World Series baseball game. The timing of this meeting of Mary Gasperik and the Detroit News quilt club could not have been better. Gasperik had already discovered her passion for making quilts. Her earliest quilts were ready to send and she was eager to take the Saturday bus from Chicago to Detroit on October 19 and see for herself what other quilters were making. Detroit had already positioned itself as sponsor of a major quilt show with ambitions to become the biggest national quilt show.
What Mary Gasperik saw and learned at this third show is very relevant to her development as a quilter. The September and October 1935 Detroit News quilt columns yield information which is relevant to the Gasperik Laurel Wreath quilt in particular. Edith Crumb, the Detroit quilt club and quilt show director, wrote in her column of September 26, 1935 (p 37, The Detroit News) that quilts made in the Laurel Wreath pattern were going to appear in the upcoming show. The ‘star’ of the 1935 show turned out to be an Indiana quilter named Ada Chilton. Mrs. Chilton had exhibited, in the 1934 Detroit show, an applique quilt which she called Cherokee Rose and Feathered Friends and which Detroiters referred to as “the bird quilt”. This unusually finely made and original quilt was so popular in 1934 that there were requests (printed in Edith Crumb quilt columns and letters to the quilt club) that it reappear at the 1935 show. I found some closeup photographs of Chilton's "bird quilt" February 13, 2013, on the website database p4A Antiques. This quilt was auctioned (Garth's Auctions) on January 6, 2005 for $6555. The photographs show an extremely detailed, original and exquisitely made quilt. Chilton's 'birds' quilt was the ideal model for Gasperik to contemplate at her first big quilt show in Detroit. Although the Tuley Park quilting club was undoubtedly enormously helpful to Gasperik, being able to see such an outstanding example of quiltmaking in Detroit provided something for Gasperik that Tuley Park could not. Mrs. Chilton sent three quilts to the 1935 show and the 'birds' quilt was one of them. Ada Chilton discussed her birds quilt design in a letter to Edith Crumb which was excerpted in a quilt column published after its first appearance in Detroit (The Detroit News, November 9, 1934, p. 36). Mrs. Chilton mentioned her unique design sources (“I depended mainly for bird references upon Gene Stratton Porter’s bird books and National Geographic magazines.”) and recalled working very hard to collect the variety of different fabrics which would meet numerous and specific needs (“The greatest difficulty I had was in finding materials to represent the various birds.”).
When Chilton’s 'birds' quilt hung at the 1935 show Gasperik would have seen it, read about it in the newspaper she picked up at the show and heard people talking about it. The quilt had created a stir once again. According to the Detroit News (Sunday October 20, 1935, the day Gasperik arrived at the show) : “And as for unusual quilts, probably none is more outstanding than that entered by Mrs. Ada Chilton, of Angola, Ind. Not being made from a News pattern, it was not eligible for a cash prize, but it does bear honorable mention, and is a widely discussed quilt. It is fashioned on a gray background and has a large design of Cherokee roses and birds in their natural colorings.” In her column of November 24 (Detroit News, October 24, 1935, page 37), after the third quilt show closed, Edith Crumb again addressed the popularity of Ada Chilton’s quilts as follows: “Last year Mrs. Ada B. Chilton, 415 W. Gilmore street, Angola, Ind. sent a bird quilt to the Detroit News quilt show. And because it created so much interest and there were so many requests to have it to the show again this year, Mrs. Chilton was kind enough to send it to us. With the bird quilt she sent one with flowers and butterflies on it and also a fish quilt, which is shown in the accompanying illustration. Some time ago the flower and butterfly quilt was shown in this column. All three of the quilts were hung on the same rack at the show and there was usually a crowd about them, for they all proved to be very interesting.” [Note: William George Chilton was Ada's second husband. He died in 1935 as reported by Edith Crumb in August 1935. She married Hugh W. Johnson in 1943. When she turned 100 in an Angola nursing home, in 1981, the local newspaper published her photo and gave her name as Ada Kuhn Johnson. Possibly it is under this name - and not Ada Chilton - that she disposed of her quilts. In her September 29, 1938 Detroit News quilt column Edith Crumb wrote that Ada planned to send 5 quilts (including the birds quilt) to the upcoming October 1938 quilt show in Detroit. There is no indication in reporting at the time of the show that these quilts were actually exhibited there. One quilt, the famous birds quilt, was auctioned in January 2006, but it is not known who purchased it. Salser has been unable to locate any of the other quilts made and signed by Ada Chilton.]
Mary Gasperik was among those admirers of Ada Chilton's birds quilt. When she returned to Chicago on Sunday to work on her Laurel Wreath quilt she probably remembered the importance of detail and fabric selection to the success of the Chilton quilt’s birds. That is probably why the Gasperik birds, in particular, are such elaborate transformations of the birds in the published Laurel Wreath patterns Mary used. She must have noted the importance of using a Detroit News pattern if a quilter wished to win prize money or even sell a quilt or top at the show. [These requirements are mentioned in the October 16, 1935 newspaper (p. 28).] Gasperik’s Laurel Wreath meets both the challenge of creating unusually detailed appliqué birds (presented by the popularity of Ada Chilton’s quilt) and the desire to be able to compete for prize money by using a Detroit News pattern.
Laurel Wreath was a Nancy Page pattern which was also offered by The Detroit News. At this particular time (1935) The Detroit News offered a number of Nancy Page patterns (although they are not attributed to Page). The design of the appliqué quilt which won top prize at this, Gasperik’s first, Detroit quilt show is not named in the newspaper, although it must have used a Detroit News pattern. The $50 first prize-winning appliqué quilt was made by Mrs. George McIntyre. According to the paper “Mrs. McIntyre’s prize-winning entry kept her busy from 6 to 15 hours a day for four months. It contains 1010 pieces. Mrs. McIntyre is used to winning prizes, having taken five in one year, all for quilts displayed at The News shows and at the State Fair. She has three other ribbons at the present show.” (The Detroit News October 19,1935, p4). Ada Chilton had, in her 1934 letter to Edith Crumb, mentioned that she used all her spare time over a 14-month period to make the bird quilt. This description very much captures the quilt work-style Mary Gasperik adopted and practiced for many years. She worked very intensely, but at the same time very carefully; and she wanted her quilts to be displayed and compete for prizes. The Chilton birds quilt inspired other quilters. A 1936 letter to the Quilt Club Corner from Mrs. Marie Ransom reads: “Dear Miss Crumb: Today I received a card from Mrs. Chilton and last week I heard from some Quilt Club Corner members. I have been drawing pictures of birds ever since last fall and now that I have the picture of Mrs. Chilton’s bird quilt I will start making it. Two quilt-makers sent me the picture and as soon as I finish my quilt I will return them with a thousand thanks.” (The Detroit News March 7, 1936, p. 12). It is not clear if Gasperik would have seen the Chilton bird quilt again, at the 1938 Detroit News quilt show. In her pre-show column of September 29, 1938 (p 27) Edith Crumb wrote: “Mrs. Ada B. Chilton, 415 West Gilmore street, Angola, Ind., has also written to say she is going to send her Bird quilt and four others to the exhibit. So many have asked to see the Bird quilt again that we are happy to know she will send it. She also intends to come to the show.”
Birds, both appliquéd and quilted, are featured on a number of Gasperik quilts made years after she first saw the spectacular Chilton birds quilt at the Detroit News quilt show on October 19, 1935. As mentioned above, there is no indication in descriptions published at the time of the 1938 Detroit News quilt show that Chilton quilts were displayed there. Perhaps Ada ended up deciding not to send or bring them. For sure Gasperik would have seen 'the birds quilt' in October 1935. Gasperik most likely got the Nancy Page Laurel Wreath series of patterns from her local Sunday paper. The Sunday Times, Chicago newspaper began publishing them in the last part of December 1934 and the patterns ran weekly through the end of June 1935. Salser speculates that her grandmother began working on Laurel Wreath very early in 1935 and that the quilt top was not yet finished at the time Gasperik attended the October 1935 Detroit Quilt Show. She further speculates that Gasperik’s transformations of the Page pattern were, at least in part, inspired by the quilts she saw and talk she heard at that quilt show. Her quilt is dated 1935, but at this point in her quilting career she was working at a furious pace, sometimes completing 5 (competition quality) quilts in a single year. It is not at all inconceivable (to Salser) that her grandmother could complete by the end of 1935 a quilt whose design was influenced by the mid-October Detroit Quilt Show. It is remarkable that even at this early stage in her quilting career, she was confident in her ability to make substitutions in applique and to rearrange the layout of a complex pattern that most quilters would have followed precisely or not attempted.
The Nancy Page Quilt Club Laurel Wreath was offered, by a number of different newspapers in 1934-1935, as a series of 28 separate patterns published consecutively (usually one a week). Twenty five of these were appliqué block designs for making unique flowers and birds. The main body of the Page design called for 5 rows of 5 columns (25 different blocks). The separated row of blocks covering the pillow area was comprised of repetitions of the maker’s personal selections from those 25 patterns. Three separate wreath patterns were provided for making leaf arrangements: two (published at the start of the series) for making the upper and lower halves of the branches comprising the laurel wreaths, and one, the final pattern of the series, for making the small sprig of leaves to be appliquéd inside each border scallop.
At first glance, the Laurel Wreath quilt made by Mary Gasperik might simply be described as a rendition of the Nancy Page pattern…. end of story. The reality is more complicated. Of the 25 different bird and flower blocks in the Page patterns Gasperik used only 12. Only half of her bird and flower blocks include the iconic laurel wreaths themselves. The other 15 blocks feature appliqué flowers whose patterns are not Nancy Page patterns, and they are not enclosed by Nancy Page laurel branches. It could be argued that the Gasperik quilt is as much a Gasperik quilt as it is a Nancy Page quilt, although her intent was clearly to make an original restatement of the popular (but difficult) Page design. What follows is an enumeration of the twelve Nancy Page Laurel Wreath flower and bird patterns Gasperik used, including the date that pattern appeared in Gasperik’s Chicago Sunday Times newspaper (where Susan Salser has original newspaper clippings bearing that information).
‘Evening Primrose’, Nancy Page block 1, appears in Row 3 Column 5 on the Gasperik quilt.
‘Florida Jay’, Nancy Page block 2, appears in Row 4 Column 4 on the Gasperik quilt.
‘False Jessamine’, Nancy Page block 3, appears in Row 1 Column 5 on the Gasperik quilt.
‘Bloodroot’, Nancy Page block 4, appears in Row 3 Column 1 on the Gasperik quilt and was published in the Sunday Times, Chicago on January 13, 1935.
‘Daffodil’, Nancy Page block 5, appears in Row 1 Column 1 on the Gasperik quilt and was published in the Sunday Times, Chicago on January 20, 1935.
‘Hooded Warbler’ Nancy Page block 9, appears in Row 4 Column 2 on the Gasperik quilt and was published by the Sunday Times, Chicago on February 17, 1935.
‘Daisy’, Nancy Page block 10, appears in Row 6 Column 4 on the Gasperik quilt and was published by the Sunday Times, Chicago on February 24, 1935.
‘Morning Glory’, Nancy Page block 11 appears in Row 2 Column 2 on the Gasperik quilt and was published in the Sunday Times, Chicago on March 3, 1935.
‘Tulip’, Nancy Page block 12, appears in Row 3 Column 1 on the Gasperik quilt and was published March 10, 1935 by the Sunday Times, Chicago.
‘Cedar Waxwing’, Nancy Page block 16, appears in Row 5 Column 1 on the Gasperik quilt and was published in the Sunday Times, Chicago on April 7, 1935.
‘Tea Rose’, Nancy Page block 20, appears in Row 6 Column 2 on the Gasperik quilt. ‘Hermit Thrush’, Nancy Page block 25, appears in Row 5 Column 5 on the Gasperik quilt.
Of the 21 different block patterns Gasperik used to make her 30-block quilt, 12 (as described above) came from the Nancy Page pattern series. Gasperik gathered her nine remaining patterns from outside sources. Three of them came from Nancy Cabot/The Chicago Tribune:
1) ‘Rose Beauty’, Brackman #37.264 appears, in appliqué form, in Row 2 Column 3, Row 4 Column 4, Row 5 Column 2 and Row 6 Column 1 on the Gasperik quilt. It also appears, in quilted form, embedded 14 times around the inner border of the Gasperik quilt.
2) ‘Blue Bells’, Brackman #32.81, appears in Row 1 Column 3 and Row 5 Column 3 on the Gasperik quilt.
3) ‘Water Lily’, Brackman #37.33, appears in Row 6 Column 5 of the Gasperik quilt, where the maker boldly eliminated the lower third of the Cabot pattern.
One of the non-Page patterns came from the Priscilla Patchwork Book. It is called 'Fuchsia Design' No. 19-2-46. The full size pattern is printed on the inside cover of this quilt catalog. A photograph of an appliquéd Fuchsia block appears on page 14. Her grandchildren have Gasperik’s own copy of this quilt catalog classic. 'Fuchsia' appears in Row 4 Column 1 and in Row 4 Column 5 of the Gasperik quilt.
Gasperik arrived at the pattern for making her two blocks showing a pink/yellow double rose more creatively. It is an adaptation of a quilting pattern from Hubert Ver Mehren/Home Art Studios. The pattern is #532Q (on page 27 of the catalog called Colonial Quilts) andpattern #5321-Q (on page 27 of Hope Winslow’s Quilt Book). This same design was reproduced (as #532Q) on page 45 of the Alice Beyer Quilting manual used by Chicago’s Park District quilt clubs. Gasperik’s own club, the Tuley Park quilters, is mentioned in the book.
The remaining four non-Page patterns used by Gasperik came from as-yet-unidentified sources. These four are the scarlet tanager in the center of the quilt, the carnations, and two separate poppies patterns. The flowers are more complicated than the usual 1930s flower-quilt patterns.
Mary collected widely and combined freely from different embroidery and quilting sources. Susan remembers she appliqued tiny pots of flowers on linen handkerchiefs with crocheted edging. She made dresses for her grand-daughters on which she appliqued designs from quilt patterns. Laurel Wreath, which was made when Gasperik was at the beginning of her quilting career, demonstrates how quickly, skillfully and creatively Gasperik became a master quilter.
Additional comments on detail images:
Florida Jay: Here is the opening paragraph of Block #2 Florida Jay. "The second wreath is ready to be filled with a most ornamental bird. The members of the Nancy Page quilt club squealed in their delight at the design. 'Really, Nancy, you do design the perkiest birds. They are always so fat and plump and saucy. I do hope you are going to have more birds in this quilt top.'" " 'Indeed I have. If you like this one I think you will adore some of the others . . . it is most fun to select the birds,' replied Nancy." The blocks for this series quilt appeared about once a week. The text that accompanied each block served as an imaginary quilting club. The dialogue between Nancy Page and the club members was full of friendly advice and encouragement. She mentioned how to trace the pattern, what fabrics to use, and suggested embroidered and applique highlights.
This center panel includes the Nancy Page bird and floral appliques Gasperik chose to use, as well as the floral appliques from other sources which she inserted.
Florida Jay was Block #2 in the Nancy Page "Laurel Wreath" series. Gasperik made the eye more realistic than the pattern design. She also decided against the yellow checked fabric suggested by Nancy Page.
Hooded Warbler is Block 9 in the Laurel Wreath Quilt Series, but Gasperik has added important details to the published design: a stripe to the top of the head, details around the eye, and lines to the wing and tail.
Cedar Waxwing is Block #16 in the Nancy Page "Laurel Wreath" Quilt series. Here's an excerpt of the instructional dialogue for this block: "This bird is brown in color, has a showy crest and red wax-like tips to his wings. "I suggest that you make the tips of the wings--that part that extends out into a point--in red. But in that case, use red for the beak and for the legs as well. And embroider the eye in fast color red cotton." Mary Gasperik followed the suggestions precisely.
Hermit Thrush was Block 25, the final block in the series "Laurel Wreath" Quilt designed by Florence LaGanke for the nationally syndicated Nancy Page Quilt Club newspaper column.
This applique Scarlet Tanager was not included in the Nancy Page Laurel Wreath Quilt series.
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.
QUILT'S TITLE, IF IT HAS ONE: Many quilts have no title, but contemporary quilters often give a name to their quilts.
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.
BRACKMAN NUMBER: If you have used Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Patterns or Applique to identify the pattern, enter the number assigned by Brackman here.
OVERALL WIDTH: Enter how wide the quilt is.
OVERALL LENGTH: Enter how long the quilt is.
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; Green; Red
OVERALL COLOR SCHEME: Choose the best color scheme description for the quilt being documented.
Bright or primary colors
OVERALL CONDITION: Choose the best description for the quilt being documented.
TYPE(S) OF INSCRIPTION: Choose all the options that are found on the quilt.
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.
METHOD OF INSCRIPTION: Choose the method used to inscribe the quilt.
In the quilting; Other
OTHER METHOD OF INSCRIPTION: If you chose Other, please describe the method used to inscribe the quilt.
Cloth exhibit tag sewn to back reads "Mary Gasperik 9314 Cottage Grove Chicago, ILL"
LOCATION OF INSCRIPTION: Enter where the inscription was found on the quilt.
OTHER LOCATION OF INSCRIPTION: If you chose Other, please describe where the inscription was found.
1935 quilted into the top center 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.
DATE BEGUN: Enter the date the quilt was started.
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.
OTHER EXTERNAL OR PROFESSIONAL DATE ESTIMATION: If the date was estimated by an antique dealer, quilt historian or appraiser, enter that date.
OTHER DATE ESTIMATION BY WHOM: Enter the name and/or title of the person who estimated the quilt's date for field 23d.
FURTHER INFORMATION CONCERNING DATE(S): If you know anything else about the date the quilt was made, please tell the story.
Laurel Wreath Quilt, Nancy Page Quilt Club (by Florence LaGanke), Publishers Syndicate Copyright 1934.
LAYOUT FORMAT: Choose the best description for the layout (or set) of the quilt.
NUMBER OF QUILT BLOCKS: This field only applies to quilts with a block format. Some blocks are harder to count than others (e.g. Storms at Sea, Double Wedding Ring). If needed, describe how the blocks were counted or if there are half blocks/corner blocks
ARRANGEMENT OF QUILT BLOCKS: BLOCK ORIENTATION: This field only applies to quilts with a block format. Choose the best description for how the quilt blocks appear in the quilt.
OTHER SPACING: If none of the options in Field 29 describe the quilt, explain the quilt setting here. May relate to Fields 26 & 27, if the blocks sizes are not the same throughout the quilt.
Technically, these are NOT blocks. Mary appliqued the pattern units onto horizontal strips which she joined together for the center ground of the quilt.
NUMBER OF DIFFERENT BLOCK PATTERNS PRESENT: Enter the number of different block patterns used in the quilt.
BLOCK STYLE: Some patterns use the same shape template throughout the quilt (i.e. Charm quilts, Grandmother Flower Garden, Brick wall, Lone Star). If this applies to your quilt, choose the best description.
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.
Applique border of crossed laurel branches executed in same 2 shades of green as interior laurel wreaths.
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.
CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN QUILT TOP: APPLIQUE TECHNIQUES: Choose the applique method used to construct the quilt.
CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN QUILT TOP: EMBELLISHMENT TECHNIQUES: Choose the embellishment technique used to make the quilt.
CONTAINS PAPER REMAINS: This field is for quilts that have been either string pieced on a paper foundation or English template pieced. Choose yes if you can feel or see paper on the quilt that was used as a construction aid.
EMBELLISHMENT MATERIALS USED IN TOP: Choose the embellishment material used to make the quilt.
UNIQUE EMBELLISHMENTS: Enter any embellishment materials that don't appear in a previous field.
Wreaths are excluded from 15 of the Page pattern's 30 wreath blocks and none of these 15 utilize the Nancy Page applique flower patterns. The scarlet tanager in the center of the quilt is not part of the Page pattern.
FABRIC FIBER TYPES USED IN QUILT BACK: Choose the fiber type used to make the quilt back.
DESCRIPTION OF BACK: Choose the best description for the back of the quilt.
Same fabric used throughout; Solid/plain
MATERIALS USED IN QUILT BINDING: Choose the fiber type used to make the quilt binding.
FABRIC STRUCTURE USED IN BINDING: Choose the fabric structure used to make the quilt binding.
CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES USED IN BINDING: Choose the construction technique used to make the quilt binding.
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.
QUILTING TECHNIQUES USED: Choose the technique that best describes the way the quilt layers are held together.
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.
Single parallel lines
QUILTING DESIGNS USED: DECORATIVE PATTERNS: Choose the decorative quilt design found on the quilt top.
QUILTING DESIGNS USED: BACKGROUND FILL PATTERNS: Choose the background quilt design found on the quilt top.
Grid/crosshatch; Parallel lines
PLEASE DESCRIBE OTHER QUILTING DESIGNS USED: Describe any other quilting designs that appear on the quilt.
Rose and fern quiltING designs alternate in borders.
QUILT TOP MADE BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who made the quilt top.
QUILTED BY: Enter the name of the person(s) who quilted the top.
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.
COUNTRY: Enter the name of the country where the quilt was made.
HOW WAS QUILT ACQUIRED BY OWNER: Choose the best description for how the owner acquired the quilt.
DETAILS ON HOW THE QUILT WAS ACQUIRED:
Karen Krueger Finn received the quilt from her mother Elsie in the mid-1960s.
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.
The quilt owner believes a second Gasperik "Laurel Wreath" quilt existed, but has disappeared.
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
QUILT WAS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED TO BE USED AS: Choose how the quilt was originally used.
QUILT IS PRESENTLY USED AS: Choose how the quilt is being used by the present owner.
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.
QUILT TOP PATTERN SOURCE: Choose where the quilt maker found the pattern for this quilt.
Commercial/Published source: Newspaper
OTHER TOP PATTERN SOURCE(S): If you chose Other, please explain where the pattern was found.
Nancy Cabot (Chicago Tribune) and Priscilla Patchwork Book No. 1, (1920)
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.
Nancy Page Quilt Club Laurel Wreath series designed by Florence LaGanke, Copyright 1934 Publishers Syndicate.
QUILTING DESIGN PATTERN SOURCE: Choose where the quilt maker found the pattern for the quilting design used in this quilt.
COMMERCIAL QUILTING DESIGN SOURCE NAME: If you know the commercial name of the quilting design used for this quilt, please enter it. This may include books, magazines, newsletters, pattern companies, etc.
Fern Design #C5573 Aunt Martha's Answer to 'How Shall I Quilt It?'
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.
The Nancy Page series called for 25 different flower and bird block appliques. Gasperik used only eight flowers and four birds from the Nancy Page series. She substituted flower designs from Nancy Cabot (Chicago Tribune) and a block from The Priscilla Patchwork Book she owned.
EXHIBITIONS: List all known exhibits where this quilt has been displayed.
Tuley Park quilt show, Tuley Park, Chicago, October 30, 1936.
The Quilts of Mary Gasperik, Ravenswood Historic Site, Livermore, CA, March 14-15, 1992.
The 8th Annual Quilters' Heritage Celebration, Patchwork Pride, Lancaster Conference Center, Lancaster, PA, April 6-9, 1995.
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.
Possibly entered in The Detroit News Quilt Contest April 16-18, 1937.
According to a 1938 The Detroit News article about the previous year's show, Gasperik received four Honorable Mention ribbons for her quilts. It is likely at least one went to this quilt.
A family photograph shows this quilt with two ribbons affixed on either side. They look like Detroit News quilt show ribbons.
OTHER RELATED ITEMS: List other materials that exist about this quilt like oral histories, wills, diaries, or patterns.
Nancy Page Laurel Wreath Quilt by Florence LaGanke - Set of newspaper clippings, Publishers Syndicate, 1934. (Collection of Merikay Waldvogel)
Folder of Laurel Wreath patterns, some are the original clippings from the Sunday Times, Chicago, purchased by Susan Salser from Frances A. Froman, June 2009. Susan Salser private collection.
Priscilla Patchwork Book No 1 published by The Priscilla Publishing Company (no date). Mary Gasperik's own copy, in Gasperik archive, in care of granddaughter Karen Finn. It should be noted that this booklet provides pattern outlines for making many different kinds of flowers, flower petals and leaves. This booklet alone could provide pattern elements for designing and constructing a myriad of different applique quilts. It is a small classic catalog of applique pattern elements.
Hope Winslow's Quilt Book, 1933, H. Ver Mehren, Des Moines, Iowa.
Colonial Quilts, 1933, H. Ver Mehren, Des Moines, Iowa.
Quilting, Leisure Hobby Series, Alice Beyer, Instructor in Artcraft, Recreation Department, South Park Commissioners. Chicago, 1934. Reprinted 1978 by East Bay Heritage Quilters, Box 6223, Albany,CA 94706.
The Detroit News, September 26, 1935, p. 37 quilt club column by Edith B. Crumb reply to letter from Mrs. Susie Spaulding, 202 Cook Court, Durand Michigan: "The Laurel Wreath which you intend to make is a very lovely one. When you see quilts made from this pattern at the show, I know you will be glad you decided to make it.
The Detroit News, December 31, 1935, p18 response of Edith B. Crumb to a letter from Mrs. Harvey Alband requesting the Nosegay pattern: "I am sorry to tell you, Mrs. Alband, that the Nosegay quilt patterns have been discontinued. The only series now available is the Laurel Wreath, which is very attractive. I will send you a list of leaflets which are distributed by the Women's department so that you may see what quilt patterns we have on hand. We charge nothing for the patterns - just postage."
Typed letter dated November 16, 1938, from Edith B. Crumb to Mary Gasperik reading "Thank you so much for your letter telling me that the quilts were received in good condition. I think you will enjoy making the Rose Medallion quilt and also the Friday Afternoon quilt pattern, and I will be anxious to see them in the next quilt show. Of course, I will be interested in seeing your original design also. I am sorry that I do not have the Laurel Wreath quilt pattern, but I will put a little request in the paper and perhaps someone will be kind enough to loan it to Mrs. Reynolds."
At the 1938 quilt show Gasperik won the $25 first prize for a quilt using a Detroit News pattern (it was probably Rose Wreaths, #017). The $50 overall first prize went to a Laurel Wreath quilt made by Mrs. Kirschbaum (the newspaper photograph shows that quilt to be a faithful rendition of the Detroit News Laurel Wreath pattern, which the Gasperik Laurel Wreath, made several years earlier, is not). Since Gasperik knew Laurel Wreath had been a News pattern, she may have been puzzled about Detroit's system for awarding prizes and sensed an unfairness in giving the $50 prizes to the Michigan quilter (Mrs. Kirschbaum). The Mrs. Reynolds referred to in the letter was probably the quilting friend who accompanied Gasperik to the 1938 quilt show named in an October 9, 1938 Detroit News column about the quilt show. Perhaps Gasperik had been trying to find out if Laurel Wreath was a current Detroit pattern, suspecting the Kirschbaum quilt was judged in the wrong category. Gasperik's evident desire to win Detroit's top prize eluded her.
Ten different Detroit News quilt columns relating to the discussion of the influence of Ada Chilton and her 'bird quilt' on Mary Gasperik:
1) Esther Beck McIntyre, "Quilt Club Members Look Forward to Next Contest", The Detroit News, November 20, 1933, p. 4.
2) Edith B. Crumb, "Once Again Quilt Show Attracts a Large Crowd", The Detroit News, October 14, 1934, p.10.
3) Edith B. Crumb, "A Letter From Indiana Gives Bird Quilt Story", The Detroit News, November 9, 1934, p. 36.
4) "Remember", The Detroit News, October 16, 1935, p. 28.
5) Garnet Warfel, "Women Flock to Quilt Show", The Detroit News, October 19, 1935, p.4.
6) Garnet Warfel, "News Annual Quilt Show Comes to a Close Tonight", The Detroit News, October 20, 1935, p. 10.
7) Edith B. Crumb, "Things Seen and Heard at The News' Quilt Show", The Detroit News, October 22, 1935, p. 23.
8) Edith B. Crumb, "Green Percale Background Creates Effect of Water", The Detroit News, October 24, 1935, p. 37.
9) Letter to Quilt Club from Mrs. Marie Ransom of 2951 Montclair Ave. (Detroit), The Detroit News, March 7, 1936, p.12.
10) Edith B. Crumb, "Deadline is Set for Saturday", The Detroit News, September 29, 1938, p.27.
Two October 30, 1936 photos of Tuley Park Quilt Show (Chicago Park District).
Susan Salser with her grandmother. Susan is wearing a dress with appliques similar to Laurel Leaves on this quilt.
Family photos and videotapes from the 1992 The Quilts of Mary Gasperik exhibit at Ravenswood Historic Site in Livermore, CA.
Color photograph of this quilt featured in “One American Dream Comes True” by Merikay Waldvogel, Quilters Newsletter, March 2008, p.48.
Gasperik used a Nancy Cabot pattern called Rose Beauty as the pattern for the 13 roses she quilted into the border of her Laurel Wreath quilt.
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:
NAME OF QUILT OWNER:
Karen Krueger Finn
QUILT OWNER'S COUNTRY:
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.
Sister of quilt owner.
RELATIONSHIP OF SOURCE PERSON TO QUILT: Choose the best description of the relationship of the source to the quilt.
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:
QUILTMAKER'S BIRTH DATE:
DEATH DATE OF THE QUILTMAKER, IF APPLICABLE:
QUILTMAKER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
QUILTMAKER'S EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:
QUILTMAKER'S COUNTRY OF BIRTH:
IN WHICH KIND OF ENVIRONMENT DID THE QUILTMAKER GROW UP?
CITY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
COUNTY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
STATE WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
COUNTRY WHERE THE QUILTMAKER LIVES/LIVED:
QUILTMAKER'S FATHER'S NAME:
FATHER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
QUILTMAKER'S MOTHER'S NAME:
MOTHER'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
SPOUSE'S ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
Milk Dealer/Grocery Store Owner/Butcher
NUMBER OF CHILDREN:
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?
WHY DOES/DID THE QUILTMAKER QUILT:
OTHER, WHY THE QUILTMAKER QUILTS:
The challenge in making this quilt was for Gasperik to demonstrate her skill in turning a popular Nancy Page pattern into an expression of individual creativity. 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 belonged to a group, enter the name of the group.
Tuley Park Quilting Club
LOCATION OF GROUP:
SPECIALIZED ACTIVITIES/EVENTS OF QUILTING GROUP: Enter activities the group participated in.
Meetings, periodic exhibits and shows.
ESTIMATED NUMBER OF QUILTS MADE BY THIS QUILTER:
more than 50
DID THE QUILTMAKER SELL QUILTS?
DOES/DID QUILTMAKER TEACH QUILTING: Is the quilt maker also a quilt teacher?
ACCESS AND COPYRIGHT IS:
HOLDER OF COPYRIGHT:
Cite this Quilt
Gasperik, Mar. Laurel Wreath. 1935. From Mary Gasperik Legacy Project, Mary Gasperik Private Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, https://quiltindex.org/view/?type=fullrec&kid=18-14-6. Accessed: 08/19/22
Detroit News Quilt History Project
Detroit News Quilt History Project
With its Quilt Club Corner column, association of registered members, sponsorship of an annual quilt show, and underwriting of a quilting program on WWJ-radio, The Detroit News played a major role in quilting in the 1930s.
Florence LaGanke Harris, aka Nancy Pag...
Florence LaGanke Harris, aka Nancy Page
Mary Gasperik and the Tuley Park Quilt...
Mary Gasperik and the Tuley Park Quilting Club
May; 12; 2005
Mary Gasperik and the Detroit...
Mary Gasperik and the Detroit News "Quilt Club Corner"
May; 12; 2005
Gasperik 03: 1930s Quilt Pattern Sourc...
Gasperik 03: 1930s Quilt Pattern Sources
May; 12; 2005
Mary Gasperik (1888-1969): Her Lif...
Mary Gasperik (1888-1969): Her Life and Her Quilts
May; 12; 2005
Laurel Wreath Design for Your Summer S...
Crumb, Edith B.
Laurel Wreath Design for Your Summer Sewing
Crumb, Edith B.
May; 11; 1935
A Quilt Club Corner column including letters from Quilt Club members, a coupon for Quilt Club membership, and an announcement for the Laurel Leaf quilt pattern series.
Layout of Laurel Wreath Quilt
The Detroit News
Layout of Laurel Wreath Quilt
The Detroit News
May; 11; 1935
The general instructions leaflet for the Laurel Wreath Quilt Pattern series.
The Quilts of Mary Gasperik
The Quilts of Mary Gasperik
In 1992, three of Mary Gasperik's granchildren, worked with other family members to present the quilts of their grandmother.
The Quilts of Mary Gasperik
The Quilts of Mary Gasperik
March; 14; 1992
An exhibit catalog for a display of quilts made by Mary Gasperik at Ravenswood Historic Site, Livermore, California. March 14-15, 1992.
Mary Gasperik Quilters Hall of Fame In...
Mary Gasperik Quilters Hall of Fame Induction Exhibit
July; 22; 2021
The Mary Gasperik Hall of Fame Exhibit, was held at the Marion Public Library from July 15-17, 2021 as part of the Quilters Hall of Fame Celebration 2021.
Chicago; Illinois; United States
Mary Gasperik made more than 80 quilts while living in Chicago at the height of the quilt revival of the 1930s and 40s.18-47-2
Laurel Leaf Blous...