Grand Prize Winner at News Quilt Show

May 25, 1940
Detroit News Quilt History Project; Michigan State University Museum
Detroit, Michigan, United States
This is part of Edith B Crumb's Quilt Club Corner Column. This particular column shows a picture of the grand prize winner of the Detroit News Quilt Show of 1940. It also gives a description of many of the quilts seen there.
Grand Prize Winner at News Quilt Show
Mrs. Charles Voelker, 12022 Hartwell avenue, learned Saturday she had won the grand prize for $50 for the finest quilt entered in the Detroit News Quilt Show, now held at the Naval Armory. She was on hand from early until late, answering a question about her prize beauty. Here she admires a blue ribbon.

Infinite Variety Marks News Quilt Show Display
By Garnet Warfel
Those who feel it in their hearts to rebel at the quantity production of a machine age- those who weary at seeing tens of dozens of anything hats or cars or houses that are exactly alike- will delight and exclaim at the Detroit News Quilt Show, being held in the Naval Armory, on Jefferson Avenue east, near the Belle Isle Bridge.

For in this cotton flower show, which is exactly what it amount to,  there are no two of anything alike. No quilts among the entire 2,000 no aprons no spreads, or Afghans no hooked  or braided rugs that are machine made.  Nothing. It is a show exclusively representative of the kinder, gentler era when fine needlework was the aim of every woman in the land.
In many ways, the show is a repetition of history itself, for the art of quilting has never died and the quilts shown today in the greatest display of needlework ever held, are, step by step, made exactly like the quilts of 200 years ago.

Patterns Handed Down
Charming patterns from these old quilts have come down to the  present generations, passed along from Mother to Daughter. Even the picturesque old name endures.

The visitor to the show will see handsome quilts in the old Mosaic tile patterns, and its latter day adaption in the Grandmothers Flower Garden; in the old, old dog wood patterns, the poppy, the rose, the tulip, the old fox and geese design of our great-great grandmothers day; the bear paw, the postage stamp (which enabled the thrifty quilter to use every scraps since no good quilter ever throws away a bit of cotton as big as a stamp). The Dresden Plate, the rose medallion, an adaption of the old Rose of Sharon, the carpenters wheel, the Dolly Madison star, the turkey and pin tree.

It is well worth anyone’s time- man or woman, to study these fine old designs and read the bits of character revealed in each quilt. The show, now in its last day, opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. tonight. It is free to all.

Crowds Waiting
As is always the case with a News quilt show, crowds were waiting for admission when the doors opened Saturday and throughout the day thousands of visitors thronged the aisles. Old friends met and visited, chatting over a mammoth display, and space  around the prize quilts was at a premium for the whole 12 hour period.

Mrs. Charles Voelker 12022 Hartwell Avenue, winner of the grand prize with a beautiful Tree of Life patterned quilt, did not know of her good fortune until Saturday morning when she was informed by a friend. She was on hand when the doors opened and she spent the day right there, since she couldn’t help herself. Everyone wanted to talk to her about her quilt. Where she got the idea ( it was copied from a hanging in the Metropolitan Museum) how long it took her to complete her entry; what would she do with the money, how many quilts she had made.

She was worn out at the end of the day, but still happy. She says she has made 36 quilts and has always had a quilt in the News show. She has won prizes before, and honorable mentions, but never a grand prize until now.

Gift to Grandson
My husband and I have a cottage and small farm at Lobdell Lake she said, and I am going to take the prize money and buy new linoleum for the kitchen there. I was so surprised to win the grand prize because I know what the competition is like. I made this quilt for my tiny grandson, Charles Voelker, whose name I have stitched into the quilt itself.  I have made quilts for both my sons, Melvin and Howard, and I want them in the family always.
Mrs. Voelker says she only quilts in the winter time, because in the summer she is too busy with her vegetable and flower garden.

Other prize winners were on hand to talk about their quilts and Quilt Club members had an all day party of it. There was an atmosphere suggestive of the old fashioned box social, all over the armory, and moving about  talking to everyone was Edith B Crumb, the News interior decorator and director of the quilt show.

In  addition to the myriads of quilts, reminiscent of other days, there are some on exhibition as new as today. One of these is an aviation quilt made by Mrs. Arthur Miller ( one of the prize winner with another entry. The aviation quilt contains 21 planes, all different, and all designed y her son. There is a modernistic quilt, copied after a Picasso picture, and quilts that depicts familiar scenes of today.

Women love afghans. Proof of this lies in the fact that the Afghan section…

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