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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.

From the mid-1920s-1958, Edith Barton Crumb served as editor of the Detroit News’ Beauty in the Home section from the mid 1920s-1958. In 1932 Crumb created a quilt club with its own column, quilt patterns, radio show, cartoon, quilt shows and, in tandem with WWJ-radio, a weekly radio program devoted to quilting. At its peak the Detroit News Quilt Club corner had more than 5000 members in 29 states, over 50,000 attendees to many of their quilt shows, and over 200,000 quilt patterns disbursed.

Initial research on quilt history and the Detroit News was conducted in by Marsha MacDowell, curator at the Michigan State University Museum in East Lansing, Michigan. She first became aware of the Quilt Club Corner when, as a teenager, she inherited the quilt scrapbook of her great-grandmother, Alice Ginger Lane, filled with clippings of the column and correspondence with fellow quilt club members. She published on her research as part of an essay in Ruth D. Fitzgerald and Marsha MacDowell, eds. Michigan Quilts: 150 Years of a Textile Tradition (MSU Press, 1987) and in an article entitled “Quilting with The Detroit News,” Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, April 2002, 53–59.

In 1985, Dr. Harriet Clarke brought her quilts to a Quilt Documentation Day sponsored by the Michigan Quilt Project and the Michigan State University Museum. Clarke's mother, grandmother and aunt had made dozens of quilts, many made with patterns from the Detroit News. When she donated her family quilts to the Michigan State University Museum, she included clippings from The Quilt Club Corner, where her grandmother was a member.

California-based quilt researcher Susan Salser also became interested in researching The Detroit News Club Corner as her grandmother, Mary Gasperik, was a master quiltmaker who was a member of The Quilt Club Corner. Gasperik entered contests and garnered much praise from Edith Barton Crumb. In 1992 Karen Finn and Susan Salser assisted The Amador Valley Quilt Guild in organizing an exhibition of Mary Gasperik's quilts. In the ensuing 15 years, Salser located or identified Gasperik’s corpus of quilts and worked to identify every single quilt pattern, quilting design, or packaged quilt kit that her grandmother used. This led Salser to an exhaustive search of the Detroit News (and some Detroit Free Press) looking for quilt patterns and links to Gasperik. At her local library she requested microfiche files of the Detroit News and shared scanned digital files of them with the Michigan Quilt Project.

Mary Worrall and Beth Donaldson of the MSU Museum worked closely with Salser and MSU students to insure that the Detroit News files, with permission from the Detroit News, are presented in the Quilt Index. This work was supported by a grant from the Salser Family Foundation and the Harriet Clarke Quilt Endowment.

Read How I Researched the Mary Gasperik Collection by Susan Salser, here.
Salser's notes on The Detroit News Quilt Club columns are here.

-- Marsha MacDowell, August 2020


View all records in this project
  • Documentation Project

    Michigan Quilt Project

    Michigan State University

  • Quiltmaker

    Clarke, Bozena

  • Quiltmaker

    Clarke, Laura May

  • Quiltmaker

    Voelker, Bertha

  • Quiltmaker

    Lane, Alice

  • Legacy

    Gasperik Legacy Project, Mary

  • Quiltmaker

    Gasperik, Mary

    Susan Salser

  • Ephemera

    Alice Lane Scrapbook

    Lane, Alice

  • Collection

    Clarke Family Quilt Collection

    Michigan State University Museum

  • Essay

    Mary Gasperik and the Detroit...

    Salser, Susan

  • Ephemera

    Trip Around the World-Reproductions fr...

    MacDowell, Marsha

  • Ephemera

    Quilt Patterns and Contests of the Oma...

    Stehlik, Jan

  • Collection

    Janet E. Finley Collection of Quilt Hi...

    Finley, Janet E.

  • 1939

    Tree of Life

    Voelker, Bertha

  • 1935-1940

    Colonial Quilting...

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1937 circa

    Double Feather St...

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1938-1940

    Hungarian Harvest...

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1936

    Wedding Quilt

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1944

    Calla Lilies

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1956

    Bridal Bouquet

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1993

    Double Feather St...

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1936

    Four Little Pigs

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1938

    Roses and Forget ...

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1939

    Old-Time Nosegay

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1935

    Laurel Wreath

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1936

    Cottage Behind th...

    Gasperik, Mary

  • 1939

    Antique Urn

    Clarke, Laura May

  • 1934

    Flower Garden

    Clarke, Bozena Vilh...

  • 1930-1949

    Handy Andy

    Clarke, Bozena Vilh...

  • 1944

    Rags and Tatters

    Clarke, Bozena Vilh...

  • 1942

    Rose Basket

    Clarke, Bozena Vilh...

  • 1933

    Trip Around the W...

    Clarke, Laura May

  • 1935

    Colonial Sewing B...

    Miller, Marjorie

  • c1930

    Horoscope

    Miller, Marjorie

  • 4/14/1937

    The Airplane Quil...

    Miller, Marjorie

  • 1935

    Tiger Pennant Bas...

    Ansell, Stuart

  • 1932

    Friendship's Park...

    Schlenter, Emma

  • 1930-1949

    Dresden Plate Sig...

  • 1938

    Edna Marquardt's ...

    Marquardt, Edna

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