Sears Quilt Contest 11: Impact of the Contest

As a result of the widespread publicity leading up to the contest deadline and then all the newspaper coverage of local and regional contests, quiltmaking became a popular past-time.  New quilters were eager to take up quilting.  Experienced quilters found themselves in demand for professional quilting, quilting instruction, and advice.  Sears & Roebuck published a booklet of patterns for the top prize winning quilts even though some were copyrighted.   Although the booklet is not dated, it had to have been prepared in the summer of 1933 after the final judging.  The Chicago Tribune published the Nancy Cabot quilt column following the Fair.  A number of patterns and stories about the Chicago World’s Fair quilt exhibit were printed in the column (Autumn Leaves, Bleeding Hearts, Tea Rose, and Star Arcturus).


Bleeding Hearts
Frances Klemenz
Louisville, Kentucky
Private Collection

This quilt "Bleeding Hearts" by Frances Klemenz was one of only 30 quilts that reached the final round of judging at the Sears Pavilion at the World's Fair site as a result of it winning 1st place at a local Sears store in Louisville, KY and winning third place in the Chicago regional round.


Louisiana Rose
Celia Pardue Hyde
Crowley, Louisiana
Private Collection

This quilt "Louisiana Rose" by Celia Pardue Hyde of Crowley Louisiana won second prize in the Dallas regional contest and was shown at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair after the national round judging. Although this quilt did not receive one of the top national prizes, it received extensive publicity through national newspaper accounts. It was also chosen by Sears to be included in a book of the prize winning patterns.

Merikay Waldvogel
All rights reserved

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