Road to Recovery

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Pattern Names: Road to Recovery, New York World's Fair Quilt
Top By: Gasperik, Mary
Quilted By: Gasperik, Mary
Period: 1930-1949
Date: 1939 (contest was announced in Good Housekeeping, January 1939, on page 61).
Location Made: Chicago, Illinois (IL) United States
Project Name: Mary Gasperik Private Collection
Contributor: Gasperik Collection
ID Number: 066
Layout Format: Vertical bands
Quilt Size: 78 inches x 95 inches
Fabrics: Cotton, Print, Solid/plain
Colors: Beige or Tan, Brown, Cream, Green
Construction: Hand Applique, Embroidery
Quilting Techniques: Hand quilting
Purpose or Function: Challenge or Contest entry, Commemorative, Artwork/wall hanging
Description: Mary Gasperik's original design to commemorate the 1939 New York World's Fair was made for a quilt contest "Better Living in the World of Tomorrow." She did not win a prize, but it is considered one of her masterpiece quilts. Although she did not sign this quilt, she often said the seated woman appliquéd in the center of the quilt represents herself. The pattern source for two of the appliqué elements in this quilt, the pair of robins in the lower left and the brown wren at the right side of the tree on the right, have been identified. Gasperik traced them from illustrations by Fern Bisel Peat published in popular books about birds printed in the early 1930s. In copying the robins from a book, Gasperik not only traced the book illustration's outlines to create her appliqué pattern, but she also duplicated Peat's detail through elaborate embroidery.
Other Notes: The theme of the 1939 New York Fair was transportation, perhaps explaining Gasperik's decision to depict a road with a traveling car. Two of the emblems of this Fair are appliqued at the top of the quilt: the needlelike Trylon and the Perisphere globe. There is indication that there was a 2nd Gasperik New York World's Fair quilt project. It disappeared from Gasperik's house during her final illness. Elsie's typed notes describe it as "New York World's Fair unfinished top geometric starburst on tan background" under a category she called "Quilts and tops which are still in East Hazelcrest". She listed 5 items in this category. The other four are: Laurel Wreath (with birds), tulip squares unfinished top, nursery rime [sic] unfinished top, and Rainbow fan quilt unfinished top. It is not known what became of these. Most significantly, it is not known if the mentioned "Laurel Wreath with birds", which is not described as unfinished, is the surviving Laurel Wreath quilt (#067) or if there was a second completed Gasperik Laurel Wreath quilt.
Inscription: Quilted inscriptions bottom to top read: CHICAGO, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, culminating at the top with NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR 1939. Road signs pointing the way read: "Road to Recovery" and "New York City."
Related Items/Publications: Owner Karen Krueger Finn has a small swatch of red print fabric her grandmother used to cut out the maple leaves. In fact this swatch bears the cut-out shape. Color photo (dated June 1968) of Mary Gasperik, daughter Elsie Krueger and great-grandson Andy Finn with this quilt. Gasperik is pointing to herself depicted as the woman sitting beside the Road to Recovery. Gasperik's handwritten written explanation, in Hungarian, of 'Road to Recovery (Karen Krueger Finn, private collection). Handwritten and typed translations from Hungarian to English by Elsie Krueger of Gasperik's written explanation. Entitled "History of the Quilt 'Road to Recovery'" Karen Krueger Finn, private collection). Program for The 8th Annual Quilters' Heritage Celebration, Patchwork Pride, April 6-9, 1995 Lancaster Host Resort and Conference Center, Lancaster, Pennsylvania (Karen Krueger Finn, private collection). Color photograph of this quilt featured in “One American Dream Comes True” by Merikay Waldvogel, Quilters Newsletter, March 2008, p.49. The Bird Book: Observations of Bird Life, by Frank North Shankland. Illustrated by Fern Bisel Peat, 1931, The Saalfield Publishing Company, Akron, Ohio. Book #672. Illustration called "The Robin". Bird Neighbors, No. 2129, copyright 1936, The Saalfield Pub. Co., Akron, Ohio. Illustrations by Fern Bisel Peat, "The Robin" and "The House Wren".
Detail Images: No additional images uploaded
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