The Spectrum

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Top By: Matthews, Edith Morrow
Quilted By: Matthews, Edith Morrow
Period: 1930-1949
Date: 1933
Location Made: Winnemucca, Nevada (NV) United States
Project Name: Sears Quilt Contest 1933 Chicago World's Fair
Contributor: Waldvogel Archival Collection
ID Number: 035
Layout Format: Medallion or framed center
Quilt Size: 76 inches x 92 inches
Fabrics: Cotton, Solid/plain
Colors: Blue or Navy, Gold, Green, Lavender, Red, Yellow
Construction: Hand Piecing, Hand Applique, The swirling design is especially difficult to do, but it makes for a dynamic quilt. The white central orb with radiating spikes is appliqued to cover the point where the swirls come together.
Quilting Techniques: Hand quilting
Purpose or Function: Challenge or Contest entry
Description: Edith Morrow Matthews's dynamic quilt won first place in the Los Angeles regional contest with 1000 entries.
Other Notes: Her husband supposedly came up with the design idea for the quilt. Source: Newspaper article., According to one newspaper account, the idea for this quilt came from her husband. She told the newspaper reporter that this was her first quilt. "And there's another part of the story too. If you asked grandmother about making quilts, you would probably be led to believe that only the women of a bygone day knew how to make quilts. "But Mrs. Mathews confesses that she never made a quilt before in her life. Prize winner that she is, grandmother would probably consider her still just a rank amateur. " ' All it took,' says Mrs. Mathews. Was good hard work, five to eight [missing info]. Keep on seeing the rainbows, we might add. Source: Humboldt Star & Silver State (June 23, 1933).
Related Items/Publications: Photo of quiltmaker standing in front of her quilt is on pg 104 of Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World's Fair. News clippings of articles related to her winning quilt: Humboldt Star and Silver State (Winnemucca, Nevada). "When she opened a letter she received today from Sears, Roebuck and Co., Los Angeles, a $200 check fell out of the envelope." [Note: amount is marked out -- it should have been $210 which means she probably won a lower level prize, too.] This article in her local paper included the information provided by Sears Roebuck & Co. announcing the 2 other regional winners and the three national winners. "Mrs. R. Mathews of This City Sees Silver on Clouds" in Humboldt Star and Silver State, June 23, 1933. Correspondence to and from Sears includes: Mrs. Ralph Matthews to Sears, Roebuck & Co. in Los Angeles (May 9, 1933) in which she declares hers is an original design she named "The Spectrum." She added that she used "your Pastoral Cloth. Your Pastoral Cloth is certainly wonderful cloth to work with." F. R. Henninger to Mrs. Ralph Matthews (June 19, 1933) informing her of her contest success. He mentions the two checks she won for first prize in both the Los Angeles Region and in the Los Angeles Mail Order House rounds. F. R. Henninger (Sears in Los Angeles) to editor of Humboldt Star and Silver State (June 19, 1933) telling of Mrs. Matthews winning quilt and including a photo and story to include. Fritz Hooker of Stearns & Foster Co. to Mrs. Ralph Matthews (October 14, 1933) asking if she might have used Mountain Mist batting. He noted that Miss Caden, the grand prize winner, used a Stearns and Foster batting "White Rose." Sue Roberts to Mrs. Ralph Matthews (November 14, 1933) notifying the quiltmaker that her quilt was being returned to her by insured express. Sue Roberts to Mrs. Ralph Matthews (August 7, 1934) expresses her appreciation for the loan of her quilt and she gave instructions for sending the quilt. Sears also offered to sell the quilt if she would provide a price. Sue Roberts to Mrs. Ralph Matthews (August 21, 1934) Safe arrival of her quilt to the 1934 exhibit. Sue Roberts to Mrs. Ralph Matthews (November 20, 1934) thanking her for the loan of her quilt for the 1934 exhibit. As a token of appreciation, they sent a walnut sewing cabinet.
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