Star Arcturus-Century of Progress


Quilt Index Record: 48-7C-13

a Essay Historical Background

description
This quilt probably made early in her career in 1934, incorporates a Nancy Cabot (Chicago Tribune) pattern that honors the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition.
essay
We know Mary Gasperik was inspired by quilts at the Century of Progress Exposition (the Chicago World's Fair), and that she did not enter the 1933 Sears National Quilt Contest held in conjunction with the Fair. The family thinks she probably saw the final round quilts on display and was inspired to make quilts. Sears offered a bonus prize of $200 if the grand prize quilt was made in the theme "A Century of Progress," and some quilters simply embroidered or quilted those words on their quilts to be eligible for the extra prize winnings. Mary Gasperik, not fully understanding the significance of the words, may have thought her quilts should carry her name and the words "Century of Progress." Five of her quilts made in 1933-34 are embroidered with these words, but it is not suggested that any of them were exhibited either with the Sears Contest quilts or in the Tuley Park Quilt Club booth at the Fair.

Administrative Fields

InstNameF003
Gasperik Collection
InstProjNameF003a
Mary Gasperik Private Collection
InstInvContrNumF004
048

Information source fields

IdentPersonF006
Author/researcher
Blood relative of quiltmaker
Quilt owner
RelnQuiltF007
Quilt owner
IfQownerF007b
Inherited
IfOtherF007d
Grand-daughter Susan Salser began this research effort in 1991, after she and her two sisters divided up the quilts which belonged to their mother (Elsie Gasperik Krueger) who died in 1988. Her ongoing research has been fruitful and interesting.

Overall Quilt Description

TypeObjF008
Finished quilt
QuiltTitleF009
Star Arcturus-Century of Progress
OwnerNameF010
Star Arcturus-Century of Progress
BrackmanF011a
3713
OverallWidthF12a
77 inches
OverallLengthF012b
91 inches
ShapeEdgeF013
Scalloped
ShapeCornersF013b
Rounded
PredomColorsF014
Blue or Navy
Orange
Yellow
OverallColorF14b
Bright or primary colors
OverCondF015
Very good/almost new
TypeInscripF019
Message
ContInscripF020
"Star Arcturus/A CENTURY OF PROGPESS 1934 M.G."
DateInscripF020a
1934
MethodInscripF021
Embroidery
Other
OtherMethodInscripF021a
English was not Mary's native tongue. She embroidered "PROGPESS" instead of "PROGRESS"
LocInscripF022
on back
DateQuiltF023
1930-1949
DateBegunF023a
1933-1934
DateFinishF023b
1934
OtherExDateF023d
1934
OtherDateF023e
Merikay Waldvogel
DateInfoF023f
Date based on Nancy Cabot quilt pattern by the same name published on Oct 22, 1933 in the Chicago Tribune.

Quilt top description

LayFormatF024
Block pattern
SubjQuiltF025
Star Arcturus, Chicago World's Fair
NumBlockF026
30
SizeBlockF027
13 x 13
ArrangeBlockF028
Straight
SpacingF029
Other
OtherSpaceF029a
Star Block alternates with a blue block with five small stars appliqued to it.
NumBlockPatF030
2
BlockStyleF030a
Squares
NumBordersF033
One scalloped border.
BordDescF034
Scallops with appliqued 3-color fans alternate with plain, pointy, scallops. Orange moons with embroidered faces are appliqued into the four corners of the quilt.

Quilt top materials and construction

FiberTypesF035
Cotton
FabPrintF037
Solid/plain
ConstrucF038
Machine Piecing
ConstrucF038b
Hand Applique
EmbellTechF038f
Yes
ConstrucF038g
Embroidery
PaperF038i
no
EmbMatF039
Cotton thread

Quilt back materials and construction

FabFiberTypesF040
Cotton
ColorBackingF040b
Blue or Navy
NumPiecesF042
3
WidthPiecesF042a
33 inches, 33 inches, 11 inches
DescBackF043
Solid/plain

Quilt binding

MatUsedF044
Cotton
FabStrucF045
Plain weave
ConstrucBindF046
Bias grain
Machine sewn
WidthBindF047
less than a half inch

Quilt batting

MatUsedF048
Cotton

Quilting description

QuiltTechF049
Hand quilting
ThrTypeF049a
cotton
ThrColorF049b
off-white
NumStitchedF050
11
NumStitchF051
11
KnotsF051b
no
DesignF052a
Echo
In-the-ditch
Outline
DesignF052b
Wreaths
DesignF052c
None

Quilt notes and observations

FeaturesF053
In this quilt, the backing fabric is the same color as the front. It is an unusual choice for Mary Gasperik. Since it is one of her earliest quilts, one wonders if it was personal choice or advice from the Tuley Park Quilt Club.

Quiltmaker identification

QuiltTopF054
Gasperik, Mary
QuiltedByF055
Gasperik, Mary

Quilt provenance

LocMadeF057a
Chicago
ProvCountyF057b
Cook County
ProvStateF057d
Illinois (IL)
ProvCountryF057f
United States
AcquiredF058
Inheritance
ProvenanceF058a
Selected by daughter Elsie during a division of quilts after Gasperik died in 1969. In 1988, Elsie Krueger's three daughters divided up the quilts left to them after Elsie's death. Susan Salser selected Star Arcturus in the fourth round. At the time, the quilt was under-appreciated by all three of them!

Quilt purposes uses

ReasonsF060
Commemorative
QDesignF060b
Unknown
PresUseF062
Exhibit
Keepsake/memento
OthPresUseF062a
Mary's grandchildren regard her quilts as a unique collection to be preserved and appreciated.

Quilt design and materials sources

SourceMatF063
Purchased new
TopSourceF064
Commercial/Published source: Newspaper
Other
OthTopSourceF064a
Source of embroidered moon faces in the four corners is "Modern Hand Embroidery Patterns: The Wonder Package" offered by Donald F. Duncan Inc., a Chicago company, in 1933.
CommSourceF064b
Nancy Cabot/Chicago Tribune: Star Arcturus Century of Progress
PattSourceF065
Commercial pattern
Original to maker
OthPattSourceF065a
CommSourceF065b
QuiltING patterns Q403 and Q504 (Hubert Ver Mehren Home Art Studio) were used in the blocks. Q403 (side portion only) used in border. Q504 (transformed for use as an applique two-color pieced star).
AddNotesF066
A clipping of the original October 22, 1933 Nancy Cabot newspaper column which presented the Century of Progress rocket-star pattern is pasted into Mary Gasperik's album of quilt patterns. This Nancy Cabot pattern was published in The Chicago Sunday Tribune, Part 6, page 2. It was later reproduced by The Quilters Journal No. 27 pp 10-11 in 1985. Mary transformed the plain spacer blocks proposed by the October 22 pattern into blocks containing smaller appliqued 6-star versions of the comet block's 6-pointed star. The central star in her 'spacer' block nests inside a quilted wreath and is smaller than the Comet star, but larger than the tiny stars appliqued into the corners of the 'spacer' block. This is probably Gasperik's own invention but may have been inspired by the Nancy Cabot block pattern called 'Evening Star' which was published in The Chicago Tribune on October 23, 1933, the day after the comet block quarter-quilt-section was published. The Cabot 'Evening Star' shows a center 8-point star executed in two different solid colors (unlike the Arcturus comet 6-point star) with four small diamond appliques in each corner. Instead of copying the diamonds, Gasperik made miniature stars, each composed of 6 miniature diamonds, a much more challenging job. The corner moons (not a Nancy Cabot pattern) were perhaps inspired by the moon cutout at Chicago's Riverview Park. The family has a circa 1945 photo of Gasperik's granddaughters Karen, Linda and Susan Kruger, wearing matching Gasperik red, white and blue pinafores (one of these survives), seated on the amusement park's photo booth cutout. There is also a photograph of Mary and Stephen Gasperik seated on the moon. Gasperik sent 3 pattern tracings of her quilt border and two sample blocks (with attached fabrics) to a fellow Detroit News Quilt Club Corner member in Sturgis Michigan named Emma Zawatski. In 2007 granddaughter Susan miraculously happened to find the Zawaski materials for sale on e-Bay and purchased them. The fabrics and patterns exactly match the Gasperik quilt. Re-reading a list of names and addresses shakily hand-written by Mary Gasperik (probably a list of potential inviteees to Gasperik's 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 1956) Susan saw the name Emma Zawatski with a Sturgis Michigan address on that 3-page list, confirming that Mary Gasperik and Emma Zawatski knew each other, probably having met at the first Detroit News quilt show Mary Gasperik attended, in October 1935. The Gasperik Star Arcturus quilt is probably among the quilts Gasperik sent to be exhibited at this (3rd) Detroit News quilt show, her first appearance in Detroit. She attended and sent quilts to every subsequent Detroit News quilt show. The Detroit News quilt club and show editor, Edith Crumb wrote about Gasperik for the first time in the October 22, 1935 newspaper. In the Feb. 1936 Detroit News Crumb devoted a whole column to Gasperik and the Gasperik quilt (one of Gasperik's Double Feather Star quilts) which arrived too late to be exhibited at the October 1935 show. Although Star Arcturus IS based on a published pattern it should be stressed that Gasperik made major creative revisions with her star-studded spacer blocks and corner moons. Also, the Cabot pattern ignores the subject of quiltING and Gasperik's fine quiltING is a major design element in ALL of her quilts. Arcturus is no exception, even though it is a very early Gasperik quilt and is so clearly associated with a commercial pattern.

Exhibition history of quilt

ExhibitListF067a
Probably exhibited at the third Detroit News Quilt Show October 18-20, 1935, the first Detroit show Mary Gasperik sent quilts to and attended. Probably exhibited in at least one of the annual Tuley Park quilt shows between 1936 and 1949. We have an undated exhibit tag reading "Arcturus Star Quilt by Mrs. M. Gasperik". -- "The Quilts of Mary Gasperik," Ann Anastasio, Curator, Livermore Historic Site, Ravenswood, CA, March 14-15, 1992. -- "Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair," nationally traveling exhibit in 1993-94 curated by Merikay Waldvogel and Barbara Brackman. -- "1933 Chicago World's Fair Quilts" at the Spring International Quilt Festival in Chicago (Rosemont), April 11-13, 2003, curated by Merikay Waldvogel.

Quilt ownership and contact info

OwnershipF082
Private
OwnerNameF082a
Susan Krueger Salser
OwnerCountryF086b
United States
SourceInfoF088b
Susan Krueger Salser
DateObtainedF088c
December 2007

Other source materials available for this quilt

RelItemsF088a
Barbara Brackman, Making History Quilts & Fabric From 1890-1970, C & T Publishing, 2008, page 78 photograph of Gasperik Star Arcturus. Merikay Waldvogel and Barbara Brackman, Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World’s Fair, Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1993, pp 102-103, photographs and text discussion. "Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair" by Barbara Brackman and Merikay Waldvogel, published in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine (July/August 1994), offered readers a pattern for making the moon Mary Gasperik put in the four corners of her Star Arcturus quilt. "The 1933 World's Fair Quilt Contest and its Aftermath" in Piecework magazine (July/August 1995), pp. 71-77, presented a color photograph of the quilt and a pattern for making a bib using the star and rocket motif. Family photos show this quilt, and other Gasperik quilts, airing on a clothesline. Yellow paper exhibit tag (Tuley Park show) reading: Arcturus Star Quilt by Mrs. M. Gasperik

Quiltmaker personal information

MaidenF097b
Mihalovits, Maria
GenderF098
Female
BirthDateF099
01/25/1888
MarriageF099b
11/18/1906
DeathF100
05/25/1969
EthnicF101
Hungarian
EdBkgdF102
Elementary School
BirthplaceCountryF098d
Hungary
EnviroF104c
Rural

Quiltmaker address

StAddressF105
9314 Cottage Grove
CountyF106
Cook
CityF106a
Chicago
StateF107
Illinois (IL)
CountryF108
United States

Quiltmaker Family history

FatherNameF109
Mihalovits, Istvan
BplaceF109a
Hungary
EthBkgrndF110
Hungarian
MotherNameF111
Mihalovits, Vidoszava
BplaceF111a
Hungary
EthBkgrndF112
Hungarian
SpouseF113
Gasperik, Stephen
EthBkgrndF114
Hungarian
OccupationF115
Milk Dealer/Grocery Store Owner/Butcher
NoChildF116
3
NoFemF116a
1 (Elsie 1909-1988)
NoMaleF116b
2 (Elmer and Stephen)

Quiltmaker personal quilting history

LearnedToQuiltF117
From guild or club member
Self-Taught
WhenQuiltF118
Age 40-49
WhyQuiltF119
Pleasure
Other
OtherF119a
This particular quilt was made at a time when Gasperik was just beginning what turned out to be her life's career. It was a time when she seems to have believed that all quilts should salute The Century of Progress Chicago World's Fair of 1933-34. She may have made it specfically to exhibit in a show held by her Tuley Park quilt club in Chicago. Later she made quilts to exhibit in the Detroit News quilt show in Detroit. After the Detroit shows ceased (following the 1940 show)she exhibited her quilts in many Illinois State Fairs, and at least one Indiana State Fair. She entered quilts in at least 2 Chicago department store contests. She made at least one quilt and one quilt top specifically for the 1939 New York Worlds Fair quilt contest. She also made children's quilts specifically for grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and wedding and wedding anniversary quilts for her son Elmer and grand-daughter Karen. Primarily, she wanted to make quilts because it was her life passion and her greatest talent. The occasions and venues to show them presented themselves. It should be noted that prior to Mary's emigration to America in late 1904, at age 16, she was an apprenticed needleworker in her native Hungary. The intricate and colorful floral embroideries traditional to Hungary lend themselves especially well to applique, the quilt style Mary preferred.

Quiltmakers Membership in quilting group

NameGroupF120
Tuley Park Quilt Club, Detroit News Quilt Club Conducted by Edith Crumb, editor of the Home Page.
LocGroupF121
Tuley Park is the Chicago public park closest to Mary's residence on Cottage Grove. Readers of The Detroit News quilt column were from far corners of the United States. They "met" through the quilt column in the Detroit News.
SpecialGroupF122
Readers of the column sent in patterns and pattern requests. The club actually met together at the time of the annual quilt show. IN October 1936 they began gathering every Friday afternoon AT The Detroit News.

Other quilts made by quiltmaker

NumQuiltsF123
more than 50
SellQuiltF127
no
TeachF129
no
AddNotesF132
Mary Gasperik sent three pattern tracings of this quilt's border and two blocks (the Star and the five-star block) with attached fabrics to Emma Zawatski in Sturgis, Michigan, another quilter she met through the Detroit News column. Susan Salser purchased the tracings at an online auction site in November 1907. She found Zawatski's name on an invitation list Mary Gasperik had compiled for her 50th wedding anniversary. These tracings show that Gasperik shared her own designs with others at an early stage of her quilting career.

Other source materials available for quiltmaker

OtherSourceMat
Merikay Waldvogel and Barbara Brackman. Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair (Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press, 1993)102-103. Merikay Waldvogel "One American Dream Comes True" Quilters Newsletter Magazine, March 2008, 46-49.

Image Information

InvenNumF075
048
ImageConF075a
whole quilt
ImageTypeF076
Color
SourceF077
CD-ROM
DateF079
3
1
1992
CE
photocredit079a1
Don Gonzalez
DigDateF079a
10
2007
CE
AccessF080
Restricted
HolderF080a
Susan Salser

File Information

function
Image - medium display (250-550 pixels)
file_medium
image
file_format
jpeg
Contributing Institutions
MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online at Michigan State University, Michigan State University Museum, Alliance For American Quilts
Publisher
Quilt Index
Resource Type
StillImage

data verification

verify
yes
verifiedby
Salser,Susan
dateverified
2
4
2017
CE

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