Quilt Index Record:
a Essay Historical Backgrounddescription
This quilt, which is dated 1934, shows how quickly Mary developed her quilting skills, when compared with quilt #041 ("Double Trellis") made in 1933. Once she discovered quilts in 1933, making quilts became her life's passion.
The Chicago Tribune published this block in the Nancy Cabot quilt column after the Fair ended. The Moon Face embroidery pattern was published by another Chicago company.
Made after the World's Fair, this quilt honors the Century of Progress Exposition held in her hometown in 1933-34. The rocket and star pattern named Star Arcturus refers to the distant star 40 light years away. Fair officials reminded Chicagoans that the light coming from the star began its journey in 1893 when Chicago's first world's fair was held. Light transmitted from the star Arcturus was not only used to illuminate the opening of the fair, it was used to turn on the exposition's myriad lights each night. The star became a World's Fair logo adorning many souvenirs. Mary Gasperik chose an especially potent symbol of the fair to use in this early and creative quilt-making project. Although the Cabot pattern provides the basis for her design, it is Gasperik's own individual choices (the colors) and additions (the corner moons) which make this an especially artful and expressive quilt.
For her masterpiece quilt "Colonial Quilting Bee" (#034) made 16 years later, she resurrected this pattern when she used the rocket-stars on the miniature quilt at the center of the quilt frame and on a miniature quilt placed on the lap of one of the quilters. In doing so, she was not only referencing her own earlier quilt, but also the occasion which ignited her passion for making quilts - the Chicago World's Fair of 1933.
Mary Gasperik Private CollectionInstInvContrNumF004
Information source fieldsIdentPersonF006
Blood relative of quiltmaker
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 DescriptionTypeObjF008
Star Arcturus-Century of Progress - DetailOwnerNameF010
Star Arcturus-Century of ProgressBrackmanF011a
Blue or Navy
Bright or primary colorsOverCondF015
Very good/almost newTypeInscripF019
"Star Arcturus/A CENTURY OF PROGPESS 1934 M.G." DateInscripF020a
English was not Mary's native tongue. She embroidered "PROGPESS" instead of "PROGRESS"LocInscripF022
Date based on Nancy Cabot quilt pattern by the same name published on Oct 22, 1933 in the Chicago Tribune.
Quilt top descriptionLayFormatF024
Star Arcturus, Chicago World's FairNumBlockF026
13 x 13ArrangeBlockF028
Star Block alternates with a blue block with five small stars appliqued to it.NumBlockPatF030
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 constructionFiberTypesF035
Quilt back materials and constructionFabFiberTypesF040
Blue or NavyNumPiecesF042
33 inches, 33 inches, 11 inches DescBackF043
less than a half inch
Quilt notes and observationsFeaturesF053
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.
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!QuiltHistF059
Quilt purposes usesReasonsF060
Mary's grandchildren regard her quilts as a unique collection to be preserved and appreciated.
Quilt design and materials sourcesSourceMatF063
Commercial/Published source: Newspaper
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 ProgressPattSourceF065
Original to makerOthPattSourceF065a
QuiltING patterns Q403 and Q504 (Hubert Ver Mehren Home Art Studio) were used in the blocks. Q403 (side portion only) was used in border. Q504 was transformed and altered 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.
Exhibition history of quiltExhibitListF067a
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.
-- This quilt was part of a travelling exhibition of 30 quilts entitled “Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World’s Fair” curated by Merikay Waldvogel and Barbara Brackman. The Knoxville Museum of Art and Smith-Kramer, Inc. coordinated the travelling exhibition to the following sites: Jan 7-Feb 7, 1994 Palm Beach, FL (The Society of the Four Arts); Mar 20-July 17, 1994 Lexington, MA (Museum of Our National Heritage); Aug 7–Sep 25, 1994 Midland, MI (Midland Center for the Arts); Oct 16–Dec 4, 1994 Logan, KS (Dane G. Hansen Memorial Museum; Dec 18, 1994–Apr 23, 1995 Chicago, IL (Chicago Cultural Center); May 10-Jul 2, 1995 Grosse Pointe Shores, MI (Edsel and Eleanor Ford House); Jul 23-Sep 10, 1995 Los Angeles, CA (Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum); Oct 1-Nov 19, 1995 Janesville, WI (Rock County Historical Society); Dec 10, 1995-Jan 28, 1996 Neenah, WI (Bergstrom-Mahler Museum); Feb 18-Apr 8, 1996 Lexington, KY (University of Kentucky Art Museum); May 3-July 24, 1996 Knoxville, TN (Knoxville Museum of Art).
-- "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 infoOwnershipF082
Susan Krueger SalserOwnerCountryF086b
Susan Krueger SalserDateObtainedF088c
Other source materials available for this quiltRelItemsF088a
"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.
New York Times, May 30, 1930 pg. 17 " Pittsburgh, May 29. Arcturus, the star which sent the rays that officially opened Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition, today received a steady job as lamplighter for the fair. Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company announced that each night at exactly 30 seconds past 10:14 o'clock (Eastern Daylight Time) rays from "Arky" - as the star is affectionately known - will be transmitted from four observatories to Chicago to turn on the exposition's myriad lights."
Quiltmaker personal informationMaidenF097b
9314 Cottage GroveCountyF106
Quiltmaker Family historyFatherNameF109
Milk Dealer/Grocery Store Owner/ButcherNoChildF116
1 (Elsie 1909-1988)NoMaleF116b
2 (Elmer and Stephen)
Quiltmaker personal quilting historyLearnedToQuiltF117
From guild or club member
She made quilts to exhibit in shows and contests. Later in life, she made quilts especially for her children and grandchildren. In short, she made quilts because it was her life passion and her greatest talent.
Quiltmakers Membership in quilting groupNameGroupF120
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 quiltmakerNumQuiltsF123
more than 50SellQuiltF127
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 quiltmakerOtherSourceMat
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 - medium display (250-550 pixels)file_medium
MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online at Michigan State University, Michigan State University Museum, Alliance For American QuiltsPublisher
Quilt IndexResource Type