Tree of Life - detail


Quilt Index Record: 48-7C-87

a Essay Historical Background

description
This is the most elaborate of the five Tree of Life Quilts, showing the greatest degree of transformation of the McCall pattern and including elements from outside sources. She may have returned to this quilt pattern when a Tree of Life Quilt won the grand prize at the 1940 Detroit News quilt show. The year "1942" is quilted on the front of the quilt. Gasperik won a second prize at that same 1940 Detroit quilt show. A paper exhibit tag reading "Tree of Life First Prize (most artistic) in Springfield in 1942 Second Prize in Detroit in 1940 Mrs. Mary Gasparik" [sic] suggests that it is possible that the Gasperik 1938 Tree of Life could have been the runner-up to Mrs. Voelker's Tree of Life!

Administrative Fields

InstNameF003
Gasperik Collection
InstProjNameF003a
Mary Gasperik Private Collection
InstInvContrNumF004
065c

Information source fields

IdentPersonF006
Blood relative of quiltmaker
Author/researcher
SourceOtherF006a
Grand-daughter
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
Tree of Life - detail
OwnerNameF010
Tree of Life (Karen)
OverallWidthF12a
81 inches
OverallLengthF012b
90 inches
ShapeEdgeF013
Scalloped
ShapeCornersF013b
Rounded
PredomColorsF014
Yellow
Orange
Green
Cream
Brown
Beige or Tan
OverallColorF14b
Dark colors
Multicolor
OverCondF015
Excellent/like new
TypeInscripF019
Date
ContInscripF020
1942
DateInscripF020a
1942
MethodInscripF021
In the quilting
OtherLocInscripF022a
On the front in the upper part of the center panel, running parallel to the curved stem ending in the small blue flower.
DateQuiltF023
1930-1949
DateFinishF023b
1942
FamDateF023c
1942
OtherDateF023e
Merikay Waldvogel
DateInfoF023f
Although the McCall pattern on which this quilt is based was published in 1931 it continued to be offered at least until 1934. The earliest Gasperik Tree of Life quilts appear in a family photograph dated 1935.

Quilt top description

LayFormatF024
Medallion or framed center
SubjQuiltF025
Tree of Life
NumBordersF033
One
BordDescF034
Wide border on four sides frames the center panel.

Quilt top materials and construction

FiberTypesF035
Cotton
FabPrintF037
Solid/plain
Print
ConstrucF038b
Hand Applique
ConstrucF038g
Embroidery
UniqueF039a
The blue birds now wear embroidered crowns.

Quilt back materials and construction

FabFiberTypesF040
Cotton
ColorBackingF040b
Beige or Tan
DescBackF043
Solid/plain

Quilt binding

MatUsedF044
Cotton
ConstrucBindF046
Bias grain
WidthBindF047
less than a half inch

Quilt batting

MatUsedF048
Cotton
BattLoftF048a
Thin (Less than 3/16")

Quilting description

QuiltTechF049
Hand quilting
ThrColorF049b
white
KnotsF051b
no
DesignF052a
Clamshell
Grid diamond
DesignF052b
Floral
Feathering
Other
DesignF052c
Grid/crosshatch
DesignF052d
A wide feather band frames the sides of the center panel. Embedded in the interior cross-hatched diamond background are a squirrel and 3 more birds.

Quilt notes and observations

FeaturesF053
Two of the oak leaves on the lower branch appear to be left-overs from Gasperik's 1939 quilt 'Road to Recovery' (#066)

Quiltmaker identification

QuiltTopF054
Gasperik, Mary
QuiltedByF055
Gasperik, Mary

Quilt provenance

LocMadeF057a
Chicago
ProvCountyF057b
Cook County
ProvStateF057d
Illinois (IL)
ProvCountryF057f
United States
AcquiredF058
Gift
ProvenanceF058a
Elsie brought this quilt to Karen in 1968-69 as a gift from Gasperik.

Quilt purposes uses

ReasonsF060
Art or personal expression
QDesignF060b
Artwork/wall hanging
PresUseF062
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: Pattern
CommSourceF064b
McCall #1853 Crewelwork Pattern/Tree of Life published in McCall Decorative Arts and Needlework 1931-1932.
CommSourceF065b
Feather band on right and left side - See #C5576 in "Aunt Martha's Answer to ‘How Shall I Quilt It?’”
AddNotesF066
Gasperik not only added more applique pattern elements to the McCall suggestions, she also made her designs more complicated by subdividing suggested pattern elements. This subdividing allowed her to greatly expand her palette of fabrics, especially noticeable on the two birds. The purple print with white stars found in the upper left flower of this 'Tree of Life' quilt, also appears in two of the Gasperik 'Indiana Wreath' quilts, perhaps helping to date them.

Exhibition history of quilt

ExhibitListF067a
"The Quilts of Mary Gasperik" Ravenswood Historic Site, Livermore, CA, March 14-15, 1992. It is likely this quilt was sent to an Illinois State Fair. Springfield.

Contests entered

ContestListF071a
A handwritten yellow paper exhibit tag (most likely from a Tuley Park quilt show) reads: "Tree of Life First Prize (most artistic) in Springfield in 1942 Second Prize in Detroit in 1940 Mrs. Mary Gasperik" an added note in Elsie's handwriting reads "to ECK to Linda". This would mean that a Gasperik Tree of Life won second prize to the grand-prize-winning quilt in Detroit that year which was also a Tree of Life design (made by Mrs. Charles Voelker). A second yellow paper tag reads "Tree of Life First Prize - Most Artistic 1942 Springfield Made by Mrs. Gasparik" [sic]. An annotation in Elsie's handwriting reads "To ECK to Karen". A Detroit News article from the 1940 quilt show confirms that Gasperik won a second prize, but does not describe or name that winning quilt.

Quilt ownership and contact info

OwnershipF082
Private
OwnerNameF082a
Karen Krueger Finn
OwnerCountryF086b
United States
SourceInfoF088b
Susan Krueger Salser

Other source materials available for this quilt

RelItemsF088a
Pattern envelope (including contents with yarn color chart) McCall #1853 Crewel Tree of Life - Susan Salser private collection. The family has Gasperik's own copy of the McCall Kaumagraph #1853 pattern (printed in black and white). Complete Catalogue of McCall Designs, Dec. 1931 (private collection of Susan Salser), Letter from Gasperik's niece Vilma McClure to Susan Salser, dated Jan. 9, 1994 refers to the Gasperik 'Tree of Life' quilts (she calls the design "the family tree quilt"): "About your mother. She helped design many of the quilts. I particularly remember the family tree quilt. I saw it in the making. I think your mother designed that one. Elsie was most pleased that her mother had such a passion for making quilts. Indeed, Aunt Mary didn't do anything else - literally! Your mother went to Hazelcrest and cleaned her mother's house and did her wash on a regular basis." (private collection – Susan Salser) The Detroit News, May 25, 1940 p.4 "Quilt Beautiful as a Painting Wins Its Skilled Maker $50" by Garnet Warfel, features the grand-prize-winning Tree of Life made by Mrs. Charles Voelker and also mentions Mary Gasperik took second prize at the show. Unfortunately the article does not name or describe the prize-winning Gasperik quilt. The family has Gasperik’s own newspaper clipping. McCall Needlework Magazine, "Prize-Winning Quilt" Spring & Summer 1950 also features the Voelker Tree of Life.

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
Self-Taught
From guild or club member
WhenQuiltF118
Age 40-49
WhyQuiltF119
Pleasure
Other
OtherF119a
Mary Gasperik made quilts because it was her life passion and greatest talent. As opportunities arose, she entered contests and exhibited them publicly. She also made special quilts for her family.

Quiltmakers Membership in quilting group

NameGroupF120
Tuley Park Quilt Club, Detroit News Quilt Club Corner
LocGroupF121
Southside Chicago and Detroit MI
SpecialGroupF122
Chicago group met to quilt and held periodic quilt shows; Detroit group held national exhibits and contests.

Other quilts made by quiltmaker

NumQuiltsF123
more than 50
SellQuiltF127
no
TeachF129
no

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
065c
ImageConF075a
Detail: Blue bird and squirrel quilting
ImageTypeF076
Color
SourceF077
CD-ROM
DateF079
3
1
1992
CE
photocredit079a1
Don Gonzalez
DigDateF079a
1
2008
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
12
27
2008
CE

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