Quilt Index Record:
Mary Gasperik Private CollectionInstInvContrNumF004
Information source fieldsIdentPersonF006
Blood relative of quiltmaker
Sister of quilt owner.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 DescriptionTypeObjF008
Colonial Quilting Bee - Hungarian flag quiltmakerOwnerNameF010
Colonial Quilting Bee, The Betsy Ross QuiltOverallWidthF12a
Light or pastel colorsOverCondF015
Not known; pattern possibly collected as early as 1936.DateFinishF023b
Not known; possibly finished after the May 1940 (6th) Detroit News Quilt Show.FamDateF023c
Salser believes the quilt was made for the 7th Detroit News Quilt Show, a show which was never held.
Quilt top descriptionLayFormatF024
One wide yellow-gold outer border. Just inside this, an inner solid white quilted border frames the central field.
Quilt top materials and constructionFiberTypesF035
Quilt back materials and constructionFabFiberTypesF040
less than a half inch
Thin (Less than 3/16")
When Elsie Krueger died in 1988 and her three daughters divided their mother's share of Gasperik quilts, Linda had first pick. This was her choice.
Quilt purposes usesReasonsF060
Mary's grandchildren regard her quilts as a unique collection to be preserved and appreciated.
Quilt design and materials sourcesSourceMatF063
Quilters viewed from side are patterns copied from Detroit News quilt show club ticket. Miniature star in miniature quilt is traditional pattern 'Harvest Sun' executed in the traditional colors.CommSourceF064b
Quilter with slanted feather-pointed hat is The Detroit News "Lady Making Patch Quilt Silhouette" 115-12-14-28. PattSourceF065
H. Ver Mehren, Needleart Guild, Rose KretsingerCommSourceF065b
Ver Mehren Q517B/Needleart Guild #88 & #93; quilted grape clusters are taken from Plate V, p 276 Hall/Kretsinger The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in America (Quilting Designs from Rose Kretsinger)AddNotesF066
An unusually large array of different print fabrics are found on this quilt, making it an ideal choice to compare with fabrics found in other Gasperik quilts, particularly the Tree of Life quilts (#031, #044 and #065) and Hungarian Girls (#014).
Exhibition history of quiltExhibitListF067a
"The Quilts of Mary Gasperik", Ann Anastasio, Curator, Ravenswood Historic Site /Livermore (CA) Area Recreation & Park District, March 14-15, 1992.
"Cornucopia of Quilts: A Juried/ Judged Quilt Exhibition and Month-Long Series of Lectures & Workshops", University City, Missouri, October 1993.
Exhibited in the American Quilt Legacy showcase at The American History Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 2005-2006.
Surprisingly, there is no evidence this quilt was entered in either the Detroit News Quilt Shows or the Illinois State Fair.
In October 1993, it won first prize in the "Antique" category in "Cornucopia of Quilts" in University City, MO.
Salser believes Mary Gasperik included this quilt with quilts she submitted to contests sponsored by downtown Chicago department stores (Marshall Fields in 1942 and Mandel Brothers in 1956).
Quilt ownership and contact infoOwnershipF082
Linda Krueger MacLachlanOwnerCountryF086b
Other source materials available for this quiltRelItemsF088a
Detroit News Quilt Club logos - Silhouettes of sideviews of young woman quilting.
Clipping Detroit News (January 16, 1936) features story and photos of Mrs. Miller and her quilt, on which Gasperik based hers.
Four letters sent by Edith B. Crumb to Mary Gasperik:
1) December 23,1937 (a holiday greetings letter)
2) November 16, 1938 (about recent Detroit quilt show)
3) December 26, 1939 (a holiday greetings letter)
4) May 3, 1940 (about Mary's intention to attend the upcoming Detroit show and mentioning the Gasperik 'Hungarian Girls' quilt).
Photo (circa 1969-1972) Elsie Gasperik Krueger with daughters Karen, Linda and Susan in Chicago with Colonial Quilting Bee prior to Elsie's dividing up quilts with her brother Elmer.
Videotape (March 1992) by Jeffrey Finn and catalog of "Quilts of Mary Gasperik" at Ravenswood Historic Site/Livermore (CA), March 14-15, 1992.
Photo (August 2005) Mary Gasperik's grand-daughters standing in front of American Quilt Legacy showcase displaying 'Colonial Quilting Bee' at the Museum of American History/Smithsonian Institution Washington, DC. Also photographs of quilt information cards.
As of November 7, 2008 Salser has located the following Detroit News articles (listed in chronological order) which mention Mary Gasperik:
1) October 22, 1935, page 23, “Things Seen and Heard at the News’ Quilt Show”, by Edith B. Crumb. This is the first mention of the baseball story, it recounts how Gasperik sent quilts immediately and arrived unexpectedly, and it also records the name and address “Mary Gasperik, 9314 Cottage Grove, Chicago IL.” as a Club member, for the first time it is believed, under an inset column called “These Members Belong to Quilt Club Corner”
2) November 7, 1936, page 12 “Many Cornerites Attended Our Sewing Circle Friday” by Edith B. Crumb. “Mrs. Arthur Miller had a letter from Mrs. Mary Gasperick [sic], one of our Chicago members, and Mrs. Gasperick is planning on sending four quilts to the next show. When she finds out that it won’t be held until April, perhaps she will be able to send six or seven. We hope so, don’t we?”
January 16, 1936 page 27 article “But One Redhead Appears in This Prim Sewing Bee” by Edith B. Crumb, pictures and describes the quilt made by Mrs. Arthur Miller which probably inspired this Gasperik quilt #034, but Gasperik, of course, is not mentioned.
3) February 11, 1936, page 24 “There Are 1467 Pieces in This Charming Top” by Edith B. Crumb. The first half of this column, and the pictured “Chicago Quilt Arrived Late” are devoted entirely to the subject of Mary Gasperik. The column retells the baseball story, reminds readers that Gasperik attended the last show, and mentions 3 Gasperik quilts (a black and white Double Feather Star, a red and white Double Feather Star under construction, and a Bridal Bouquet to be quilted after that).
4) September 20, 1938, page 12 “Bureau Open for Quilts on Wednesday” reads, in part: “Yesterday a letter was received from Mrs. Mary Gasperik, 9314 Cottage Grove avenue, Chicago, saying she is sending over five finished quilts and two tops and, of course, she is coming to the show too. Last year she spent three days with us and brought two of her friends with her.”
5) October 9, 1938, page 9 “Quilt Show Sets Record of 18,000 Visitors in Hall” by Garnet Warfel features Gasperik as follows: “All day crowds surrounded Mrs. Mary Gasperik of Chicago, winner of one of the big prizes for the best appliquéd quilt. Mrs. Gasperik was radiant as she and her friend, Mrs. W. J. Reynolds, who accompanied her here from Chicago, told of getting “connected” with the local show. A base ball fan, Mrs. Gasperik went to the opening Chicago game of the 1935 World Series. There by her seat she found a Detroit News and read about Miss Crumb’s Quilt Club. The next year Mrs. Gasperik came to the quilt show. She came back in 1937 with four quilts to exhibit. She received four honorable mentions. This year she took a big prize. Mrs. Gasperik is Hungarian, but has lived in America 32 years.”
6) October 22, 1938, page 11 "Club Members Settle Down to Long Winter of Quilting" Pictures Gasperik Hungarian Girl quilt block and describes its construction in some detail (see quilt #14 for full text of description of that block). The article includes the statement: "Mrs. Arthur Miller said she had lots of letters about her quilt with the little patchwork ladies gathered around the little quilt." This indicates that Gasperik probably saw the Miller quilt in October 1938 (as well as at the May 1940 Detroit Quilt Show), raising the possibility that she began to make her version of the Miller quilt earlier than 1940. Gasperik may have been working on Colonial Quilting Bee and Hungarian Girls simultaneously rather than sequentially. These were two projects which required extremely intense and detailed work. Perhaps the job was made easier by periodically switching back and forth from one project to the other.
7) May 24, 1940, page 4 continuation of page 1 “Quilt Show Doors Open, no byline. “COMES FROM CHICAGO Another quilt comes from a Hungarian woman living in Chicago, Mrs. Mary Gasparik [sic]. It depicts her own life in this country from the time of her arrival in 1927 [sic – the year should be 1905). Mrs. Gasparik will be among a bus load of women coming to the show from Chicago. One of the lovely quilts shown is the patchwork lady design made by Mrs. Marjorie Miller. A real tiny quilt forms the center, being a quilt within a quilt and the patchwork ladies are seated about the center quilt, sewing away for dear life – each lady a little different in dress, coiffure, etc.”
7) May 25, 1940 page 4 “Quilt Beautiful as a Painting Wins Its Skilled Maker $50” by Garnet Warfel: “Mrs. Mary Gasparik [sic] of 9314 Cottage Grove avenue, Chicago, a prize winner of last year, won second prize, and Mrs. Arthur Miller, 12251 St. Mary’s avenue, won third prize with her lovely patchwork ladies’ quilt.”
8) May 28, 1940 page # not recorded, “Complete List Given of Quilt Show Winners” no byline: “Runners up in the finished appliqué group were Mrs. Mary Gasperik, 9314 Cottage Grove avenue, Chicago, Ill., and Mrs. Arthur Miller, 12251 St. Mary’s avenue.” Further on in this same article: “Children’s quilts selected by the judges were made by Mrs. H. Brinkman, 446 W. Golden Gate avenue… Mrs. Mary Gasperik, 9413 [sic] Cottage Grove avenue, Chicago, Ill…”
The 1940 show was the last Detroit News quilt show. Salser has not found any mention of Mary Gasperik (or additional quilt shows) in subsequent newspaper microfilm.
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 memberWhenQuiltF118
To exhibit in shows held by her Tuley Park quilt club in Chicago, the Detroit News quilt show in Detroit, many Illinois State Fairs, 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 groupNameGroupF120
Detroit News Quilt ClubLocGroupF121
Detroit, Michigan, but quilters who read the column were from various states.SpecialGroupF122
Readers shared patterns and ideas through the newspaper column and met at the annual quilt show.
Other quilts made by quiltmakerNumQuiltsF123
more than 50SellQuiltF127
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