Friday, January 19, 2024

Better Living In The World of Tomorrow, 1939

Embroidery with the fair's symbol

The New York World's Fair in 1939 was continued into 1940, open from spring to fall each year. In the second year the Fair sponsored a quilt contest America Through the Needle's Eye. See information about that official contest at the last post:
Barbara Brackman's MATERIAL CULTURE: Quilt Contests: 1939-1940 New York World's Fair

The year before Good Housekeeping magazine and Macy's Department Store had sponsored a contest on the Fair theme of Better Living In The World of Tomorrow.

Reba Grice Simms (1905-1972) entered that contest 
with her original design quilted by her mother Lulu Grice's 
friends in Headland, Alabama. This is one of the few published
references I can find about the contest but no idea of what
Reba's original design looked like.

Family from FindaGrave: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/213010522/reba-g-grice

Original designs were required---an innovation at the time when for years contests had focused on antiques and the "oldest quilt" entered.

I do not have a good copy of the magazine's announcement of the winners in their August, 1939 issue.
This is Merikay Waldvogel's. She indicates that Good Housekeeping sold patterns for these three.

Needlework designer Anne Orr wrote the article so she must have had something to do with the contest (and drawing the patterns?)

Gladys Bean Smith made a copy of the third-place winner.

Mary Gasparik of Chicago entered her original design Road to Prosperity (at the right), on exhibit here  this winter at the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Somewhere I came across this photo of a quilt
attributed to Emma Hoerner of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.

She must have made her original design for that 1939 competition.
Portraits of George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt and
appliances of the era...

Transportation progress
Her inspiration may have been the many quilts made for the
1933 World's Fair in Chicago where the theme
 included A Century of Progress in Transporation.

Mamie Lettie Moore Andrews (1879-1945)

Susan Price Miller remembered this entry pictured in the book Mississippi Quilts

Thanks to Susan and her impressive memory.

1 comment:

  1. Recently saw in (an antique store) a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt which contained hexagons made from what appeared to be vintage fabric printed with “1939 NYC World Fair” and people/ building images. After reading this post, I probably should have bought the quilt.