Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Eveline Foland--No Longer a Mystery Woman

Memory Bouquet, pattern by Eveline Foland,

Quilt by Bozena Vilhemina Clarke

Museum at Michigan State University

I called Eveline Foland the Mystery Designer in my short biographies of Kansas City Star quilt designers because she disappeared abruptly from the newspaper in December, 1932.

Page from last year's Kansas City Star Quilts Sampler 

My friend Louise Townsend and I had spent a lot of time in the early 1980s trying to find out what happened to her. I'd learned a little by interviewing Kansas City quilt designer Marguerite Weaver who'd worked at the Aunt Martha Studios. Wilene Smith had found a little more. But genealogy was tough back then, especially tracking women who changed their names, women like Eveline Alice Smith Foland Kline. (Smith as a maiden name didn't help us out either.)

I got into quilt patterns in the 1960s when
I was just out of college and found a package
of several hundred Kansas City Star clippings
at a thrift store. Louise and I spent many happy
afternoons trading and filing our patterns.

My favorites were those signed Eveline Foland
(pronounced Ev' uh leen)

I loved her lettering styles

And all the squiggles indicating a print.

Although I occasionally worried that she didn't actually 
know much about making quilts. That piece at the top left???

I decided I would make her "Memory Bouquet" sampler. So moderne!

Louise published her history "Kansas City Star Quilt Patterns" in Uncoverings 1985. Foland's first pattern appeared in March, 1929 alternating with Ruby Short McKim's designs. In the next couple of years she published 131 patterns, about twice as many as McKim. The Star published about 1,000 patterns between 1928 and 1961.

Eveline Alice Smith Foland was a professional artist who attended the Kansas City Art Institute in 1910. Louise found that she was a fashion illustrator for the Star as well as a pattern designer.

Louise traced her departure from quilt designing to December, 1932 when a defective Pilot's Wheel pattern was published without any pattern pieces. Apparently, no artist was on hand to proofread the feature. They reprinted the design a few weeks later with the templates but only half of Foland's signature.

Her last pattern was published in the Star on
December 31st (and in the sister paper The Weekly Star Farmer a week later.)
You still get the feeling she was a bit confused about piecework, what with that V-shaped pieced.

Where did she go?
Jane Hayes Gates Institute
1920 Independence Avenue

We figured out she continued to publish as a freelance fashion artist and took a position as a teacher at a girl's vocational school in Kansas City. The Jane Hayes Gates Institute, established in 1917 by Kansas City real-estate millionaire Lemuel Gates in memory of his wife, taught commercial art, home economics and other marketable skills until it merged with Manual High School in 1940. We also guessed Eveline was divorced from husband James E. Foland.

Marriage License August 18, 1944
Orange County, Florida
Thanks to FamilySearch.com

And at the Gates Institute she remained until recent on-line genealogy and newspaper sites opened new avenues. Jim Carroll and Bonnie Ingram wrote me that they both made good use of those files to find she remarried and became Eveline Alice Smith Foland Kline. Since then we can find a lot more about her. What would drive Louise crazy if she were here today is that when we were doing all that research on her in 1983 Eveline was still around to talk to, living in Florida and California. Eveline died in 1985 at the age of 92 although she was telling people she was 82 (did not go to the Art Institute at the age of 7).

A picture of Eveline in 1962 when she
lived in Apopka, Florida. I bet she hadn't changed much
from her days in Kansas City. She could
probably get away with shaving ten years off her age.

So here's some more of the paper trail (digital trail) for the Mystery Designer. The 1930 census found her living with James E. Foland, a salesman for "ventilating systems" and their 4-year old son James E (Elliott---note they indicated: "adopted son.")  

Parents' tombstone in Union Cemetery, Kansas City

She listed her birthplace as Missouri, said her parents were from "English Canada" and she admitted to having been born in 1893. Jim Carroll found her parents were Elliott Francis and Lily Louisa Whitelaw Smith. Her father died in 1933 when she lived in Kansas City and her mother in 1943.

She married James Evert Foland (b in 1884) on June 29, 1922, his second wife. 

Foland's first wife Anna Quinn Foland seems to have fallen for their Romanian boarder.

1920 Census, James Foland, wife Anna. her son by a previous marriage
and James Dubois, the lodger.

A small drama in two digital files.

Six months after James married Eveline, Anna married the lodger James H. DuBois.
We are not following that couple down life's highway.

Eveline moved to Chicago in the summer of 1936 where the 1940 census found her living in a boarding house with 14-year old son James Elliott. Divorced, Occupation: Commercial artist with "own business." Not easy during the depression. She may have been traveling between Kansas City and Chicago. During the 1930s she also belonged to the North Shore Art Guild.

Ex-husband James E. Foland was still in Kansas City, also
living in a boarding house at 1818 Main Street.

You get the feeling James did not survive the Great Depression and his post-Eveline life with much success. He died in 1951 at the age of 67.

Eveline's second act as a younger woman in a happier marriage in a warmer clime: The 1945 Florida census records her living with second husband Howard Lewis Kline and 14-year-old son Jimmy in Orange County, Florida. Howard was ten years younger (reason for her white lies?) He'd also been married before, with a divorce from Isabella Z. Kline the year before he married Eveline and had a daughter. He was from Pennsylvania.

The Klines lived at Lake Pleasant, Apopka, Florida, northwest of Orlando and lived the suburban life. Jimmy grew up and moved to Miami where he worked at Seaquarium.

A glimpse of Eveline getting a garden club show together.
Her specialty, miniature and dish gardens.

Howie and Eveline got their names in the paper for vacations, parties, garden club prizes, visits from grandchildren and strangely enough, a brush with rock and roll royalty as her sister's granddaughter Lynda Sperry married BeachBoy musician Al Jardine.

Eveline died on June 23, 1985, possibly in Alhambra, California. I have yet to find her grave. Howard Kline lived till 1988.

Of course I could go on. It's fun for me to find out so much about her and remember how Louise, Joyce Gross, Cuesta Benberry and I enjoyed gossiping and tracking the quilt designers and how frustrated we were with Eveline Smith. 

I can imagine why Eveline was so elusive after her move to Chicago. Her Kansas City life during the depression was probably something she wanted to forget.  She remained an artist with occasional references to Florida exhibits. And much as I love her quilt designs, I think it was a career that did not interest her that much. 

Read Louise O. Townsend's history of the Star patterns in Uncoverings at the Quilt Index:

My Memory Bouquet Quilt from Eveline's patterns.


  1. Quite interesting...appreciate your work and enjoy reading the posts.

  2. I have those patterns that my Grandmother tore out of a newspaper in Nebraska! Such interesting history!!

  3. Love your genealogy work, and your quilt is a masterpiece! Thanks so much for your posts!

  4. Loved this follow up story! I remember seeing that classy signature.

  5. Barbara,

    Mrs. Kline was buried in Glen Haven Memorial Park, Winter Park, Florida.

    That detail was in a death notice in the Orlando Sentinel.

    I have left the bio open, except for a link to this blog post.


  6. understand anne perfectly...Romanian boarders difficult to resist...LOL...excellent tracking!

  7. Well done Sherlock - mystery solved! A fun read!

  8. another fascinating evening read. Thanks Barbara; always a delight

  9. I love what we can do in genealogy today with sites like Ancestry and Family Search. I had not thought of looking up favorite quilt designers of the past, but I find a lot about ancestors, some of whom I didn't know were mine! This was as fascinating a story as I've ever found, and I wish I could have known this woman who landed so often on her feet, no matter what life threw at her.

  10. Fascinating lady! I made a red work version of Memory Bouquet several years ago and led a group of ladies that also made the quilt. Some used batiks, 30"s, or 1800's repros. It was fun to try to figure out just what kind of flowers we were making!--some of her designs are pretty abstract.

  11. I researched Eveline (Smith)Foland Kline back in the early 2000s and have images of the marriage licenses, social security application and death certificate for Eveline and several of her family members in my files. This is how I found out she changed her birthday by 10 years. I did visit her niece Marjorie out in California in 2006. I think I wrote to you about my studies back then.

  12. What splendid detective work! It's interesting to note quilt makers/designers who quit. (I've looked up more than one person featured in 70/80's issues of Quilters Newsletter.)

  13. Howard Kline died on July 3, 1976 according to his death certificate, and is buried at Glen Haven Memorial Park in Winter Park, FL. Eveline passed on June 23, 1985 in Los Angeles at the Huntington Memorial Hospital. She was living at the Alhambra Episcopal Home for 4 years prior to her death. Her death certificate gives her correct DOB of 22Jan1893, whereas her application for her SS# gives her DOB as 22Jan1903.

  14. This is so timely for me. I recently had a quilt I knew nothing about verbally appraised at our local quilt show. I found out that the quilt is from the 1930s and was made from the Memory Bouquet pattern. Every block is included in this quilt, including the border design. The only difference from the picture of the completed quilt posted in the Kansas City Star in June 1931 is mine does not have a scalloped border. As a fairly new quilter I was intrigued and trying to find out more of the history of the pattern designer. Thanks for sharing your findings!

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