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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Celebriquilt: 1937

Celebriquilt: 1937

August 17, 1937. "Joseph's coat of many colors had nothing on this unique quilt which is now being completed by Mrs. Ethel Sampson of Evanston, Ill., after six years of collecting. Parts of wearing apparel from President Roosevelt, Mrs. Roosevelt, members of the Cabinet, diplomats and notables from all over. From Hollywood, Bing Crosby sent a tie while Mae West and Shirley Temple contributed parts of dresses. Former Emperor Haile Selassie's neckties and a linen of Windsor are also included on the quilt. Diapers from the Dionne Quintuplets are also prominently displayed." Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Historical Crazy Quilt on Display

The Ethel Sampson Historical Crazy Quilt is in the collection of the Evanston History Center in Evanston, Illinois. Ethel Sampson spent most of her time making this quilt in Evanston and it was donated to the institution in the 1960s by her family after she died. The quilt is a really fantastic piece of work, that captures the history of celebrities and the culture of her time. The quilt will be going on display for the first time on May 6, 2011.

Hollywood Moment

Marjorie Main sewing Flora Robson's patch to the quilt.

Laptops and laptops

When someone mentioned a "laptop" I started looking for a computer! It's a good example of how the language changes.

Henry McGee

from the Benny Hill Show stopped by to give Mrs. Sampson a hand!

And the crowning touch...

... the head of Dr. Zachary Smith from "Lost in Space".

I have to admit

That is an interesting names, but like a previous writer mentioned, it is Pure T UGLY!

Quilt scenario

Mrs. Susan Fitzugh of Mount Vernon, Ill. took a carefully folded quilt to St. Louis, Mo. to the Antique Roadshow. This quilt has been in her family for decades, crafted carefully by her great-great grandmother. She and her friends that traveled with her were floored when Susan was told that the quilt should be insured for about $225,000.

Sorry, Mrs. Sampson

And with due apologies to all your descendants who may be perusing these comments, but that has to be the ugliest quilt that has graced these pages in, well, forever.

A stitch in time

I wonder, whatever became of that quilt? Was it handed down to her descendants?

Gams Enclosed

Those legs give me the creeps! Although I'm sure there is a chair under the person, you can't see it and the legs appear to be just floating there! Perhaps Shirley Temple mailed her legs along with the fabric swatch!

A Stitch in Time

Does anyone know the whereabouts of Mrs. Sampson's quilt today? Since the reference in the New Yorker described it as a "historical crazy quilt," I would hope that efforts were made to preserve it for the unique collage of history it represents, as well as it being folk art.

We have a few quilts in my family from this same time period and they are worth a small fortune - especially to consider they were made of rags. I wonder what the value of Mrs. Sampson's quilt would be now?

Notes From the Provinces

Looks like this quilt got a mention in the New Yorker, in 1942:

Out in Chicago, a Mrs. Ethel Sampson is working on a "historical crazy quilt," built up of swatches from the Quintuplets diapers, the neckties of President Roosevelt and Vice-President Wallace, Wrong-Way Corrigan, Charles Evans Hughes, Haile Selassie, Charles McCarthy, and the late Senator Bora, to say nothing of pieces of dresses worn by Jane Adams, Mae West, Shirley Temple and Amelia Earhart. She is now begging for something worn by General MacArthur, and we hope she gets it. Whenever we begin to fear for the future, we'll switch our thoughts to that quilt and to a woman slapping up and down with her hands full of hammers, her mind full of hell and song.

The Case of the Disembodied Legs

I guess that would be the envelope Shirley Temple mailed her swatch in, over on that laptop.

Outsider Art

A classic example.

Recycled Materials

A quilt made with used diapers? How, er, unique!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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