Saturday, February 26, 2011

Newspaper Searches and The Needlecraft, Fancy Work, and Household Editors of National Magazines in 1929

Women Editors At Luncheon
Date: September 19, 1929
Paper: Springfield Republican (Masschusetts)

Every once in awhile I find a cool piece of information on my search for something else. I usually copy them off and put them in a file for use at a later date for me or for someone else. This is a 1929 newspaper clipping I found on a search for another piece of information. This newspaper clipping shares the names of the "movers and shakers" in the needlecraft, fancy work, and household editors departments of various national magazines geared towards women who love to "create" like us in the year 1929.

All of these ladies would make wonderful research projects. I know this piece is hard to read and I know that it looks like Ethel of Needlecraft is Bethel so check spellings on all of them.

All these ladies walked before us -- let's honor them and tell their stories!

Side Note:

There are other jewels like this hidden in newspaper archives waiting to be discovered.

Here are ways to do that:

Your local library's local newspaper access is usually free and sometimes they or a college in your area has access to pay services for historical databases for some of the largest newspapers in the United States such as the Historical Chicago Tribune Database which is free to patrons and people who stop into a library for a visit.

Try Google Newspaper and Google Newspaper Archives. This is a good resource for locating articles, but there are some restrictions as to what you can print off and what you can't and what you can access with a fee and without a fee. Try this out and you will see what I mean, but don't let me scare you off from this option - I use it all the time so try it.

The online databases that have a fee with them are:,, (which was associated with at one time, but I'm not sure if it still is),, and Proquest whch is usually only available through a public, private, or college/university library.

You can literally spend HOURS pouring through these newspapers - using names or keyword searches and yes there is buried treasure in all of them waiting just for you and your project.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Ladies of Farm Journal Magazine 1920s-1940s

There were random quilt articles in the early years of the magazine, but a winter quilt article, with and without a byline, began appearing on an annual basis in Farm Journal magazine in January 1921. Well received by the quiltmaking world, this once a year tradition continued until 1947. The byline Mabel Hoffecker Collins or Mabel H. Collins appeared in Farm Journal magazine in January 1934 and continued on when the publication absorbed The Farmer’s Wife and was renamed Farm Journal and Farmer’s Wife around 1939-40. The publication reverted back to its old name with Farm Journal with the August 1945 issue of the magazine.

With Mabel at the helm, quilt features appeared in the Farm Journal January issues from 1934-1938, changing to the February issue in 1939 and in the Farm Journal and Farmer’s Wife February issues from 1940-1947 when a regular annual quilt feature seems to end. It should be noted that an occasional unsigned rogue quilt article would be thrown into other issues for information or ad purposes, but not on a consistent basis like the Collins pieces. The name Mabel Hoffecker Collins or Mabel H. Collins only appeared in these very brief magazine articles, some might even call them ads, debuting quilt patterns and some of these same brief pieces were reprinted in various editions of Farm Journal and Farmer’s Wife Quilt Patterns Old and New quilt pattern service catalogs and help date the different editions of these booklets.

There are still lots of questions that need to be answered concerning Ms. Collins. Was Mabel Hoffecker Collins a real person who was brought in as a free-lancer for quilt articles or a regular part of the staff? Was she a “consumer friendly” name for a variety of people within the company who filled mail-order request for quilt patterns in the tradition of Virginia Snow of Elgin, Illinois or Grandmother Clark of St. Louis, Missouri?

Was Collins a pen name for the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania magazine’s Household Editor Mary Ross Reynolds whose personal papers can be found in the Michigan State Library Special Collections Department and with the Florence Hollis and Bethany Ross Reynolds Papers at the Five College Archive and Manuscript Collections? Along with Florence LaGanke Harris and Mrs. Ellen E. Webster, Reynolds was asked to be a judge in the Second National Patchwork Quilt Contest conducted by the Eastern States Exposition home department in September 1933. Mrs. Reynolds retired from Farm Journal Magazine in 1947, which was the last year for the annual quilt feature in the magazine. Rogue quilt articles appeared after that date, but never with the byline Mabel Hoffecker Collins.

The name Jane Moreland was also featured with fashion articles and patterns during this time period in myriad issues of this same farm magazine and at least one quilt article (January 1932 – page 11) prior to Mabel’s appearance on the scene in 1934. Could Jane have done double duty in the fashion and quilt departments?

Real person or pen name, Mabel Hoffecker Collins remains a bit of a mystery. Mabel’s story is a project-in-the-making for a researcher who specializes in Pennsylvania (Farm Journal and Farm Journal and Farmer’s Wife) quilt history or has an interest in quilt designers who appeared in farm related publications.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

T. Buettner and Company Quilt Kit Garden of Flowers No. 3323

The nice thing about having a blog and a web site is hearing from people especially when they share stories and photos about “their treasures” and then agree to allow me to share them with you.

An e-mail came to me from Barbara Hofrichter about a completed T. Buettner and Company of Chicago, Illinois quilt kit.

Barbara shares, “I have a quilt that says copyrighted 1933 TBandCo Chicago on the label. It is named Garden of Flowers and it asked for NUNs thread. My grandmother was German and English and she might have ordered the kit from a magazine or paper. I am trying to find out more. The quilt kit number is 3323.”

The original quilter’s name was Harriet Borman Luth and Barbara is in the beginning stages of her research on this project. Barbara welcomes e-mails with any additional information about Harriet Borman Luth or T. Buettner and Company of Chicago, Illinois. Her e-mail contact information is Barbara Hofrichter

About T. Buettner and Co., Inc.
Chicago, Illinois, New York, New York, and Hamburg, Germany

My two articles on this company can be found at my Illinois Quilt History Web Site:

“T. Buettner and Co., Inc.”

“T. Buettner and Co., Inc. Catalogs and Instruction Books”