QUILT HISTORY STORIES
CHICAGO’S CENTURY OF PROGRESS EXPOSITION
SEARS NATIONAL QUILT CONTEST
The Quilt Fair Comes to You
This booklet contains illustrations of quilt items which you can create or order from Aunt Martha c/o Home Friend, Kansas City, Missouri. The Broken Star and Lone Star are just two of the many quilt patterns featured in the catalog. Jack and Clara Tillotson of Kansas City started the company which published this booklet under the name Colonial Readicut Quilt Block Company in the 1930s.
The “Aunt Martha” company has undergone a number of name changes over the years:
Colonial Readicut Quilt Block Company (1930s)
Colonial Pattern Company (1930s)
Modern Handcraft (1940s)
Branches of the Company were:
- Aunt Martha – Newspaper and Magazine Column Syndication for selling patterns.
- WORKBASKET (Magazine) - The initial name of the magazine was AUNT MARTHA’S WORKBASKET, but it was changed after a few issues to WORKBASKET. “The best time for quilt patterns in this publication – 1935-1940.”
- Aunt Ellen – Quilt patterns (and at least three mail-order Catalogs) sold through WORKBASKET under the name Aunt Ellen.
The names Aunt Martha and Aunt Ellen were fictional, consumer-friendly names used by the company to sell their products and Aunt Martha “became better known than the Colonial Pattern Company.”
For More information about Aunt Martha and all of its incarnations:
1980 American Quilt Study Group Research Paper
Brackman, Barbara. “Midwestern Pattern Sources.” UNCOVERINGS 1980, 1 (1980) :3-12.
Check This Out
Thanks to the work of Quilt Historian Leigh Fellner you will find online access to full-sized scans of the “entire” interior and exterior of this book at her Hart Cottage Quilts web site. Thank you Leigh for sharing your link and making this book available to all of us.
SEARS CENTURY OF PROGRESS IN QUILTMAKING
Chicago, Illinois: Sears Roebuck and Company, 1934.
This book is a combination of information and patterns which appeared in quilts in the 1933 Sears National Quilt Contest. It was created in association with the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago, Illinois. Topics covered include: Quilt Making: A Romantic Legacy of Ancient Arts, Sears for Quilt Supplies, Perforated Quilting Patterns, What’s Worth Doing is Worth Doing Well; A few “do’s” and “don’ts,” Stencil Diagrams and Actual Quilting.
Quilt Patterns Featured:
Bowl of Flowers
Colonial Rose (and Colonial Rose Border)