Grandmother Clark, St. Louis, Missouri

W. L. M. Clark, Inc., in St. Louis marketed needlework, rug, and quiltmaking patterns and supplies for at least twenty years.  The earliest magazine ad that I have found for Grandmother Clark and quilts is May 1931 in Needlecraft, the Magazine of Home Arts (Vickery & Hill, Augusta, ME), and department store ads for Grandmother Clark's fast color quilt patches, "enough for one quilt," began to appear in newspapers that summer.

The company published four quilt pattern pamphlets.  The patterns are numbered chronologically from book to book -- #1 through #97 -- but there are actually 95 designs because one has three numbers assigned to it (53, 54, and 55 in Book 21 for Star of the East in 9", 12", and 18" blocks).  One quilting pattern pamphlet was also published.

Grandmother Clark's Patchwork Quilt Designs.  Book No. 20.  ©1931.
Grandmother Clark's Oldfashioned Quilt Designs.  Book No. 21.  ©1931.
Grandmother Clark's Quilting Designs.  Book No. 22.  ©1932.
Grandmother Clark's Authentic Early American Patchwork Quilts.  Book No. 23.  ©1932.
Grandmother Clark's Patchwork Quilts.  Book No. 19.  ©1932.

Only one new quilt pattern was included in Book 19 -- #97 Colonial Garden.  The remaining patterns were taken from Books 20 and 23.  Selected patterns from the quilt books were also marketed in 4-page and 8-page auxiliary pamphlets through Sears Roebuck and others.

Grandmother Clark ads appeared as a syndicated feature in various periodicals throughout much of the 1930s including Royal NeighborHome Friend Magazine, and several newspapers.  In Royal Neighbor, the Grandmother Clark ads ran from September 1933 through early 1938.  A variety of embroidered and appliqued quilt designs were offered in these ads that are not in the quilt pattern pamphlets.

 

"Grandmother Clark's" changed to "Grandmother's"

In 1938 or 1939, "Clark" was omitted from the byline and all of the needlework material that had been known as "Grandmother Clark's" became known simply as "Grandmother's." Although the original copyright dates were never changed, the earliest confirmed date presently known for this name change is the Fall and Winter 1939-1940 Frederick Herrschner Catalog No. 59.

Grandmother's quiltmaking supplies continued to be marketed in 1950, including Books 20, 21, 23, and a package of perforated quilting patterns.  These four items are listed in the 1949-1950 Frederick Herrschner Catalog 73.

W. L. M. Clark, Inc., in St. Louis has sometimes been confused with J. & P. Coats and Clark's O. N. T. products from the Spool Cotton Company, Newark, NJ, in the 1940s with offices in New York City.  Spool Cotton changed its name to Coats & Clark, Inc., in the mid-1950s.

 

© Wilene Smith, February 26, 2011, all rights reserved

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