Hetty Winthrop

The Hetty Winthrop Quilt Pattern Service was distributed in the United States through Bell Syndicate (New York City) as both a daily and a weekly feature from 1932-1933 to 1938-1939, and in Canada through Dominion News Bureau (Montreal, Quebec) from 1934-1935 to 1939-1940.

The Hetty Winthrop byline is best known from the pages of the Chicago Daily News but was also published by The Trader (Oklahoma City), Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), and Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA).  The identity of the pattern company responsible for the byline and its patterns is not yet known.  When found, the pattern mailer envelopes will probably help identify the pattern company.

Clippings from the Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA) state that "a new quilt pattern will appear daily, except Sunday."  The headline survives on just one clipping (illustrated here):  "QUILT PATTERNS -- New Practical Designs By HETTY WINTHROP."  Copyright dates are 1933 and 1934.

Until the Spokane clippings were acquired recently, only patterns numbered 1 through 41 were known, all attributed to Chicago Daily News clippings.  Although clippings for four numbers are missing, the Spokane clippings revealed additional patterns numbered through 78, and also revealed a mystery for several of the first 41 numbers--the designs had been changed.  For example, #12 in the Daily News is May Basket, a pieced design, but became Morning Glory in the Spokane paper, an appliqued design.  Eleven other numbers present the same mysterious change which vividly illustrates that researchers still have much to learn about syndicated quilt patterns and their sources.

Questions persist concerning the Hetty Winthrop patterns.  If this was a daily feature as it was advertised by Bell, were pattern numbers used throughout its history?  The 78 pattern numbers that are presently known would only cover 13 weeks if six pattern ads were published each week without duplication, but Bell distributed this feature for five or six years, and the number reassignments would make only a small difference.

Patterns ordered through the Chicago Daily News identify the newspaper across the top of the pattern, but only Hetty Winthrop is identified on patterns ordered through other newspapers.

© Wilene Smith, September 24, 2010, all rights reserved


September, November, or December 28, 1933, Spokane, Washington:


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