Three Phantom Quilt Books

Springfield, Ohio, was the home of a rather obscure magazine during the early years of the 20th century -- The Family edited by Matthew C. Young, first in Chicago, then moving to Springfield, Ohio, shortly after their 1913 quilt block contest closed.  With a closing date of July 15, 1913, readers were instructed to send their entries to 540 La Salle Avenue in Chicago.  The first group of winners were published in the September 1913 issue, and after moving to Springfield, the second group was published October 1913.  Issues of The Family are difficult to locate, so complete details are not yet known.

This ad was found in the Iowa Homestead farm paper, February 26, 1914 (, verifying that a booklet was published as the result of the 1913 contest, but a copy of this booklet is not known.

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People's Popular Monthly (Carl C. Proper, Des Moines, Iowa) sponsored a quilt block contest in 1914 with plans to publish a 16-page booklet with 36 or more of the prize winning designs.

When People's Popular Monthly published the three top prize winners in the October 1914 issue, they said:  "So great has been the interest in this contest that it has occurred to us that many women would like to secure a book of the best blocks submitted.  We have decided to publish such a book.  It will contain pictures of over three dozen of the best quilt blocks submitted in the contest.  A complete description will accompany each design, together with suggestions as to colors, etc.
  "The pictures will be just like the ones printed on this page.  The booklet will probably contain sixteen pages and will be in neat pamphlet form.
  "This book will not be sold.  It will be given free with each fifty cent, two year subscription to People's Popular Monthly when the subscription is sent direct by the subscriber, and the book is requested when the subscription is sent; or it will be given with a one year subscription for 30 cents.  No attention will be paid to requests for books from those who have subscribed during the past months.
  "Your request for the book must come with your subscription.  It will cost a large sum to publish these books and this is the only way we can distribute them."

A coupon was placed at the bottom of this column and includes the statement:  "Enclosed find . . . and send me your book of prize quilt designs."

It appears that People's Popular Monthly did publish this booklet about 1914-1915, but a copy of it has never been located (Cuesta Benberry unsuccessfully searched for a copy of it for years).  This booklet and the one from The Family were free subscription premiums which would have affected how many were sent to subscribers and therefore the difficulty in locating them today.

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Farm and Fireside (Crowell Publishing, Springfield, Ohio) sponsored a quilt block contest in 1929 and published "eight prize winners out of 1,500 quilts sent in Our Quilt Contest" in the September 1929 issue.  "In all we picked 80 blocks from the 1,500 entered.  The other 72 designs will be shown in the new edition of our quilt book, which will be ready for you next fall."  Two events in the months that followed may have interfered with these plans.  Clementine Paddleford, Farm and Fireside's women's editor, 1924-1929, and the compiler for several of the magazine's previous quilt booklets, left the magazine, then the Farm and Fireside title was changed to Country Home effective with the February 1930 issue.  It would probably seem odd for Country Home to publish and distribute a book based on a contest sponsored by Farm and Fireside, so plans for the booklet may have been abandoned.

© Wilene Smith, September 21, 2010, all rights reserved

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