Wednesday, June 26, 2013

1933 Needle Arts School Book, an amazing treasure found

There is a 130+ year old Catholic girls school closing in St Louis and their first public estate sale was this past weekend. Thankfully my SIL and her husband were good sports and didn't mind waiting in line with me and the herd on Saturday so I could check it out.

I was REALLY hoping for vintage classroom learning posters, science especially. But no such luck. It was mostly stuff like trophies and christmas wrapping paper and vases and records and books and some globes that were already going out the doors (I was number 85).

I managed to grab this pile (sadly they are not together as books in the covers anymore) of needle arts samples.

And they are AMAZING.

Sorry for so many photos, they are too good not to share.

Those letters are hand cut from construction paper.

The stitches are the most amazing quality.
Hand written instructions for making it all.
A sample made by one of the nuns. So cute.
The quality of the thread on these is amazing.

More hand cut title pages.
Calendar in the back for 1933 and 1934.

The quality of everything from the fabric pieces (beautiful linens and cottons) to the thread (some silk I am sure) are top notch.
Ric rac hand tacked at the top and bottom of each hump.
A tiny apron!
Fabric samples. The corduroy on the bottom right is the softest thing I have ever touched. I half wonder if it is silk.
Really, truly an amazing piece of history.

And a little sad for me too. I took several home ec classes in high school and I learned nothing like this*. And some of the pages from the nun's samples are for Grade 5! Wouldn't it be wonderful to learn some useful and beautiful things in school and not just calculus?

*We did learn to sew on buttons and cook a few meals and make an apron and mind children and write checks. That's about all I remember. I wonder what they teach them now? I do know that here it is now called FACS - family and consumer science. Sigh. From Needle arts (!) to Home Ec to FACS.

**Thinking of making a big framed collage from it since the books are really disintegrating and losing pieces of the cardboard everywhere.


  1. Great idea~terrific finds!

  2. That's really wonderful. I'm glad you rescued it!

  3. What a treasure! Glad you rescued it!
    My 12 year old (7th grader) had consumer skills this last year. Guess what they learned? How to pop open some crescent rolls, put a slice of pepperoni & cheese inside & bake them. SAD!

  4. Amazing! Beautiful work and a fantastic find.

    My daughter took Living Skills in 6th grade. The did cross stitch on gingham fabric (just X's, not Chicken Scratch) and made pillows, but that was it. Of course, it was just one semester.

  5. this is AMAZING. Would love a) to teach a home ec class like this, and b)to find a treasure like this!


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