QUILT HISTORY STORIES
Nancy Cabot: Newspaper Quilt Patterns
“Conductor of the column(s) on knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and quilts patterns.”
CHICAGO TRIBUNE – September 7, 1958
By Susan Wildemuth – Atkinson, Illinois
Meet Loretta Rising
Loretta Isabel Leitner was born in Illinois between 1906 and 1907. Her father John worked as an accountant for a jewelry firm. Her mother Delia (Scanlon) Leitner was the daughter of Irish immigrants and a dressmaker by talent who “designed gowns for the Chicago department store, Marshall Fields.” In the mid 1920s Loretta Leitner began her career at the TRIBUNE processing letters to the “Embarrassing Moments” column and later became the secretary to the Sunday Department Editor. Promoted to the position of Needlework Editor and Columnist in the 1930s, Loretta followed the path of many of her contemporaries and chose a fictional name for her byline. The majority of her columns were penned by Nancy Cabot, but she would write “some” needlework columns for the TRIBUNE under the name Loretta Leitner and Letty Leitner. She married Morris H. Rising during this time period and the Risings would have one son Morris H. Rising, Jr. on October 10, 1941. She spent 32 years, her entire adult life, working at the TRIBUNE and at the time of her passing on September 6, 1958, she was working at the Sunday Department as a columnist and assisting in the promotion department contest section. She was survived by her husband Morris (passed on May 17, 1959), son Morris Jr. (passed on March 9, 1999), and her father John Leitner.
Nancy Cabot Newspaper Quilt Patterns
The start of the TRIBUNE’S Nancy Cabot’s quilt pattern column was announced in two short paragraphs entitled “Grandmother’s Favorite Quilt Pattern!” on Friday, January 20, 1933 on page 15 of the CHICAGO DAILY TRIBUNE.
“The ‘Pine Tree” and another attractive patchwork quilt pattern are pictured and described in a fascinating new quilting feature by Nancy Cabot, starting in next
Nancy Cabot’s interesting articles about this old-time craft will appear in
the TRIBUNE every day. Be sure to read her first fascinating article in the
CHICAGO TRIBUNE – The World’s Greatest Newspaper.”
Appearing in the CHICAGO DAILY TRIBUNE on Sunday, January 22, 1933 “Time Honored Art of Quilting Is a Rage of the Hour” was the TRIBUNE’S inaugural article for the new quilt pattern service for patchwork devotees with a Nancy Cabot byline. This column was created in the conversational “kitchen table style” where the reader could imagine herself and Ms. Cabot sitting across a kitchen table sipping tea and talking quilts.
The first of two photographs accompanying this article features an actual pine tree quilt created by the grandmother of Mrs. C.C. Lively of 407 East 88th Street, Chicago, Illinois. The second photograph features a lone star quilt made by an “ancestress” of J.C. Peters of Chicago. The caption for this photographs shares, “if you wish patterns for these historic quilts, send 5 cents in stamp and coin for each pattern ordered to Nancy Cabot, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Tribune Tower, Chicago, Illinois.” The article itself states, “starting today, quilt patterns will be featured in both the Sunday and daily issues of the TRIBUNE.” Future daily columns featured a single appliqué or pieced quilt pattern illustration with a “Sunday column reviewing a week’s worth of designs.” Along with the quilt pattern illustrations, there were usually several paragraphs of descriptive or background information about the pattern and how the pattern could be purchased. The column quickly syndicated and could be found in other newspapers and magazines, though not always under the name of Nancy Cabot.
The TRIBUNE had a service library for hobbyists filled with pamphlets available for purchase on a variety of topics. They introduced the first Nancy Cabot pamphlet entitled NANCY CABOT QUILTS on Wednesday, April 8, 1934. This book contains 96 quilt block illustrations which could be ordered, but only one actual pattern “The Framed Rose. The second pamphlet NANCY CABOT’S SECOND BOOK OF QUILTS was introduced on Sunday, February 3, 1935. This book contains 96 quilt block illustrations which could be ordered, but only one actual pattern “Rose Basket.” Patterns for quilts listed in each of these pamphlets, and for scores of other popular designs were available for 5 cents per pattern, stamps or coin sent to Nancy Cabot, CHICAGO TRIBUNE or call one of the Tribune Public Service Offices, One South Dearborn or Tribune Tower.
Nancy Cabot Pamphlets
NANCY CABOT QUILTS
Loretta Leitner Rising
This is a booklet of ninety-six illustrations of favorite designs from the collection of the Quilt Editor of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, together with a pattern (actual pattern) of a popular quilt, “The Framed Rose.” “Patterns for the quilts listed in this booklet, and for scores of other popular designs, are available at 5 cents each, stamps or coin. Address Nancy Cabot, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, or call at one of the Tribune Public Service Offices, One South Dearborn or Tribune Tower." (1934)
NANCY CABOT‘S SECOND BOOK OF QUILTS
Loretta Leitner Rising
This is a booklet of ninety-six illustrations of popular designs from the collection of the Quilt Editor of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, together with a pattern (actual pattern) of “Rose Basket.” “Patterns for the quilts listed in this booklet, and for scores of other popular designs, are available at 5 cents each, stamps or coin. Address Nancy Cabot, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, or call at one of the Tribune Public Service Offices, One South Dearborn or Tribune Tower." (1935)
Brackman, Barbara. ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED PATTERNS. Kentucky: American Quilter’s Society. 1993.
Brackman, Barbara. “Who is Nancy Cabot?” QUILTER’S NEWSLETTER MAGAZINE 229 (January/February 1991): 22-24.
Cabot, Nancy. “Quilt Pattern.” CHICAGO TRIBUNE 14 February 1946: 27.
Cabot, Nancy. “TRIBUNE Inaugurates New Pattern Service For Patchwork Devotees.” CHICAGO TRIBUNE 22 January 1933: E3.
“Grandmother’s Favorite Quilt Pattern!” CHICAGO TRIBUNE 20 January 1933: 15.
Historical Chicago Tribune 1849-1986 (Database). Chicago, Illinois: CHICAGO TRIBUNE.
“John Leitner – 1910 Census.” 2 June 2008. Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com.
“John Leitner - 1920 Census.” 2 June 2008. Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com.
“John Leitner - 1930 Census.” 2 June 2008. Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com.
“John Leitner – WWI Draft Registration Index.” 2 June 2008. Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com.
“Loretta Rising (Loretta Leitner Rising).” CHICAGO TRIBUNE 8 September 1958: B12.
“Mrs. Loretta Rising.” NEW YORK TIMES 7 September 1958.
“Mrs. M.H. Rising Veteran Tribune Columnist, Dies.” CHICAGO TRIBUNE 7 September 1958: 31.
“Nancy Cabot Makes Special Quilt Offer.” CHICAGO TRIBUNE 3 February 1935: D4.
Rising, Loretta Leitner. NANCY CABOT: QUILTS. Chicago, Illinois: CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1934.
Rising, Loretta Leitner. NANCY CABOT’S: SECOND BOOK OF QUILTS. Chicago, Illinois: CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1934.
Smith, Wilma. NANCY’S BOOK OF DESIGNS BOOK ONE-EIGHT. Crawfordsville, Oregon: Wilma Smith, n.d.
“Tribune Adds Three Books to Service Library.” CHICAGO TRIBUNE 8 April 1934: C5.