Fabric Sample from Marshall Field & Co. Collection

At the turn of the twentieth century, the American textile industry was the most technologically advanced in the world. However, it was still dependent on Europe, especially France, for art and design. World War I cut off communication with the industry in Europe, and American manufacturers were forced to turn to American artists for design. The industry held contests, and sent designers and art students into museums to study paintings and objects for inspiration.
Students at the Chicago School of Art designed these fabrics in 1915. They were produced and sold by Marshall Field & Co. of Chicago and exhibited by the National Museum in 1916. The school (first known as the Chicago School of Applied and Normal Art) was founded by Emma Marion Church in 1908, the same year she published her book, The New Basis of Art Education. Ms. Church was a graduate of Pratt Institute, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and served a term as president of the Western Drawing and Manual Training Association from 1912 to 1913. A member of the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Art Institue, she was the first woman member of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce. She died in Woodstock, Vermont in 1952.
Currently not on view
Object Name
fabric sample
Date made
ca 1915
Marshall Field and Company
student's designed
Chicago School of Art
Marshall Field & Co.
Chicago School of Art
Physical Description
silk (overall material)
overall: 36 in x 31 in; 91.44 cm x 78.74 cm
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Domestic Furnishings
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Marshall Field & Co.

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