Beautiful woven tapestry purchased by John Dillinger at the 1933-34 'Century of Progress' Chicago World's Fair, measuring 17.5 x 15, presented as a gift to his favorite niece, Mary E. Hancock Gallagher (the daughter of his older sister, Audrey M. Dillinger Hancock), in March 1934. The handsome gray wool tapestry has a Native American Indian design at the center in black, white, and red, flanked by matching bands of stripes on either side, and gray fringe on two ends. In fine condition.
Accompanied by an affidavit signed by Gallagher, identifying herself as "the niece of John Herbert Dilllinger," in part: "On the occasion of my mother's birthday, March of 1934, my uncle visited us late one night at the home of my mother in Maywood, Indiana. He brought some gift for us from the Chicago World's Fair, among them a lovely tapestry for me. (I was his favorite niece because we had exchanged many letters while he was in prison). The tapestry feels like a soft wool, about a medium gray, with the design in colors of white, red, and black. It is about 15 inches square with about 1 inch fringe on 2 sides." Also includes a longer handwritten letter by Gallagher, offering limited additional detail: "I wish I could give you definite facts about the tapestry—I do know when I was at that same fair (Chicago World's Fair) they had a large booth or area, that housed all Indians (and advertised) hand made items—they are noted for their beautiful weaving and the fabric on your tapestry feels like a soft wool and certainly looks hand woven to me…As my uncle said, he didn't have lots of time for choosing gifts for me, but I thot he did a very good job. He and I were very close, I was his favorite niece, since I wrote to him so regularly while he was in prison."
This was purchased from Gallagher by noted collector David Gainsborough Roberts, and also includes several related pieces of correspondence between him and the dealers/collectors that helped him to acquire the piece. From the collection of David Gainsborough-Roberts.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.