Artifact of the Month
Donated by Mary Cotton
In 1939, Fayetteville resident Ruth Woodruff Gilbert (1892-1979) started making and selling wooden corsages to help put her daughter through school at the University of Arkansas. She handcrafted the flowers using the pith of the rice paper plant, (Tetrapanax papyrifera or Fatsia papyrifera), nylon filament, glue, and waterproof ink.
In order to control quality, Gilbert kept production limited. She sold her flowers in a small shop within her home on Highway 71 North, at the University of Arkansas Student Union, and by mail order. The card seen above accompanied each corsage. The ad at the right is from the 1951 University of Arkansas yearbook, The Razorback. (Special thanks to Washington County archivist Tony Wappel for sharing this.)