08-030. Vera Neumann 1966 Calendar tea towel

Found on July 20, 2008 in Champaign, IL.

Vera Neumann

1966 Calendar tea towel
The Vera Companies
USA, 1966
16 x 29"
Screenprinted cotton
Facsimile signature

Not long ago Kate and I began talking about starting a collection of vintage tea towels. We already had a couple Vera towels in our linens collection, but the idea of trying to build a "one of a year" collection of Vera's calendar towels was something both of us thought would be fun. We had seen two previously in books — dated 1972 and 1976 — and hypothesized that there were at least a few in sequence. A little bit of internet research that her calendar towels went back into the 1960s, and at least several of the designs were available in more than one color.

Flash forward to this morning and a remarkably unremarkable series of estate and garage sales. After hitting a few duds, I came to an estate sale that hadn't opened for the day yet. As I stood in line, it started to rain. Possibly a bad omen? Should I just pack it up and head home empty handed? No. I persevered, but the sale was again nondescript. On my way out, however, I noticed a small pile of linens in the bathroom and decided to give one last look. And it was there I saw this beautifully preserved Vera towel from 1966. Pristine, and the beginning of what will one day hopefully be our one-of-a-year collection. From what I can see, the dates of these towels span from at least 1964 to 1982 — 18 years, likely more.

And it possibly might be part of a more-than-one collection, as I am a completeist and will likely need to hunt down the different color variations as well. At least tea towels are small and easy to store, right?

Dawn commented: You already know I think this is a fantastic find, Scott! Great sleuthing! Good luck on your "completist" journey. Best, Dawn

  • 7.21.08

s- commented: If you want, I will check my hordes and see if I have any year duplicates that I would be willing to part with - or is 'the hunt' a driving force in your collection?

"Life is a journey, not a destination"

Susie commented: Lucky you. I adore Vera Neumann's designs. They remind me so much of my childhood. This is a particularly beautiful find.

  • 2.28.10