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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Martha Madison Needlecraft Pattern Syndication

Martha Madison Needlecraft patterns were introduced in January 1956.  Originally a syndication service of General Features Corp, New York.   (This was timed with the sister offering -- Iris Lane Patterns).   This new syndication made its debut in Pennsylvania newspapers, where it exclusively remained

The scope of the Martha Madison patterns included needlework, crochet, embroidery, color transfers and sewing patterns. 

The syndicate purchased single column ads, which would appear one to three times per week, depending upon the newspaper agreement.   The patterns rotated between categories and seem to have sequential numbering, however, the offerings did not appear in any order.   New patterns ran 1956 and 1957; the majority of 1958 were repeats.    There were only a few instances where a number was repeated on two different patterns. 

In 1959, the Martha Madison Banner was removed from the top of the pattern offering.  The syndication also spread to a number of other states - NY, ID, WA, TX, VA, IL and CA ... this spread continued over the following years, but was never syndicated country wide.  When new papers came along, they did not necessarily start at the early numbered patterns, and the weekly pattern offering differed from region to region.

The Martha Madison pattern syndication remained active into the mid 1960's and then began a decline.   The last remaining state to carry the syndication was California, which then ended in 1972.

I've seen reference that the Martha Madison Needlework patterns originated from Progressive Farmer.   I've also seen note that the Progressive Farmer patterns originated by the Spinning Wheel syndicate.   I'd say there is quite a web of of ties within the syndication, which I hope to learn more as I go along. 

I have dozens of questions about this syndication, which I hope to learn some answers too as I go along.

Through searches, I've put together a photo album (Knit and Crochet patterns only) that appeared between 1957 and mid 1961.    The album below resides on my Facebook page.   There are also a number of the Martha Madison patterns in the shop.

If you know more about the Martha Madison syndication, please share !
Thanks for dropping by,


  1. The patterns were published in Progressive Farmer but didn't originate from there. You're right about Spinning Wheel company with these. Again, part of the long and complicated history of the Nancy Cabot patterns originally in the Chicago Tribune.

  2. I've learned quite a bit since I wrote this post in 4 years ago! These patterns were rebranded designs Needlework Bureau / Anne Cabot, Peggy Roberts, Ellen Bruce, Carol Curtis, etc. I'm sure I'll find more as well.