Several months back, I was chatting with a quilting customer who told me about a miniature cedar “hope” chest she had received upon her high school graduation (I’m guessing in the 1970’s or 80’s). Next thing you know, she had gifted me with one that she had come across in a garage or estate sale! I was inspired to make a miniature postage stamp quilt from scraps of reproduction 1930’s fabrics for my miniature hope chest, as that is an item that a normal size hope chest usually contained…
I was curious about the history of this little cedar gem, and so I did a quick google search at the Lane Furniture Company website and came up with this very interesting history:
In the late 1920’s, the company began the Girl Graduate Plan. The Plan was a national campaign enthusiastically embraced by the dealers distributing Lane cedar chests throughout the entire country. The Plan offered a gift to young ladies upon graduation from high school and invited the girl (and her parents) into the furniture dealer to receive the gift. The gift was a miniature cedar chest and usually also included a special discount offer on the purchase of a full-size cedar chest. Lane knew this was a great opportunity to encourage the parents to buy a chest for a graduation gift. They also knew that in those early days, one-half of girls were likely to be married within eighteen months. The promotion introduced the dealer to a young lady who would likely need furniture for her new home within the next couple of years. In 1962 it was reported by E.H. Lane that between ½ and ⅔ of all girls graduating from high school in the United States were presented with a Lane miniature cedar chest. By 1962, approximately seven million girls had received a box for graduation. It has since been estimated by Lane executives that over 27 million miniature Lane chests were made and and either sold by Lane or distributed through the Girl Graduate Plan. The miniature department of the factory was closed around 1998.
My little cedar chest now sits comfortably amongst other “flotsam and jetsam” that I have acquired over the years and that mean something to me. Thank you, Alana!