Luck and Brooke Cadwallader

This post is about luck, on several different levels.  I feel so lucky to live in a time when communication with other collectors, history lovers and vintage nuts is so easy.   It seems like all I have to do is make a post about some obscure designer or store or manufacturer, and the information just starts flowing.

A year ago I posted photos of a Brooke Cadwallader scarf I had found.  The Cadwallader name is well-known to scarf and textile collectors, and anyone who has ever found one of his scarves will know from the quality that they have a special object.  But for the most part, Brooke Cadwallader has been forgotten and information about him is hard to come by.  Information is so scarce that if one does a google search for him, my old blog post is first in the results.  Because of that, I still get lots of hits to that post, and people are continuing to share what they know about Cadwallader and his textiles.

One poster, Janis, mentioned that the Cadwalladers designed a special scarf every year that they gave out as Christmas gifts.   I’m asking you, how lucky were those friends, when the cost of a Brooke Cadwallader scarf was about $175 in today’s dollar?

Then a few days ago, another reader, Beth,  posted that she had found some of the Christmas scarves at a sale some years ago.  Again, I’d say Beth is pretty darned lucky.  And she’s nice too, because she sent photos for me to share, and she gave some links to some very informative old articles about the Cadwalladers.  If you want to learn more about Brooke Cadwallader, you must read this article from Colliers, 1944, and this one from the New York Post, 1947.  Especially interesting was the story about how he and wife Mary left Paris as the Germans were occupying the city.

Note the poodles.  If you look at the New York Post article you’ll see a photo of Mary holding her poodle.

All images courtesy and copyright of Beth Walker.


Filed under Curiosities, Designers, Vintage Clothing

19 responses to “Luck and Brooke Cadwallader

  1. Great post! Love the photos and the articles about the Cadwalladers. Great information for future lucky scarf finders! I’ve got my fingers crossed and eyes peeled for these rare beauties.


  2. I adore scarves, been collecting them for a long time, these are fabulous! I agree about how lucky we are to live now and to be able to share our passion with so many like minded people all around the world, it is a true global village!


  3. Pink poodles! Love the whimsical graphics; perfect as art pieces


  4. joulesstar

    I’m jealous of Beth! Truly though, it was very nice of her to share the photos of the fantastic scarves, and those interesting 40s articles. Fabulous reading, for a scarf collector, and I am one.


  5. I am happy to have seen this post! ..and also lucky! A while back I stumbled upon an estate sale from someone who either was a descendant of Cadwallader or one of his employees – I bought at least 50 scarves, ties and neck pieces that were folded and unused. I will sell some of them on ETSY that are doubles but some are just too lovely to part with!!! Thanks for the links! The Met Museum actually has 25 samples of his work in their archives.


    • I’d say you are very lucky indeed! Be sure to let me know when you list them so I can see them.


      • I will indeed! I just listed a small one so far. (vintagepickle on etsy) but want to make sure the prices are fair in light of their value. Any feedback or suggestions are always appreciated. By the way, in my fulltime life, I run a vintage clothing costume rental house for the past 35 years and also collect just about everything!…so we are vintage sister travelers at heart (smile). I DO enjoy your other FuzzyLizzie site showing your collections., If you ever find yourself in NY you should come and visit our space. 6000 square feet of clothes from 1860 to 1970…and if you ever need any photos to augment your columns, I would be happy to oblige. By the way, I also have a blog where I sometimes write about the history of items ( like bathingsuits and hose for men and women) if interested, let me know where to send you the link!


  6. frances

    Hi, I have a Brooke cadwallader large framed square depicting all trains from 1800 through 1947 which I am interested in selling .please email with your. Intrrests.
    many thanks.


  7. David Noyes

    Brooke Cadwallader was my great uncle. I worked with him in his factory, Casa de los Gallos S.A. as a teenager. I hand-inked the opaques for the silk screens. He was a meticulous craftsman who insisted on perfection from himself and from everyone else, but he was also a kind and generous man who infused everything he did, including his art and his business, with wry humor. He treated his employees like family.
    He never copyrighted any of his designs and they were freely imitated -if not stolen- for decades. Leopard skin print? Originally by Brooke Cadwallader. Rattan print? Originally by Brooke Cadwallader. Toile wallpaper print? Originally by Brooke Cadwallader.
    When he lost his factory and business due to bureaucratic laws and a crooked accountant, he burned all of his screens, stock fabric and most of his designs before vacating the premises.
    When he passed away some 30 odd years ago, I settled his estate (being the only one in my family with Spanish) and I have all of his sample books, many neckties and a number of shirts made from his fabrics


    • Beth

      David, I would love to know more about the Christmas scarves. I now have four and am intrigued to know about the recipients, perhaps
      family or friends, employees? Did the scarves replace Christmas cards or were they special? Are there any records as to how many years they were produced and in what numbers? There is so much interest in all of the scarves, someone should publish a book!


    • Rodrigo Flores

      Hola David,hace un par de años compre la primera mascada con diseño de rattan en México y he leído la fascinante historia de tu tío y quisiera saber si podemos conversar un poco de su vida en Cuernavaca y su trabajo aquí,quisiera proponer unas piezas para una exhibición en el Museo Nacional de Arte Aquí en la Ciudad de México y quizás podrías ayudarme con algo más de información, muchas gracias de antemano


  8. Pingback: Updates – The Rest of the Story | The Vintage Traveler

  9. Liza

    Hey, I’m going through my mom’s items. Among them, I have found a Brooke Cadwallader Scarf. Mom was Fashion Editor at CondeNast/Glamour for a number of years in the 40’s. But I have no idea when she, or my Grandmother purchase the scarf. Where might I go to find out more of all the wonderful scarves he created?


    • Liza, Brooke Cadwallader scarves are real treasures, so congratulations on finding one in your mother’s things. I”m afraid I don’t know of other sources of information about him other than the magic of google.


  10. There are a couple of people I buy from. They purchase at auctions, yard/garage sales, etc. I do so myself, but buying from them, adds to my collections. Just happened across your site, because I was researching Brooke Cadwallader. I bought some costume jewelry from one person, and she gave me an elephant scarf signed by him. Talk about getting lucky….


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