Uncovered: 1 of Dorothy’s Long-Lost ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Dresses

Though doing work as The Catholic University of America’s artist-in-residence in 1973, actress Mercedes McCambridge introduced drama office head Reverend Gilbert Hartke with a priceless memento: 1 of the legendary gingham dresses Judy Garland had worn as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Though it’s not accurately clear how McCambridge came to be in possession of the gown in the initial spot, it was reported that she and Garland were buddies. Even a lot less very clear was in which the costume finished up. News protection mentioned the acquisition at the time, and Hartke was photographed with the merchandise in hand, but many years passed without any further more sighting.

As CNN reports, thanks to drama section lecturer and operations coordinator Matt Ripa, the elusive frock has eventually reappeared. “I had appeared in our archives, storage closets, etcetera. to no avail,” Ripa explained to Maria Mazzenga, curator of Catholic University’s American Catholic Historical past Collections. “I assumed it was a tall tale (of which lots of exist for Father Hartke).”

Very last thirty day period, through a creating renovation, Ripa spotted a trash bag atop the mailboxes with a shoebox inside. A be aware from the prior department chair explained that it had been in his workplace, but he evidently hadn’t alerted everyone to its contents—which, lo and behold, have been one particular blue-and-white pinafore and a yellowed blouse.

To make certain that the garments wasn’t just a clever replica, Mazzenga and her fellow archivists enlisted aid from the Smithsonian National Museum of American Heritage. Although the museum’s gurus can not formally declare such memorabilia authentic, they examined the costume in individual and agreed that it appears to be the authentic McCoy. Their conclusion was based on a handful of noteworthy particulars the costume shares with 5 other attire considered to have been worn by Garland in the movie. The pinafores all have a concealed pocket where Garland saved Dorothy’s handkerchief, and Garland’s total title is handwritten in the lining. The costume is also ripped right below the pinafore straps. “Apparently, the slim product of the blouse was inclined to tearing when Garland took it off immediately after filming, and a seamstress often fixed it right before she donned it for the future shoot,” Mazzenga spelled out.

The costume has now moved from its shoebox to a new residence in the college archives, the place it has obtain to facilities like humidity manage.

[h/t CNN]