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1941 American Fashions Competition

Jeanne Sanford's award winning design, 1941Jeanne had entered the 2nd annual Chicago Tribune's "1941 American Fashions Competition", a national event. The Tribune's editor/publisher, Col. Robert R. McCormick (founder and benefactor of the McCormick Tribune Foundation, 1921 -present), ( explained that the competition was an idea that grew out of the European war to stimulate an appreciation of American design. It was forward thinking like the Colonel's that boosted morale, but at the same time it made American women conscious that they did not have to depend on French haut couture anymore. A new American Style was emerging. It generated tremendous publicity and boosted the U.S. patriotism.

In a letter dated, Sept. 19th, 1941 from the Sunday editor, A.M. Kennedy, Jeanne learned that her design had been selected, from hundreds submitted, by a judging committee, headed by Grace Pickering. She won a $50. award, and her design would be made into a finished model (at the expense of the Tribune).

Jeanne's, and 14 other semi-finalist's designs, would be exhibited in the Fashion Show competition on September 27th, 1941, in the W-G-N Chicago radio studio theater. A studio audience of 600 of Chicago's social, civic, and professional leaders were invited to act as judges at the event. First prize would win $500.00! It would air live on W-G-N and Mutual radio's "Chicagoland Hour" to their coast to coast radio audience with an elaborate musical program. Jeanne was thrilled, but she was unable to go to the Fashion Show competition. What she missed was the unanimous applause for her outfit won first place! (more info in the Honors section)

The Chicago Tribune's 1941 Fashion show

At this time there were military posters everywhere urging young women to join the WACs or something similar. They made Jeanne feel selfish thinking about her own career at a time like that. While she was still contemplating her direction, she and her mother went down to the Florida house. There she met and was engaged to US Army 2nd Lieutenant, Edward A. Campbell. (For more on this, see the marriage section.)

Jeanne did get a government job to help the war effort. She and her mother went to Washington, D.C. to draw maps and charts for the Civil Aeronautics Administration, and continued to work for the government until Campbell was assigned to duty in the United States in 1944 and they could be married.


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