- Dorothy’s “Wizard of Oz” dress that was gifted to Catholic University in 1972 has been found.
- The iconic blue and white dress went missing a year after it was gifted by Mercedes McCambridge.
- The dress has found a home in the University’s Special Collections.
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A lost “Wizard of Oz” dress once gifted to the Catholic University by artist-in-residence, Mercedes McCambridge, has finally been found, the Washington Post reports.
The blue gingham dress, presumed to be one of several costume dresses made for the 1939 classic film, was gifted to the university in 1972. It disappeared just a year after.
Matt Ripa, Lecturer and Operations Coordinator at the university, discovered the dress in a trash bag.
“I had looked in our archives, storage closets, etc. to no avail. I assumed it was a tall tale,” he shared through the university’s blog. “I was curious what was inside and opened the trash bag and inside was a shoebox and inside the shoe box was the dress. I couldn’t believe it.”
“In 1973, Catholic University’s newspaper wrote about a gift to Catholic University meant to be a source of ‘hope, strength, and courage’ to students,” the university shared on Instagram.
“The dress was given to Rev. Gilbert Hartke, illustrious head of the drama program, by actress Mercedes McCambridge, who served as artist-in-residence at the Catholic University of America in 1972,” the post continued. “For many years, it was rumored that the dress was still located in Hartke, the building named after the priest, but no one knew exactly where.”
But Ripa, who works at the Catholic University School’s Department of Drama, finally stumbled upon the collector’s item.
“I was shocked, holding a piece of Hollywood history right in my hands,” Ripa told the Washington Post.
The dress Ripa found is believed to be one of several blue gingham dresses that were used during the filming of “The Wizard of Oz” in the 1930s. Back in 2015, one of the dresses sold for $US1.56 ($AU2) million at an auction in New York City.
The Catholic University dress now has a safe home with the Special Collections, where the school says it will be preserved in “proper storage in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment.”