Almost 50 years after it went missing, Judy Garland‘s iconic blue and white gingham dress has finally been found.
Actress Mercedes McCambridge gifted one of the dresses that Judy wore in the 1939 film Wizard of Oz to the Catholic University of America in 1972, but just a year or so later, it went missing.
Finally, in 2021, the mystery has been solved.
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What happened to the dress has been a mystery that was solved just a month ago, as Matt Ripa, a lecturer and operations coordinator of the university, discovered its whereabouts as he was cleaning out a space in the Hartke building.
“I had looked in our archives, storage closets, etc. to no avail. I assumed it was a tall tale,” he shared, via a Catholic University press release.
The dress was ultimately found in a trash bag on top of the faculty mailboxes.
“I was curious what was inside and opened the trash bag and inside was a shoebox and inside the shoe box was the dress,” Matt added. “I couldn’t believe it. Needless to say, I have found many interesting things in the Hartke during my time at CUA, but I think this one takes the cake.”
After it was found, Ryan Lintelman, an expert in “Wizard of Oz” memorabilia at the Smithsonian, confirmed that the characteristics of the garment were in line with the dresses that Judy wore throughout the movie.
“All of the dresses have certain verifiable characteristics: a ‘secret pocket’ on the right side of the pinafore skirt for Dorothy’s handkerchief, ‘Judy Garland’ written by hand in a script specific to a single person who labeled all of the extant dresses in the same hand, for example,” the university shared. “The Hartke dress has all of these characteristics, including blouse tears where the pinafore straps sat on the shoulders.”
The dress will now be stored in the university’s special collections for generations of future Catholic University students.
Earlier this year, it was reported that a remake of the classic movie is in the works.
“Dorothy’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ dress, once the province of myth, is now a real object,” the university said. “It can now be preserved in proper storage in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment so that hopefully, for many more years, it can be a source of ‘hope, strength, and courage’ for Catholic University students.”