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Marco Island Historical Society “Florida Talks” — Cori Convertito: Key West Hand Print Fabrics: An Island Industry
November 1, 2022 | 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
In 1961, two friends from Broadway visited Key West. Peter Pell and Jim Russell fell in love with their surroundings: brightly-colored flowers, exotic fruits, and resplendent birds. Residents urged them to open a silk-screening factory, which became Key West Hand Print Fabrics. The company began printing and selling textiles to visitors and hired an artists name Suzie dePoo who produced a marvelous array of tropical imagery on fabrics. One of the company’s principal customers was Lilly Pulitzer. This presentation tells the story of how Key West Hand Print Fabrics became the backbone of the industry on the island.
Cori Convertito, the Lead Historian at the Florida Keys History Center, received her doctorate in maritime history from the U.K.’s University of Exeter. Today, Convertito heads a center for stewardship, knowledge, and understanding of the historic, cultural, and ecological diversity of the Florida Keys. The center serves as a national focal point for the study, advancement, and preservation of the Keys’ cultural heritage.