Tootsie’s Steamer Trunk – Beauty revisited

Check off another item on the OVHS “to do” list.  Collections Chair, Sue Chambasian, had the restoration of Tootsie’s steamer trunk on her wish list.  The trunk was donated to OVHS by Henry G. Zipf, Gertrude’s son.

Thanks to Joe Frannea, a longtime OVHS volunteer and supporter, Sue’s wish came true!  Joe was able to reattach the domed lid to the trunk and then fabricated strapping pieces, handles and other hardware that were in need of repair or replacement.  He also discovered a beautiful embossed design on the top and body of the trunk that had been hidden due to years of being stored. The outcome was more than OVHS ever could have hoped for!  THANK YOU, JOE!

Now about the trunk.  The trunk belonged to Gertrude “Tootsie” Pusch, daughter of George and Mathilda Pusch.   Tootsie definitely didn’t quite fit the mold of a women growing up in the late 1800s/early 1900s.  She was one of the first female students at the U of A and we know that she traveled due to correspondence in our collections.  She was an avid equestrian and could shoot a rifle.  She was even a postmaster!

Find out more about Tootsie and see the trunk restoration in the Pusch Room at the Pusch House Museum at Steam Pump Ranch (10901 N. Oracle, Oro Valley) on Saturdays from 9 to Noon.

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