At last, Judy Garland’s long-lost blue-and-white checked gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz has been found decades later. The dress was apparently originally donated to the Washington, D.C.-based university in the 1970s and hadn’t been seen since.
Members of the Catholic University of America (CUA) drama department, namely department lecturer and operations coordinator Matt Ripa, began wondering the whereabouts of the costume.
The actual dress that was worn by Judy Garland herself has been found
One day, Ripa began cleaning out a building ahead of renovations when he found a mysterious trash bag, tucked away on top of some mail slots. “I was curious what was inside and opened the trash bag and inside was a shoebox and inside the shoebox was the dress!!” He writes in a blog post. “I couldn’t believe it.”
He adds, “I was shocked, holding a piece of Hollywood history right in my hands.”
In contact to find the dress its proper home
The box also contained a message from Thomas Donahue, a now-retired drama professor who had discovered the dress in the department chair’s office long ago. The message simply said, “I found this.” Of course, after locating the missing dress, scholars with the university’s special collections contacted curators at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAH) and an expert in Wizard of Oz memorabilia.
The museum is currently home to the famous ruby slippers from the 1939 film, in addition to the complete scarecrow costume worn by actor Ray Bolger.