The dress was gifted to Father Gilbert Hartke, the former head of the drama department at the Catholic University of America (CUA), in the 1970s, but is said to have mysteriously gone missing shortly after its arrival at the Washington DC campus.
Lecturer and operations coordinator at the institution, Matt Ripa, said he heard rumours that the dress “was located somewhere in the building” but was unable to “get confirmation on exactly where it was located”.
An office clear-out resulted in the discovery of one of cinema’s most recognisable dresses, however.
“I had looked in our archives, storage closets, etc. to no avail. I assumed it was a tall tale (of which many exist for Father Hartke),” Ripa told the university.
“Our building is in the process of renovations and upgrades, so I was cleaning out my office to prepare,” he explained.“
“I noticed on top of the faculty mailboxes a trashbag and asked my co-worker to hand it to me.
“On the trashbag was a note for our former chair stating that he had found ‘this’ in his office and that he must have moved it when he moved out of the chair’s office… I was curious what was inside and opened the trashbag and inside was a shoebox and inside the shoe box was the dress!! I couldn’t believe it.”