It was made by fifty-three 3rd and 4th grade students in 1951-1952. Their teacher, Sr Elvan Drayna, used the Madonna as a "unique motivational learning project" for those kids. If they finished their work or were especially good, they'd get to go sew a button or two. But first, they had to collect the buttons--the prettiest buttons came from all over as parents, relatives, friends and neighbors got involved.
Thanks, John! 😊