Judy Garland’s iconic dress from the classic 1939 movie The Wizard Of Oz has finally been found 48 years after it went missing.

The New York Post reported that the dress mysteriously went missing back in 1973, one year after it was gifted to Catholic University in Washington D.C. It was found last month on the campus by Matt Ripa, a lecturer and operations coordinator for drama and music at the school.

Ripa had been decluttering some space in the Hartke building when he stumbled across the legendary dress out of nowhere. As he was cleaning, he noticed a trash bag on top of a set of mailboxes, and he decided to check to see what was inside.

When he opened the bag, what he saw left Ripa speechless, as it was a shoebox that held the blue-and-white dress.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Ripa said afterwards in a blog post. “My co-worker and I quickly grabbed some gloves and looked at the dress and took some pictures before putting it back in the box and heading over to the archives. I called one of our faculty members and former chair, who always told me the dress existed and that it was in the building to let her know that I had found it.”

“Needless to say, I have found many interesting things in the Hartke during my time at CUA, but I think this one takes the cake,” he added.

The dress, which has yellowed over time, included Garland’s name handwritten on the interior. Smithsonian Magazine reported that it also had a hidden pocket where Garland supposedly stored her handkerchief.

The Academy Award-winning actress Mercedes McCambridge, who was an artist-in-residence at Catholic University, gave one of the dresses Garland wore in The Wizard Of Oz to the school back in 1972. It disappeared one year later, and though faculty members tirelessly searched for it, they were never able to find it until now.

Catholic University has pledged that the dress will never be lost again, and that it will be kept safely in the school’s archives moving forwards. We’re so glad that Garland’s legendary dress is finally back where it belongs!

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