Saturday, October 29, 2016

Quilts for William Lloyd Garrison

"Hannah S. P. Cotton [Whitney]...was one of the constructors of the remarkable patch-work quilt, sent by the Anti Slavery women of Boylston to Mrs. Chapman's great Fair of more than a half century ago and bought by Anti-Slavery women of Boston and presented to Mr. Garrison. It had a kneeling slave as a central figure and an Anti-Slavery sentiment written in every square."
This tantalizing line about Mrs. Daniel Whitney and the "remarkable patch-work quilt" is in a publication called Old Anti Slavery Days chronicling a Commemorative Meeting Held by the Danvers [Massachusetts] Historical Society in 1893.

Perhaps the woman numbered 4 to the top left of the flower is Hannah Whitney.
Number 4 is unidentified in the 1893 reunion photo.
Number 5, the man with white hair and beard on the
right, is Rev. D.S. Whitney, her husband.

William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879)
and his daughter
Fanny Garrison Villard about 1860

William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the radical abolitionist newspaper, the Liberator, seems to have been involved with more than one quilt, none of which survive with any links to such a story.

Image from the Wistar quilt in the collection of the
International Quilt Study Group and Museum,
made in Philadelphia.

We'd hope to recognize the value of a quilt with a central picture of a kneeling slave, the logo of the antislavery movement. At least two Pennsylvania quilts with that image survive but they aren't the Boylston quilt.

The Deborah Coates quilt,
also made in Pennsylvania

Hannah Whitney's quilt is probably the same quilt that Mary Babson Fuhrer described in her book A Crisis of Community: Trials and Transformation of a New England Town, 1815-1848. The crisis over the churches and the reform movement resulted in a quilt donated by Boylston residents going to a "Garrisonian" antislavery fair in Boston where it was said to have been purchased by William Lloyd Garrison. a slight variation of the story. It was made in 1839, which coordinates with the story of the quilt made more than fifty years ago in 1893.

Here's another reference to the Boylston quilt from the 
Voice of Freedom in 1839:
"A bedquilt the squares of which were covered with drawings and inscriptions in indelible ink, illustrating the cause, done by the women of Boylston, was purchased by subscriptions for William Lloyd Garrison, all be desirous to have a small share in the gift."
A second quilt with a Garrison connection was described in the Ohio Anti-Slavery Bugle on September 20, 1851. At an anti-slavery fair in Leesburg, Virginia (conducted, it seems, by some very bold people in a slave-holding state):
"On the background hung a most beautiful quilt, for which sixteen dollars was paid, and the quilt dedicated to the great pioneer, W.L. Garrison, as a token of the attachment of the friends to him personally, for his unwavering fidelity in the slaves cause."
Lucy Stone stands behind a portrait of Garrison
at that 1893 reunion.

Quilt attributed to Garrison's mother
Fanny Lloyd Garrison
Historic New England

See a post on this quilt made by Garrison's mother:

Suggestions for further research:
Whitney family papers are in Santa Barbara at UCSB's Davidson Library. Perhaps there is mention of the quilt made in Boylston.

Advertisement for an 1857 Antislavery Fair
in North Abington, Massachusetts
at which Garrison was a speaker.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Westering Women 10: Rocky Mountain Chain

Westering Women 10: Rocky Mountain Chain by Becky Brown

Becky's story that guided her choice of fabrics:
"Camping at Fort Laramie: a chance to supplement supplies and refresh ourselves mentally and physically in such a beautiful place."

Daniel Jenks painted a difficult pass through the Rockies in what is now
Colorado, where the slopes are steeper.

The Rocky Mountains were a formidable barrier to a trip across the continent. The major trails followed the Platte River because the mountain slopes in the northern Rockies were easier to cross. After passing Fort Laramie trails continued northwest until they came to a place called South Pass. 

William Henry Jackson painted wagons in South Pass
from memory decades after his trip.

You can see South Pass today by taking a small road east of 
Farson, Wyoming.

South Pass crossed the Rocky Mountains so gradually many people didn't notice they'd crossed the Continental Divide until they saw water in the streams running in a new direction---west instead of east. 

A few, like Maria Shrode, were disappointed with the "peak" of the Rockies. She’d thought she’d see “the elephant,” a 19th-century term for a spectacular event. On October 2, 1870 she wrote in her diary: 
“Camped just on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. I had thought all along they would be the Elephant but they are nothing to compare with some we have crossed.”

A 49er---California Miner---seeing the elephant

Elizabeth Dixon Smith was more impressed.
August 1, 1848.
"Passed over the Rocky mountain, the back bone of America. It is all rocks on top and they are split into pieces and turned up edge ways. Oh that I had time and talent to describe this curious country."

Once across this northern range of the Rockies, travelers took branches northwest to Oregon or southwest towards California. 

This block (BlockBase #1951) was published twice in the early 20th century.
Hearth & Home magazine called it Rocky Mountain Chain
and Comfort magazine called it Tumbling Blocks.

I simplified it a bit by importing the BlockBase image into EQ7 and erasing a few of the seams.

Rocky Mountain Chain

Cutting a 12" Block

A - Cut squares 2-7/8". You need 4 dark, 5 medium and 4 medium-light -13 in all.
B - Cut 8 squares 3-1/4". Cut each into 2 triangles with a diagonal cut. You need 16 triangles in all. 

C - Cut 8 rectangles 2-7/8" x 1-3/4".

Sewing the Block

Travelers photographed at South Pass in 1866 by Savage & Ottinger. 

Utah Academic Library Consortium.

Crossing Colorado's Ute Pass in a freight train 
would certainly qualify as seeing the elephant.

Read Maria Shrode's 1870 diary in Ho for California!: Women's Overland Diaries from the Huntington Library, edited by Sandra L. Myres (Huntington Library, 1980). Most of the journals I've been highlighting here are from the 1840s and '50s. After the Civil War when Maria traveled, the trail was very different---railroads and settled cities changed the experience.

Denniele's Block 10
Rocky Mountain Chain

1-10 Jeanne @ Spiral

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Knit Yourself a Sontag

If you're looking for an authentic Civil War craft project to fill those evening hours in re-enactment camp after you've done the dishes you can knit yourself a small triangular shawl or a sontag.

Also called a Bosom Friend.


Several patterns were published during the Civil War.


And you get the feeling that people followed the patterns

There were crocheted and knotted versions.

Doesn't this one look like tucked fabric
or quilted fabric but most knitters think it is knit.

The name? An early reference: In 1843 Miss Lambert in My Knitting Book gave directions for a sontag or Cephaline, a cap.

The shawl seems to have been named for Henriette Sontag (1806-1854) a German opera star.
(Perhaps her shoulders looked cold.)

The Illustrated Magazine gave a pattern for a
"habit shirt".
 "I do not know why it has received the name of the lamented cantatrice Sontag,
but such is the name by which this sort of garment is generally known."

Vocabulary Lesson
Cantatrice - a singer
Sontag, Habit Shirt and Bosom Friend----- a small shawl
Cephaline - something to wear on your head???

See a patriotic version of a Sontag in the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Civil War Sampler Finishes

BJM followed Becky's set.

This blog started in 2011 with a few blocks
inspired by the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
That grew to 50 blocks, and
seven more years.

SundayBee designed her own set.

Here are a few finishes from those first year blocks.

A.G. Lindsay, Civil War Sesquicentennial

Jane at StitchByStitch quilted this top.


Sherry Sorbera

Suedio tried two sets and went with 
the top---alternate white.

Shelia---note the ribbons!

"...After maturing in the UFO pile for 4 years, finally finished this year. I challenged our very talented HandiQuilter tutor to ply her modern magic on a traditional sampler. We were awarded a beautiful blue ribbon and a fabulous red one for 'Retaining the Tradition'."

Something Becky found in her Great-Grandmother's

Becky, Denniele, Barb Fife and I are plotting another Civil War
Block of the Month for 2017. We'll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Abolitionist Quilt at the Chester County Historical Society

Pennsylvania's Chester County Historical Society owns a baby quilt by the Herrick Sewing Circle of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The central feathered star block is inked with a poem that indicates it was made specifically for a fundraising bazaar for the antislavery cause "Freedom's Fair."
"Do thou, sweet babe, in safety sleep
Beneath this canopy so fair.
Formed thy fragile limbs to keep
Protected from the chilling air.
Formed in love for Freedom's Fair
To aid a righteous cause
To help its advocates declare
God's unchangeable and equal laws."
The photo is from The Signature Quilt: Traditions, Techniques and Signature Block Collection by Susan McKelvey and Pepper Cory, 1995.

I mentioned this quilt in my first book on Civil War quilts Quilts from the Civil War. I keep hoping to see it again in color. The Chester County Historical Society has 900 quilts in their collection.

Is this the same quilt?

And they have a current exhibit showing some of their new acquisitions:
Quilts: The Next Layer is up through January, 2017.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Past Perfect Pinterest Pages: Reproduction Prints

A Pinterest page of purples

Below are a few of the many Pinterest Pages I've assembled about different historic quilt color and print styles. Once you've found one of them you can click on the picture of me

and it will take you to all my boards under my name.
(I've also got boards under BlockBase.)

These should help you build your Civil War reproduction print stash with confidence.

Chrome Orange Past Perfect

Double Pink Past Perfect

Overdyed Green Past Perfect

Prussian Blue Past Perfect

Shirtings Past Perfect

Turkey Red Past Perfect

Madder Style Past Perfect

Indigo Past Perfect