Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Shield Quilt Pattern

I was looking through my Encyclopedia of Applique pattern book a couple of weeks ago and I came across this Shield pattern (my #60.86) from the Ladies Art Company about 1900. You don't see many published patriotic patterns before 1950 or so.

Did anybody ever make a quilt from this pattern?

This is the kind of question my old pattern detective friends Cuesta Benberry and Joyce Gross would have enjoyed. 

We'd have spent an afternoon looking through our books and filing cabinets and calling each other. Now things are digital so I looked through my files of 20th-century patriotic quilts. I spent a week looking at shields.

There are many patriotic quilts
from the first half of the century
and some feature shields.

But not the same shield.

Here's a spectacular full-sized example we uncovered
in the Kansas Quilt Project, made during World War I
when you'd guess someone might order
that Shield pattern and make it.

But n-o-o-o

I'd have to say the pattern started few projects.

Although it's not too late.

Last Minute Addition:

48 hours ago I was looking through Stella Rubin's fabulous collection of quilts for sale 
and came across this Patriotic Crib Quilt.

Here's the link:

I think I have to amend my blog post:
At least one quilter may have used the shield pattern.

Suzanne points out that the shield is similar to the Union Pacific railroad logo.

It's possible that several of the quilters looking for a shield would look to advertising.

Here are two others

Karan reminds me that the Roosevelt home at Hyde Park has a quilt in their collection made in the Ladies Art Company shield pattern. She found it in Sue Reich's recent book World War II Quilts, page 47. 

Shield Quilt

This rung a small bell in the back, way back of my memory. I did a little internet searching and found a list of quilts in the holdings at Hyde Park with some black and white photos. The caption on this one reads:

"U.S. Shield Quilt Red, white and blue taffeta quilt decorated with shields of the U.S. Designed by Rev John A. Stubbs and made by the young people's department of the Church of God, Cleveland, Tenn. The quilt was sent to FDR by Miss Willard H Boyles, Gen'l Sec. Victory Leaders Band, the Church of God on September 21, 1943."

The article on the Hyde Park quilts is in Joyce Gross's Quilters Journal #19 June 1982, page 10. You can read a PDF of the magazine at the Quilt Index website:

The good news is Karan is right. This looks very much like the Ladies Art Company pattern.

The bad news is I co-wrote that article. I went to Hyde Park and I looked at the quilts in 1981 and Joyce, Cuesta and I did the article for an issue that focused on New York quilt history.

Well, at least Karan still has a memory.

From an online auction, looks to be about 1900.

UPDATE: 6 years later.
Dealer John Sauls showed this one from his long ago inventory.

13 stripes, just like the pattern.


suzanne said...

This curvey Ladies Art Co shield looks almost exactly like the logo adopted in 1887 by the Union Pacific Railroad. See it at select History of Logo and then Early Shields 1887-1892.

As a logo it was well-known to those who waited for the trains yo pass by. Perhaps it's commercial associations made it less attractive tquiltmakers?

Anonymous said...

What a great quilting pattern, too. I laughed at your memory comment. My husband and I used to say we still had one good brain between us. Thanks for some lovely examples of earlier 20th century patriotic shield quilts.

Unknown said...

I suppose this info is completely unique.
Gettysburg Museum of History

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