Saturday, May 25, 2019

How Many Sanitary Commission Quilts Survive?



In a study of quilts made for Union Soldiers Virginia Gunn estimated that 125,000 quilts and comforts were distributed by the Sanitary Commission during the war.

The Sanitary Commission was all about keeping records

Read "Quilts for Union Soldiers in the Civil War" by Virginia Gunn, Uncoverings #6, 1985 at this  link:

Very few of those quilts survive.
Pamela Weeks, curator of the New England Quilt Museum, estimates about 20 have been identified in museum and private collections today. I have 14 in the picture files.

Fort Hill Sewing Circle, dated 1864
 Hingham, Massachusetts
International Quilt Study Center and Museum Collection

Inking on some survivors tells us of the origins.A few have a stamp indicating that they were the property of the Sanitary Commission as in the quilt above.


And a few have a story passed on with them.

Wadsworth Athenaeum Collection
Granville, New York

New England Quilt Museum Collection

Each block here is separately bound.

These samplers tend to be of a style---simple pieced blocks of cotton set together with narrow sashing (sometimes each block is quilted and then joined---what we called potholder quilts today). The quilts are long and narrow.

The Sanitary Commission asked for quilts of cheap materials, about 7 feet long by 50 inches wide
and several of these quilts are about 84" x 50", as requested.

Several of the survivors feature repeat blocks

Nine patch from Jan Coor Pender Dodge's collection,
Made in Dublin, New Hampshire.
It has the stamp on it.

Made in Vernon, Connecticut
Collection of the Lincoln Memorial Shrine
Redlands, California

Stamped label on the reverse

Made in Florence, Massachusetts, 1865

The quilt from Florence has a patriotic image
in the center, which certainly helps with identification.

International Quilt Study Center and Museum Collection
1997.007.0569
Made in Detroit, Michigan, 1864

Made for the Armory Square Hospital in Washington

Mystic Seaport Museum Collection
Ladies's Aid Society, Portland, Maine

Belfast Historical Society
Belfast, Maine, Ladies Aid Society
For the Armory Square Hospital

Collection of the Smithsonian Institution
Susannah Pullen and Sunday School Class
Augusta, Maine

Several inked inscriptions tell us the source of the quilt: "If this quilt survives the war we would like to have it returned to Mrs. Gilbert Pullen, Augusta, Me....This quilt completed Sept. 1st 1863.”
http://civilwarquilts.blogspot.com/2013/06/susannah-pullens-quilt.html

Made in Windsor County, Vermont, attributed to 
Caroline Bowen Fairbanks, Vermont Historical Society


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Rest of the Post on Repro Fabrics

Sarah's Story in Betsey Chutchian's booth

Pam Buda's booth

Riviera Rose by Renee Nanneman 

I went to Quilt Market last Friday looking for what was new in repro fabric.
Not much. It was hard to find any 19th-century reprints scheduled for summer and fall delivery.

Rochester by Di Ford Hall

There are a few good lines out there. Some available now.

Susanna's Scraps by Betsy Chutchian

Some scheduled for fall

Regency Sussex by Christopher Wilson Tate

It's a good time to buy if you are looking for blues...
Tell your shop owner to buy them
and then you buy them from her.
It couldn't hurt.

Charlotte 1860 by Carrie Quinn

Abigail Blue by Mary Koval

Vive La France by French General

And you should be buying blues because one day the blue trend will be over
and you will have to rely on your stash.

Carol Hopkins, Mrs. Lincoln

There was no shortage of traditional patterns. We loved this one by Carol Hopkins but it's hard for shops to support the traditional and reproduction pattern businesses when there is no fabric to market with the books and patterns. Quilt shops are really not in the business of advising people to use their stashes.

Maybe next year.

Repro Prints at Quilt Market

Riviera Rose by Renee Nanneman 

I went to Quilt Market last week looking for what was new in repro fabric.
Not much. It was hard to find any 19th-century reprints scheduled for summer and fall delivery.

I pushed the send button too soon. You'll have to wait till Wednesday to read the rest of this post.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Children of the Confederacy

Most of the quilts are from online auctions

My picture files of crazy quilts made at the end of the 19th century include an unsettling number of Confederate flags. An article in the Washington Post this week gives me a glimpse into the culture behind the continuing mystique of these memorials.

Lewis Allen Collection

The article: "Why Young Southerners Still Get Indoctrinated in the Lost Cause" is by Daniel L. Fountain, professor of history at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina.

George Washington & Jefferson Davis
Pocahontas Gay, National Museum of American History

Fountain begins:
"Statues can be torn down. The lies on which they were built are harder to topple. At the age of two, four years before I was baptized, I was inducted into the Children of the Confederacy, the children’s auxiliary of the United Daughters of the Confederacy."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/05/16/why-young-southerners-still-get-indoctrinated-lost-cause/?utm_term=.cf81f4da246b


Northerners like me have never heard of the Children of the Confederacy.

From the Digital Library of Georgia


From the Digital Library of Georgia

Current project of a chapter of the 
Children of the Confederacy

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Arty Antebellum Album Photos

Kay Gentry

I've been taking some glamour shots for next year's book 
on our Antebellum Album BOM

I got out all my props and invested in flowers.

Cindy Brouillard
Dottie (lower right) will probably not appear in the book


Dena Brannen

Without the bird

Dorry Emmer

Lynn Graff

Meliss Swenson

My photographs may never appear in the book but I'll use them for
publicity when the book comes out in 2020 (if I remember I have them.)

Thanks to you quilters for loaning your quilts.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Amanda Donohoe's Civil War

 Quilt block signed Amanda Donohoe, Retirement, Va
13" x 13"

Some of you may recall Amanda's inking with its graceful banner from
last year's Antebellum Album quilt. 

Barbara D. Schaffer's signature block in her Antebellum Album

Amanda's framed block has been sold and resold over the past few years, advertised as a theorem. It's quite a pretty thing but it seems obvious that it's an album quilt block. Aren't theorems stenciled or painted?

Theorem stenciled onto velvet

Quilt with a center block dated 1849
Collection of the Maryland Historical Society

Amanda's piece is an appliqued and inked album quilt block in the Baltimore style.

Style doesn't get any more Baltimore than the center of this
quilt, which is also signed Amanda Donohoe, 1849 (October)
Is that the initial H for her middle name?

With a similar banner in her inscription.


I'd guess the Maryland Historical Society's quilt was put together long after 1849. The setting is unusual for a Baltimore album and the border of five red and white strips is something you might see after 1870 rather than in 1850. It descended in the Darnall family who donated it in 1957. They thought it might have been made for Thomas Lewis Darnall but could find no connection to Ms. Donohoe.

How did Amanda Donohue come to be associated with two such beautiful blocks?
Did she design and make them?
Did she buy basted blocks and stitch them?
Did she buy them as finished pieces?
Did she ink the details and her name?
The lone block at the top of the page is attributed to Amanda Heaton Donohue (1815-1901) who lived her long life as a single woman in Loudoun County, Virginia. "Retirement" in the inscription may refer to the name of the Donohoe family home.

When the blocks were made Amanda was about 34 years old. She was from a family of eleven children born to John Varner Donohue and Sarah Chilton Roszel. Several of the Donohue girls remained single, probably supported by brother Stephen George (a common name in the Donohue family) who was characterized as "being the main dependence of a large family"

Family from Find-A-Grave

By the time of the Civil War three sisters were living: Ann Roszel, Mary Elizabeth and Amanda. Brother Stephen had four boys in the Confederate Armies and the aunts wrote to them. Their home in Philomont, Loudoun County was in the midst of war with Union and Confederate sympathizers living side by side and various armies crisscrossing the mountains throughout the war. After the Union Army occupied nearby Leesburg in 1862 Amanda wrote:
"Oh that this horrible, this unnatural war were at an end.
Union troops in Loudoun County
"We are cut off from nearly all communications with our friends, both North and South....[Nephews] George and LeGrand too have fled from home with many other secessionists rather than take the oath of allegiance. George was very unwell when he left, and we have not heard from him since. They took the horses."
Two of the boys died in battle. Donohoe family letters are now in the Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg. Nephew John Carroll Donohoe (1838-1921) left a diary of his war experiences, which is in the Library of Virginia.

Detail of the center of the quilt

Back to happier times and the Baltimore album blocks with Amanda's name: Baltimore is about 75 miles away from Philomont. We have no idea how they came to be made, but a little research into her family history reveals that her grandmother Sarah Chilton Roszel (1775-1853) was one of the leaders in Baltimore's first Methodist Societies. As the Methodists are closely connected to the fashion for Baltimore album quilts, we can imagine Amanda's link.


Detail of the single block

Sarah's son, Amanda's Uncle Stephen George Roszel
was a well-known Methodist minister as was his son
Stephen Asbury Roszel.


In 1851 Mrs John McCormick of Alexandria, Virginia,
presented a "beautiful quilt" to Stephen Asbury Rozsel (sic),
probably gotten together by ladies of a Methodist church there.

Amanda herself was a member of the small Methodist Church in Philomont.
Roszel's Chapel or Mountain Chapel was built on her mother's family land.

Leesburg about 1910
Amanda died just a few years before this photo was taken.

Amanda's block is on the cover of curator Jennifer Goldsborough's
catalog of quilts in the Maryland Historical Society
but her name is omitted in the lists of makers.