Saturday, September 4, 2021

Florence Bell's Crazy Quilt


"FB" Florence Bell
 in a crazy quilt in the collection of the
Colorado Historical Society.

Copied in several Missouri newspapers in 1893.

Florence was born about 1858 into slavery in Jackson County, Missouri, the Kansas City area. She was a child when the Civil War ended and she and her family were free.

Remarkably, Florence's silk crazy quilt has survived with its story of the 1893 exhibit, 
a rare example of that Chicago World's Fair link with two corroborating stories.

This may be Florence's grave in Hot Springs, Arkansas
She lived from about 1858 to 1895.

After Florence died her husband moved to Colorado bringing her quilt with him. It eventually wound up in the collection of the Colorado Historical Society...

Where you can see it displayed on a slant board at the Colorado
History Center in Denver.

We know little about her, except what she looked like.

Florence Bell (1858-1895)

Portrait in the collection of the museum
from a Boulder, Colorado photographer.

Her quilt may indeed have been displayed at the Arkansas state building at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. The museum notes also say it was exhibited at the 1904 Exposition in St. Louis in the Colorado exhibit. After spending time on searching for corroboration on 1893 Fair stories I am NOT going to fall down that 1904 rabbit hole. My guess: Plenty of crazy quilts shown in 1904 and we'll leave it at that.

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