Saturday, March 5, 2011

10 Lincoln's Platform

Lincoln's Platform by Becky Brown.
She used the central square to fussy cut a flower
 to remember Mary Lincoln's floral silk dresses.

Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States on March 4, 1861. Lincoln's Platform can mark the anniversary week.

Lincoln in 1861

The quilt pattern dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. We don't know what quilters called it then but magazines and pattern companies gave it many names at the end of the 19th century and into the twentieth. Among them: Shoo-Fly, Monkey Wrench and Hole In the Barn Door. In her 1935 book Carrie Hall called the nine patch Lincoln's Platform.

Several photos of the inauguration on the steps of the Capitol building were taken.
The new dome was not yet finished and
the building remained a construction project for several years.

Nineteen-year-old Charles Bowditch,  suspended from Harvard for taking part in a student protest, had time to go to Washington to watch Lincoln's inauguration. He documented his trip in letters to his mother back in Boston. The day before, he called at the office of his Senator Charles Sumner for tickets.
"He was very profuse in apologies and told me that he had made inquiries & found that no tickets were to be issued since they would have to issue 10,000 if any at all. He said my best plan would be to take my chance with the crowd."
On the morning of the 4th Charles went by Willard's Hotel. Due to his family's political connections he was invited:
 "to the Presidents rooms & found a good many people there consisting however, I believe of his & his wife's relations…Mrs. Lincoln is a very pleasant looking woman & is by no means coarse looking as has been said. She was dressed in a brown silk with a black velvet cloak & a green plush bonnet."

Of course Charles's mother (and we) would want
 to know what the First Lady was wearing.
Here she is in evening dress in 1861,
wearing a silk with roses on a ground of pin dots.

Bowditch was swept up with the Lincoln/Todd party and observed the ceremony with the family. 
Charles is somewhere in the crowd here,
close to the wooden canopy at the center. 

 "About 1 o'clock we went out to the front of the Capitol the steps of which had been floored over & took our seat. We then saw Messrs. Lincoln & Buchanan come down the steps & the Judges of the Supreme Court. Lincoln then delivered his inaugural amid much cheering & shouting & afterwards took his oath of office….Uncle Thomas calls the Inaugural [speech] wishy-washy. I have not read it & was not near enough to hear what he said.

Thus you see the Inauguration has gone through very successfully & safely & Mr. Lincoln has not been made the victim of any hostile inventions or infernal machines [bombs]…Mr. Lincoln has rec'd a great many threatening letters which of course made the family feel very uncomfortably."
Cutting for an 8" Finished Block for Lincoln's Platform (#1646 in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns & BlockBase)

A - Cut 2 light and 2 dark squares 3-1/2". Cut each in half diagonally with one cut.

You need 4 dark and 4 light triangles

B - Cut 4 dark and 4 light rectangles 3-1/8" x 1-7/8".
C - Cut 1 light square 3-1/8"

Charles Pickering Bowditch's account of the Inauguration was published as "'We had a very fine day': Charles Bowditch Attends Lincoln's Inauguration" by Katherine W. Richardson in the Essex Institute Historical Collections, Volume 124, Number 1, January 1988, pages 28-35.

If you are worried about Charles being suspended from Harvard, don't fret. He went back to school and had an admirable career as an anthropologist. Read his lengthy obituary here.

Another of Mary Lincoln's silk dresses from 1861.
This one is in the collection of the Smithsonian.


Nat Palaskas said...

Thanks Barbara, for another wonderful block. I laid my 9 blocks together tonight and they all look great. I'm really happy with them. Thank you - Hugs Nat

MARCIE said...

I love these snippets of history that you share with us and particularly the personal stories. Thanks so much!

Leila said...

This is the first thing I check every Saturday morning. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! And for the photos - they fit perfectly into *another* civil war project I'm doing!

Jayne Honnold said...

Bravo! This is one of my favorite blocks! And I am loving all the history lessons I am getting every Saturday morning! The first hand account of Lincoln's inauguration plus those behind-the-scenes glimpses into the goings-on are just wonderful. This has been a fun little project.


Ann Champion said...

Thanks for another wonderful post..and block pattern. I so enjoy the history of the people and what they did and how they lived. That's the History I want to know. When I was in school it seemed like History was just memorizing battle places/dates? Very boring!

Eileen said...

I was in Washington in October and went to the Lincoln exhibit at the Smithsonian as well as Ford's Theatre. It brought him more to life and Mary Lincoln as well.
Thank you for these blocks-we should never forget our history.

Dora, the Quilter said...

We saw several of Mary Lincoln's dresses when we were able to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois two summers ago. If the one in which she's pictured is of the scattered embroidered violet flowers on white, we saw that one too. I've been a Lincoln admirer since childhood, and the museum was an amazing experience. One of my daughter's favorite places was "Mary's Closet".

Rosemary Youngs said...

I'm glad that you get up early on Saturday mornings, it is always the first thing that I check. I am also very thankful that people kept such good letters and journals for us to get a glimpse into history.

Betty Lou said...

Barbara---I am just starting with you on the Civil War quilt, so I will have a little catching up to do. Two weeks ago I was at the Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth, what a wonderful display. They also had a sections of dresses,beautiful dress and the most I have ever seen in one place. I put some pictures on my blog Sugarland Quilts, you have to go back about two weeks, around Feb 22nd. Thank you for putting these pattern up for us

Pip said...

I'm just starting to make my blocks so have a ways to catch up. I really enjoy reading the little snippet of history each weekend.

Karen said...

Is it another week already? I'll have to find a flower print worthy of signifying a silk dress!

Julia said...

Look forward to and love your history posts..
I'm Down Under, very interested in the civil war era history, this is a great way to learn about it, and make a block to commemorate that time.

Linda said...

I was using the cut and paste method to come up with a document that I could use to get the pattern. I have found an easier way and don't have to create a document or cut, paste or anything. All I do to print it out is: go to file, do print preview, look and decide what pages I want to print, hit print, and tell the computer which pages I want to print. Usually, I print just the one with the directions on it...I hope this helps someone else. thanks for the wonderful patterns and stories, I am really enjoying doing these lovely blocks.

Claudia Hieber said...

hi Barbara
thanks for this wonderful blocks.
I will figure out how to make 4" blocks.
greetings from Germany

Carmen María said...

Hello Barbara,
Thanks for another block.
Hugs, Carmen Mª.

Anonymous said...

Love the picture of Mary Todd Lincoln. I have completed the block and have posted it along with a how-to on my blog.

Merilyn said...

Thankyou for another lovely block and for the history lesson. My goodness! Mr C. Bowditch was a busy man!!!!, I was exhausted just reading through all his interests and organisations he belonged to!!!

Georgia ( said...

I just found your blog and I love it! As much time as I spend on cyberquilting, I can't believe I haven't encountered it before. I own several of your books and have admired your work for a long time and I can't wait to get caught up with everyone else on this block of the week. I've also shared YOUR blog in MY blog... I know several of my followers will enjoy this as well. Thanks!

The Calico Quilter said...

I love this sampler. The first thing I do every Saturday morning is print out the new pattern - sometimes I even cut out all the pieces before breakfast!

McKenna said...

I'm truly enjoying this project. Thanks so much.

Claudia Hieber said...

hi girls
I have now finsihed all 10 blocks in the last days , you can see them on my blog:
now I have to wait for saturday!!
happy sewing

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