Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Lincoln Signature Quilt?

"Abraham Lincon
[P]Resident U.S. America

Well you'd hope it was an authentic autograph but did he ever misspell his name?
And the office?

An authentic Lincoln signature in an autograph book.
See more about that signature here:

This Turkey red signature quilt from the Snyder family
belongs to the
Historic Huguenot Street Museum in 
New Paltz, New York

SUNY student Ashley Trainor did a genealogical project to date the quilt, which has 63 Ulster County signatures on it. There are also three famous names: 
"Abraham Lincon,"  “Mrs. Abraham Lincoln,” and “Gen. U.S. Grant”

Using marriage, birth, and death dates, plus the famous names, she has come up with the date 1865-1866, consistent with the date on the Lincoln block.

You can't see many details but the print in the Lincoln block looks consistent with that date. Signature quilts were quite popular after 1841 and this "Chimney Sweep" pattern was extremely popular, particularly in New York, from the 1840s until about 1920, so it isn't much help in assigning a date. Do scroll down to last week's post to see it used in a Wisconsin Civil War quilt. 

Borders are always a weak clue, but a clue nevertheless, and those multiple strip borders indicate a date after 1875 or so. Perhaps the blocks were put together and quilted later.

See Ashley's blog post on the quilt at the Museum blog:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hazel Green Wisconsin Soldiers' Quilt

Detail: The Hazel Green Soldiers Aid Quilt
Collection: Grant County Historical Society
Lancaster, Wisconsin

This pink signature quilt has been handed down with an inscription and the story of its making.

The inked inscription:
"Made by the members of the Young Ladies Soldiers Aid Society Hazel Green, Wis. 1864."

The story is that the women made the quilt to raise money for the Soldiers Aid Society.

This view seems to show a part of the quilt.
See more at Wisconsin History:

You can view it quite closely to see the various double pink prints.

Hazel  Green is a little town in Grant County in southwestern Wisconsin not far from the Mississippi River. 

The Grant County Herald in October 23, 1861 printed a plea to the ladies of the county.

“LADIES: - Your husbands, sons and brothers are now imperiling their lives in behalf of your country…But yet your duty to your country ceases not with the offerings you have already tendered. It requires at your hands still further sacrifices. It requires you now to show benevolence equal to your patriotism…You are solicited to come forward and tender the government your assistance in alleviating their distress. Our soldiers on duty – the sick and wounded in the hospital, require your aid and assistance…A sanitary committee, composed of some of the most scientific and benevolent citizens are appointed to act in concert with the agents of the government to procure a supply of such articles as our soldiers stand the most in need…Form yourselves into neighborhood societies, appoint some of the most active of your members to solicit money or contributions of materials; hold weekly sessions, bring together what you have been able to collect and purchase…Those articles that are now most needed are blankets. Through your committees of “Good Samaritans” solicit the donation of woolen blankets from every household that can possibly spare one. If woolen blankets cannot be had, get quilts or comfortable, padded with cotton…

The women responded. The 1881 Grant County History complimented them.

"Soldiers' Aid Societies were organized in every city, village and township...Many a soldier boy's heart has jumped with joy, as boxes laden with warm clothing, pocket comforts, or delicacies to which he had long been a stranger, came fresh from the far off Northern home..."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Appliqued Sampler: The Typical Civil War Quilt?

Red & Green Applique
Hand appliqued and hand quilted by Wendy Turnbull

Wendy showed this terrific wall quilt at our guild show recently.
She was inspired by some applique patterns she liked,
particularly the Cotton Boll in the center.

I didn't need much of an excuse to show it here, but I thought it was the classic Civil War era reproduction, so here it is for you to admire (do notice the hand quilting!)

I've been collecting pictures of quilts made in the 1860s and when you look at those on my Pinterest page you see that one typical Civil War style is an appliqued sampler in red and green.

Like this one dated 1862-3 from New Jersey from the Antiques Road Show.
See another New Jersey sampler on Barbara Shaffer's blog here:

If you are looking to make a Civil War quilt reproduction---applique might be the way to go.

See Lori's group reproduction at her Humble Quilts Blog

I noticed one of her group also liked the Cotton Boll block.

If you're looking for patterns EQ has digital patterns for 16 designs in a Civil War Sampler:

Homeward Bound
from Sew Graceful Quilting

And Sew Graceful Quilting is doing a block-of-the-month starting this month---a sampler of applique kitted up in my Moda collection Metropolitan Fair for the applique.

See the "Homeward Bound" BOM here:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Susannah Pullen's Quilt

Soldier's Aid Society quilt
 Organized by Susannah Corey Pullen (1816-1871)
Augusta Maine

Susannah Pullen's Civil War quilt is in the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, donated in 1936. We might recognize it as a Civil War quilt because of the way it is constructed ---block-by-block with bound edges, what we call potholder quilts today.

The reverse of the quilt shows the binding around each block

which is harder to see on the front.

When Susannah's granddaughter donated the quilt she sent a file of paperwork, with two letters
from soldiers, one dated Nov. 22, 1863:

 "Dear Madam I have had the pleasure of seeing the beautiful 'Quilt' sent by you to cheer and comfort the Maine Soldiers. I have read the mottoes, sentiments, etc., inscribed thereon with much pleasure and profit."

There are no mottoes inscribed on the quilt today. There is nothing visible on the quilt in the photos---but the contradiction is explained in the museum catalog's last paragraph. The quilt was on public display in the Augusta public library for many years. The front was covered with inked inscriptions and must have made an entertaining exhibit. But the light faded the ink (or perhaps time changed the ink's chemistry) and the inking is gone.

One inscription read:
“The commencement of this war took place Apr. 12th 1861. The first gun was fired from Fort Sumter. God speed the time when we can tell when, and where, the last gun was fired; & ‘we shall learn war no more.’ 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.” 

Susannah Pullen invited letters from soldiers in another inscription:
"We have many dear friends connected with the army & any proper letters from any persons embraced in the defense of our country, received by any whose names are on this quilt shall have a reply. Tell us if nothing more its destination. We meet with many others to sew for you every Wednesday and your letters would prompt us to more exertions for our patriots."

Another of the over 150 inscriptions:
"If you are good looking send me your photograph. Direct to the name in the large square. E.G.D."

Before the years of exhibition faded the inscriptions completely, someone transcribed all of them.

The next time a possible museum donor requests that you keep her quilt on permanent display you might direct her to the National Museum of American History's page on this quilt. It's a cautionary tale.

Read much more about the quilt in Virginia Eisemon's, "Sunday School Scholars Quilt: Civil War Textile Document," Uncoverings: 2004, The Research Papers of the American Quilt Study Group, Volume 25

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dixie Diary 6: Dreams of Home

Block 6 
Dreams of Home
8" Version

A square pieced inside a square represents Sarah Morgan's hopes of returning home.

A woman with a birdcage in the window
About 1880

Sarah never went home to Baton Rouge again. September found the women and children sleeping on the floor of a boarding house in the small town of Clinton, forty miles north. She wrote a good deal about her losses. Did her canary Jimmie survive the Yankee raids on the Baton Rouge house? Why didn't she bring an extra pair of shoes?

Clinton is north of Baton Rouge up by the Mississippi state line.

September 3, 1862, Clinton, Louisiana
"If I dare hope that next summer would bring us Peace! I always prophesy it just six months off; but do I believe it? Indeed, I don't know what will become of us if it is delayed much longer. If we could only get home, it would be another thing; but boarding, how long will mother's two hundred and fifty last? …But if we get home, what will we do for bedding? The Yankees did not leave us a single comfort, and only two old bars [mosquito nets] and a pair of ragged sheets, which articles are not to be replaced at any price in the Confederacy, so we must go without. How glad I am that we gave all our blankets to our soldiers last summer! So much saved from the Yankees!"

Soldiers on both sides were notorious for stealing bedding, as in this detail from
George Caleb Bingham's Order Number Eleven

From the Library of Congress

Clinton, Louisiana is full of historic buildings that were there when the Morgans boarded in in the fall of 1862. Take a virtual tour here:

The pieced block has a BlockBase number
#1193 a
(Don't forget the "a" if you are searching by number.)
The first published name for this shading was "A Simple Quilt Block"

Texas Jane has proofread and found that I made an error in the directions. So I have fixed it in fuchsia type.
You'd have too many triangles if you listened to me. Thank you, Jane.

Cutting 12":

There is only one template.
A –  Cut 2 - the correct number is 1-- light and 2 (1) dark squares 6-7/8". Cut each into 4 triangles with 2 cuts.

Cutting 8":
A –  Cut 2 (1) light and (1) dark squares 4-7/8". Cut each into 4 triangles with 2 cuts.
Applique a star or a heart after piecing.

Optional applique:
Go back to the January 5, 2013 post to see a JPG with the heart and the star.

Woman about 1865