Saturday, January 30, 2016

Persis Bradbury's Applique Table Cover

Detail of an appliqued table cover by Persis Ripley Bradbury
"Made by P.R.B. 1864."

You may recall seeing this patriotic appliqued piece in the 1994 book Classic Crib Quilts and How to Make Them by Thomas Woodard and Blanche Greenstein, which recorded many of the small quilts that passed through their dealer showroom.
The fifteen blocks add up to a finished size of  27" x 43", 
indicating each is about 8" square.

See a digital photo online at the Alliance for American Quilts website Quilt Treasures Presents: Woodard and Greenstein.

View more of the favorite quilts from their collection by clicking left and right at the site.

Norway, Maine about 1905

Persis Ripley Bradbury was about 30 years old when she appliqued the date. She lived in Oxford County, Maine, near the Vermont New Hampshire border and was married to Henry A.M. Bradbury, who'd been a private in the 23rd Maine Infantry in 1862. 

See a post on corrections to this post here:

A view of Paris Hill, Oxford County, from the Robert N. Dennis collection of
Stereoscopic Views

Persis was born in 1835 to Valentine and Lovina Ripley, near Buckfield, Maine. She married Henry in 1855 and when he enlisted he left her with baby Elton and three-year-old Ernest. Two older children Henry and Mary had died at 3 years and just a few days old.

Fortunately Henry's regiment never saw battle although many men died of disease in their service guarding the Potomac and other sites in Washington City, Maryland and Virginia. Persis's brother Eliphaz Ripley died in a hospital in Washington in December, 1863. 

The appliqued house

Henry was mustered out in July, 1863, and we hope returned home for the rest of the war. 

The family tombstone tells a sad story of Persis's children. Elton died six months after his father returned. Two later girls died young too.

The five children who died before they were five: 
Henry Woods, Sept 28, 1856 - Feb. 1859
Mary, May 22, 1858 - May 26, 1858
Elton Bird, Jan. 7, 1862-Jan. 23, 1864 [This date has been misread as 1904.]
Vina Ripley, Feb. 18, 1870-July 18,1870
Inez Pearl, Sept. 13, 1871-Feb. 25, 1873
Children of H.A.M. & Persis R. Bradbury

They seem to have had only one surviving child, Ernest Ambrose Bradbury who became a doctor of homeopathic medicine, practicing in Vermont. 

The tombstone was erected when Henry died in 1907.

Persis lived to be 80, dying in 1915. Her family is buried in the Norway Pine Grove Cemetery in Paris, Maine.

In the Woodard and Greenstein book Persis's name is spelled Persius.
(Persis without the U was a rather popular name in that small part of Maine at the time.)

Her small blocks on dark wool have much in common with cotton applique
quilts at the time of the Civil War.

Bed covering dated 1841,
Collection: Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The style is similar to a New England tradition of wool applique, found in large bedquilts.

Wool applique and embroidery on wool, about 1860, 158" x 112"
American Folk Art Museum.

Maine quilt
Collection: Museum of Fine Arts Boston

New England quilt, about 1800-1830. Collection: Winterthur Museum.

And a related tradition of smaller table covers
From Laura Fisher Quilts

Above and below from dealers Elliot  & Grace Snyder

Detail of the Bradbury piece, upper right corner.
Details in the Bradbury table clover, such as the blue seam-covering embroidery and the plaid binding (back brought over front?), however, might indicate that the piece was assembled after 1880 when the feather stitch was quite popular.

Here's a detail of a wool applique quilt from the collection of Historic New England. It's
dated 1854 on the right side in one of the blocks. This one is set together in period fashion. Each block was bound before it was joined---a potholder quilt, we'd call it.

See the whole quilt here at the Quilt Index:

In fact, these two quilts have so much in common,
it must go beyond coincidence.

But why I cannot say.


Suzanne A said...

I would never have thought of isolating that Liberty row to make a table runner -- brilliant! I love the primitive look and this post is a wonderful abundance of appealing examples.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

it was so common for young children to die back then, it must have been so sad to always wonder if you children would make it past 3 or 4. both of my parents lost siblings back in the 1910-1920 era - my mother had four baby siblings she never knew that died before her and my father one. Love your history posts they are so interesting.

Vic in NH said...

Oooops! New Hampshire, my very own beloved home state, does exist between Oxford County, Maine and Vermont. Maine has zero borders with Vermont.

Thank you for your otherwise delightful post!

Unknown said...

Great post Barbara!

WoolenSails said...

I have always loved that book and that quilt, didn't realize she was from Oxford.
We go up there to the mill store when we are in the area, love that part of Maine.


Anna said...

Amazing quilts and wonderful post, thank you

Laura Lane said...

This Quilt also has many similarities to the Emily Munroe Quilt in the collection of the New England Quilt Museum. The Munroe Quilt is included in "Massachusetts Quilts: Our Common Wealth" and "Home front and Battlefield".

Laura Lane said...

This Quilt also has many similarities to the Emily Munroe Quilt in the collection of the New England Quilt Museum. The Munroe Quilt is included in "Massachusetts Quilts: Our Common Wealth" and "Home front and Battlefield".

Barbara Brackman said...

New Hampshire! Huumpph. will fix.

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Wonderful post. Norway and Paris, Maine have changed greatly over the years. However, Paris Hill has many of its original buildings and has a superb historical society thanks to the late Barbara Swan Frost and her cohorts. They have two fantastic cotton potholder quilts and many other textile treasures. I was lucky enough to see the wool quilt with the scalloped edge a number of years ago with Cyndi Black. We were in awe! We think (although we didn't do an actual fiber test) that the hair on the portraits were embroidered using human hair. I did a bit of research at the time and the "rounded" building looked very much like the old inn in Solon, Maine where it was thought to have been made. Fantastic quilt. Thanks again for sharing.

Nann said...

I used to live in Auburn, just down the road from Oxford County. I enjoyed the story of Persus and her quilt.