Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Yankee Diary 11: Victory is Grant-ed

Block 12
Victory is Grant-ed
From Carrie's Diary:
April 10, 1865
"We were quietly eating our breakfast this morning about 7 o'clock, when our church bell commenced to ring, then the Methodist bell, and now all the bells in town are ringing.... 

Methodist Church in Canandaigua.
Photo by Carrie's friend Augustus Coleman
"I saw Capt. Aldrich passing, so I rushed to the window and he waved his hat. I raised the window and asked him what was the matter? He came to the front door where I met him and he almost shook my hand off and said, 'The war is over. We have Lee's surrender, with his own name signed.' I am going down town now, to see for myself, what is going on.
Chauncey S Aldridge is second from left.
"Later—I have returned and I never saw such performances in my life. Every man has a bell or a horn, and every girl a flag and a little bell, and everyone is tied with red, white and blue ribbons. I am going down town again now, with my flag in one hand and bell in the other and make all the noise I can.... "
Before electricity made glowing nighttime windows commonplace, 
towns celebrated by "illuminating" windows. 
Here a print of an illumination and parade 
 for Lincoln's election in New York City.
"Have been out walking for the last hour and a half, looking at the brilliant illuminations, transparencies and everything else and I don't believe I was ever so tired in my life. The bells have not stopped ringing more than five minutes all day and every one is glad to see Canandaigua startled out of its propriety for once. 
The Atwater Block about 1910
 just before it was torn down for the new post office
"The Court House, Atwater Block, and hotel have about two dozen candles in each window throughout, besides flags and mottoes of every description....'Victory is Grant-ed' is in large red, white and blue letters in front of Atwater Block."
Union General Grant accepts Confederate General Lee's surrender,
April 9, 1865

The Block

Block # 11
Becky Brown

The celebratory dog and bird block is adapted from one in an album
quilt dated 1861-1862 from Rockland County, New York.

Read a post on that quilt here:

A flag goes over the seam line between blocks 11 and 9.

Cutting a 12" finished block
Cut a background square 12-1/2" x 12-1/2" or larger and trim to 12-1/2" after applique and pressing.
Fold the background in half and half again and press for guide lines for placement.

Print this JPG out full size. It should just fit on an 8-1/2" wide sheet.
Add seams. Cut 1 of every piece.

Applique the dog and bird

When you are appliquéing the dog begin with his chin and leave his mouth unstitched so you can add a flag pole later over the seam line between Block 11 and Block 9.

Lori Kukuk quilted my Yankee Diary on her long arm machine.

You have a leftover flag from Block #2. Cut the flag pole 1" x 6-1/2" and turn the sides under so you have a strip finishing to 1/2" wide. The flag might be a little large but you can easily trim the stripes. I let mine overlap the pole in Block 9.

Insert the flag pole in the dog's mouth and finish stitching that down while you applique the pole.

Yankee Diary (lower left detail) by Denniele Bohannon

You can now set the lower left section.

One more block to go.

Becky's flag is smaller than mine & Denniele's

Ron Chernow's new Grant biography is a hefty read but if the size puts you off just read chapter 23 on Lee's Surrender.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Day at Philadelphia’s Great Central Fair

On June 25, 1864 Emilie Davis and Sarah Wister, living together in Germantown, Pennsylvania, “went to town [Philadelphia].” In her diary entry for the day Emilie wrote they went “to see the great Fair…I was delighted with the fair it was beautiful.” She enjoyed herself so much she made an extra note at the end of her annual pocket diary where she had a little more room to write.

Displays at the Great Central Fair
held in Logan Square June 7-28, 1864
“Visited the [fair] with Mrs. Wister it certainly was worth going to. We visited all the Principle Places of interest. When I came out I had seen so much I hardly could recollect who I had seen. I saw a perfect deal of handsome work but I did not see any done by any colored person. There might of been some things there I did not see.”
Detail of the New Jersey booth in Philadelphia

Emilie herself was a "colored person,” a young Philadelphia seamstress and domestic worker who avoided Philadelphia’s hot and sickly summers by seeking an annual situation as a maid in the suburbs. Summer, 1864 took her to the Wisters in Germantown.

Wait staff at the Fair's Dining Room
Let's hope Emilie got to eat lunch with all those guys.
She may have known some of them.

Emilie was probably right about the lack of displays by her own community. The fair's committee and the U.S. Sanitary Commission generally excluded African-Americans, according to city historian Kerry Bryan. "Black congregations such as St. Thomas African Episcopal Church formed their own sanitary committees, which raised funds and channeled supplies to the U.S. Colored Troops and other Union soldiers."

Emilie was a member of Philadelphia's First African-Presbyterian
Church, then at the corner of 
7th & Shippen (Bainbridge).

We know a good deal about Emilie Frances Davis ( 1838-1889) through the daily diary entries she kept during the Civil War. Employer Sarah Butler Wister (1835-1908) also kept a Civil War diary, but we know far more about her because she was a link between two 19th-century celebrities.

Her mother was actress Fanny Kemble; her son novelist Owen Wister who wrote The Virginian.

Sarah Butler and Owen Wister's Germantown home in 1860
when Owen II was born on the right. They moved to a nearby
house that is no longer there.

On June 7th, 1864 Emilie “started for Germantown” to live with Dr. Owen Wister, Sarah and four-year-old Owen Wister II. “It is very pleasant out in Germantown.” But she was soon lonesome for young friends from the city and Sarah did not leave her much idle time. “Mrs. Wister is sure to find something for me as soon as I have finished one piece, she has another." Duties included cleaning the house and caring for Owen.

"Dr. Barnum's Self-Sewer" display at the fair. Perhaps the
women were convinced by this demonstration that Sarah Wister needed one.

Emilie also sewed, practicing on a new sewing machine, probably purchased by the Wisters. It’s confusing during the summer whether Emilie is “out” in Germantown or back “in town,” On August 15th she noted “Things glum as usual…out here.“ The next day: “I have been sewing on the machine, It gives me a great deal of trouble.” Despite her emotional ups and downs she enjoyed her summer at the Wisters, according to biographer Karsonya Wise Whitehead.

By the end of September she seemed to be back in the city at her boarding house with no more mention of the machine or the Wisters. October 10: "I have been sewing away.”

It’s pleasant to imagine Emilie and Sarah, both in their late twenties, spending a day at the Philadelphia Sanitary Commission Fair, pointing out their favorite displays and buying a few knicknacks for the cause. Sarah, a member of  the fair committee, had probably attended several times but she may have thought her servant would enjoy a visit before it closed.

The temporary building was supposedly constructed in 40 days.

See more about the Philadelphia Fair:

Needlework and other hand made items.
School children made afghans, pincushions and quilts to sell.
One display mentioned in the souvenir book was a quilt by Martha Washington.

As a member of Philadelphia's social elite Sarah Butler Wister
was on the fair committee in charge of
"Relics, Curiosities and Autographs"

Sarah Butler Wister (1835-1908)
Collection of the Connelly Library
La Salle University

Emilie Frances Davis married George Bustill White in 1866. They had five children.

Read Emilie Davis's 1863-1865 diaries in one of two ways.
Online: Villanova University has transcribed the diary and made it available on line:

In print: Notes from a Colored Girl by Karsonya Wise Whitehead.
See Kaye Wise Whitehead talk about the diary in this video:

And I recently read a third version Emilie Davis's Civil War edited by Judith Giesberg.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Next Year's Civil War Block of the Month

Antebellum Album
2018 BOM

We are working on next year's BOM to be posted as a free pattern here at the Civil War Quilts blog.

The blocks will be pieced, drawn from designs popular for Antebellum Album quilts like this sampler found in the Connecticut project.

Antebellum is old-fashioned Latin for Before the War.

These signature quilts were a fashion after 1842, made by a generation of women who grew up before the Civil War to find their adult lives significantly different after 1861.

Unknown students and teachers, perhaps 1850s

We'll see them as schoolgirls and follow them into the 1860s and after.

School in Bardstown, Kentucky, 1860s

The narrative will focus on the cross-cultural influence of women's schools when Southerners traveled north for education and Northerners traveled south to teach.

I've asked four friends to piece the models and they've been busy. Becky Brown's planning some fussy-cutting from a romantic stash of reproduction pinks and blues

Mark Lauer is going to make two sets. One in red, green and yellow

Me--- I have set aside a stash of madder-style browns, reds, pinks
and oranges in the hopes that I'll have time to actually stitch
after I get all the patterns and stories written.

Denniele Bohannon is also doing pink and blue but with a very
contemporary slant.

Pat Styring's modern take includes "wordy"
fabrics in keeping with the school theme.

And Mark's second set will be pieced in reproductions of the black-ground
neons popular about 1910.

It all starts on January 31, 2018---the last Wednesday of each month.

Amanda Donohoe, Philomont, VA
signature on an 1849 Baltimore Album block.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Monuments & Memorials

Memorial Quilt from Julie Silber's inventory.
Stacked stones underneath an obelisk.

"Grant's Monument Quilt Block"
from an old scrapbook

The continuing Civil War discussion has focused recently on monuments & memorials. The movement to remember the War in statues and stone was quite a national trend in the years around 1900, a fashion reflected in quilt patterns too.

BlockBase shows two variations on the monument or tombstone design.
BlockBase #888

 Grant memorial ribbon

Ladies Art Company #136, Garfield's Monument
Ex-President Grant died in 1885; 
President Garfield was assassinated in 1881.
This pattern was published in 1889.

An obelisk

Variations on the obelisk were published and stitched from about
1880 to 1920.

Garfield's Monument 
Perhaps Farm & Home in the 1880s.

Mountain Heritage Center & the Quilt Index

Buckboard Quilts

Doyle Auctions pictured this one they called Garfield's Tomb. I think
they had it upside down.

The other pattern is more like a rustic mausoleum.

Stacked stones (or logs)

Skinner advertised this one as a wedding cake;
Shelly Zegart has one in her collection she calls Beehive.
But it was published as a monument.

Something in demand by quilters at the time.

A small one I used to own with that fine brown wool deteriorating.
 I sold it to friend Julie Powell.

The patterns were published as monuments to Presidents 
but quiltmakers seem to have thought of them as family gravestones.

Here's a variation from the Quilt Index, with a flat top.
The quilt top has papers attached with names to be inked or embroidered.

The block lower right says Dad...1928

The number is upside down in this photo because the seller did not see it as a tombstone.
No place for the name in the example.

It was one of a pair

Same pattern with a white space for a memorial plaque so to speak.
In a circa 1900 sampler...

Another circa 1900 sampler. The set of
red X blocks makes for an interesting repeat. The monument block
is actually on point.

A Turkey red & white top someone found at a yard
sale in Arizona. From the Quilt Index & the Arizona Project.

It's a different pattern, constructed perhaps as a strip quilt.

Variations on this design could be seen
as a tessellating shape, right side up or up side down.

Hoover-Minthorne House
I guess this one would be constructed in strips too.
More on monuments: