Saturday, March 31, 2018

Liverpool's Grand Southern Bazaar

Ladies's fairs were similar in England and the U.S.

A rather odd footnote to the role of women in the American Civil War is the Grand Southern Bazaar in Liverpool, England, held in October, 1864, about six months before war's end.

The four-day fundraiser was held in the magnificent St. George's Hall,
which still stands.

The mosaic floor was lined with booths representing
each of the Confederate states overseen by Southern women
and British friends of the South.

England was officially neutral during our Civil War, but economics dictated the loyalties of many Liverpool capitalists. Cotton linked the Confederacy and the English port. English mills were dependent on American cotton; the Confederate treasury upon English cotton purchases.

James Dunwoody Bulloch, unofficial 
ambassador between the Confederacy and England.

Among the Southern families who relocated to Liverpool during the war: James and Harriott Cross Bulloch (he from Georgia; she from Maryland) and John and Mathilde Deslonde Slidell from Louisiana.
Mathilde Deslonde Slidell 

Mathilde Slidell presided at the Mississippi booth with the Countess of Chesterfield; Harriott Bulloch at the Georgia table.

The New York Times reprinted a review of the event:
"The ladies in charge of the different stalls were attired in elegant costumes, each had on a silken scarf on which was inscribed in gilt letters the name of the Southern State within which...the wearer's jurisdiction lay." Also presiding were members of the Southern Club. "The stalls were absolutely crowded, not only with rich and costly articles, but with those of a cheaper and more unpretentious character...." The visitor lauded "the exquisite taste with which the hall was decorated and the fine proportions of the structure itself."

South Carolina's palmetto painted on the ceiling for the Prioleau
house at 19 Abercromby Square, Liverpool's
"unofficial Southern embassy."

The Southern Club was a Liverpool group that lobbied for the Confederate cause. Leaders were Americans James Spence and Charles Kuhn Prioleau who with their wives were the organizers of  the Grand Southern Fair. American Mary Anne leSerre Spence was in charge of the North Carolina table and  Liverpool native Mary Wright Prioleau worked in the South Carolina booth with Lady Wharncliffe.

Perhaps this Lady Susan Wharncliffe, watercolor from the National
Portrait Gallery

I was hoping to find mention of patchwork in the booths but the goods seem to have been less homely than conventional women's work. Once you get the aristocracy involved the stakes go up. The reviewer wrote:
"Commencing at the south end of the hall, the first stall on the right hand side is devoted to Florida, and is presided over by Mrs. Cassin and Mrs. Patrick. There is here a very beautiful piece of needlework, consisting of a female figure surrounded by a floral border, the colours being blended with great art. A more elaborate piece of feminine handiwork is the representation of our Saviour paying tribute; and there are several handsome screens and cushions, besides many choice specimens of cutlery from Sheffield and of china from Birmingham."
Most money was raised through auctions rather than direct sales; among the items auctioned: a Shetland pony and a Manx cat.

Holding a bazaar to benefit the South was unpopular, considered by many to be Confederate meddling in English politics, but the stated purpose was to raise funds for Confederate Prisoners of War. Who could criticize such a humanitarian undertaking? In just those few days £20,000 in British money was raised for the cause (worth over ten times that today.)

The whole concept posed many problems. How would such a fortune benefit Southerners held in Northern prisons? Were funds to go to the North for food and medicine? The North refused the donation. Britain refused to transfer it. How was the money to be spent? The £20,000 remained in British hands until after the war when it was transferred to New York and then sent to aid former prisoners.

Here is a list of the women and their state booths

And here's another even odder footnote.

Matilde Slidell's daughter Matilde Erlanger, married to a French
confederate sympathizer, proposed a Parisian bazaar selling perfumed
soaps. My French isn't good enough to follow up on this,
but it's fun to imagine.

Read about Liverpool and the American Civil War at the Liverpool Museums website:

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Antebellum Album #3 Friendship Star

Antebellum Album #3 Friendship Star
 by Mark Lauer in traditional prints

Album quilt top dated 1844 through 1858 in the collection of the 
North Carolina Museum of History (H.2000.96.2). 
Six signers in this top included their homes: 
three from South Carolina and three from New York.  

"The gift is small as you plainly may see
And given as a token of friendship from me
Mary Ellen Barnes
New York
March 15th 1845"

What did these people who lived so far away from each other in the 1840s and 1850s have in common? 
Wincy P Wadsworth, Cheraw, S.C. 1851
Wincy is indeed her name. She's listed as 29 years
old in the 1850 SC census.

Wondering about those antebellum connections inspired this series. Constance Fenimore Woolson's school experience may offer us some clues.

Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894)
 graduated from Madame Chegary's in 1858, 
about the time of this portrait.

She traveled from Cleveland, Ohio to New York City to board at the fashionable school known as Madame Chegaray's. Constance was an ambitious girl, a talented writer, eager to learn the mathematics, writing composition and science offered at home by the Cleveland Female Seminary, run by a graduate of Mary Lyon's Mount Holyoke. Her parents, however, believed she needed finishing rather than more education. Madame Chégaray's Boarding and Day School for Young Ladies emphasized conversational French, manners, dancing, music, drawing and classical literature, what were called "ornamentals." 

A late-19th century woman described the program:
"Other schools might have public examinations, and aim at higher education, but Mme. Chegaray knew nothing of such innovations. She tried simply to make her pupils gracefully feminine, and she accomplished much good in a mannerless generation." 

An unflattering portrait of
Madame Héloise Chegary (1792-1889) at 95 in the 
New York Sun. Pupils called her Tante (Aunt)

The school's mistress Héloise (Eloise) Désabaye Chégaray supported her family by teaching. Before the French Revolution the Désabayes lived in Paris "in great style" supported by their investments in the French colony of Santo Domingo (Haiti) where her mother's family had lived for over a century. Santo Domingo's slave rebellion overturned the ruling class and by 1797 colonial income vanished. Heloise's penniless family emigrated to New Jersey's Royalist French community.

Mark's other set of blocks. He's doing two.

Too young to actually teach, Heloise found work at Miss Sophia Hay's Academy in New Brunswick, New Jersey and then at two French academies in New York City. In 1814 when she was 22 she opened her own school near Washington Square.

In 1827 she married Frenchman Fulgence Chégaray, listed as a merchant on Houston Street in 1834. In the 1820s he invested in a New York/South American Steamboat Association navigating the Amazon, a financial fiasco that dragged through the courts beyond his death in 1872. Unable to rely on his income, she maintained the school after marriage.

The Academy moved several times over the years. When Constance
attended it seems to have been at #11 East 28th Street.

"For more than half a century, Madame Chégaray trained and instructed the daughters of New Yorkers of the better class...celebrated for amiability and beauty, high breeding and graceful manners," lauded her obituary.

In the late 1850s, Constance found herself to be one of only three Northern girls among the dozens of boarders in New York. The many Southern belles defined themselves as "The Daughters of Carolina." Constance did not define herself as a Daughter of Ohio yet she felt quite out of place. 

An illustration from Woolson's Anne illustrates
the classic conflict---a "mannerless generation."

Constance might have been happier at Mount Holyoke School (see last month's post) and in the long run Tante Chegaray might have wished her there. Rejecting Tante's view of women as ornamental wives, Constance earned a living as a famous novelist. Her best selling Anne (1880) told of Anne's unhappy schooldays at school with a barely fictionalized Tante Moreau. Everyone in New York recognized the elderly "artificial and French" school mistress.

In the 1840s the school's neighborhood was Union Square 

New Yorker Marian Campbell Gouverneur (1821-1914), a generation older than Constance, found her 1830s schoolmates more congenial. 
"About a hundred pupils, a large number of whom were from the Southern States. How well I remember the extreme loyalty of the Southern girls to their native soil! I can close my eyes and read the opening sentence of a composition written by one of my comrades, Elodie Toutant [of Louisiana], a sister of General Pierre G. T. Beauregard of the Confederate Army—'The South, the South, the beautiful South, the garden spot of the United States.' This chivalric devotion to the soil whence they sprang apparently was literally breathed into my Southern school companions from the very beginning of their lives....although I was born, reared and educated in a Northern State, I had a tender feeling for the South, which still lingers with me, for most of the friendships I formed at Madame Chegaray's were with Southern girls."
The Block

Block 3 by Becky Brown
Fussy cutting phenomenon

A version of this month's star from about 1875-1900.

 The Ladies' Art Company may have been the first to publish it as "Album Block" about 1900 but their drawing was rather awkward.

Ladies' Art Company #352, 
early 20th century

With a central octagon rather than a circle it's BlockBase #3588. The Kansas City Star inspired a small revival with their 1933 "Friendship Quilt" pattern.

In the block's mid-19th-century heyday several variations added challenges

Small centers and an octagonal block in a quilt dated 1843-1845
Burlington, New Jersey
New Jersey Project & the Quilt Index 

On point. 
Quilt from the Arizona Project & the Quilt Index 

And below with curves

Quilt dated 1845 from the collection of the New Jersey State Museum

Hannah Hoyt  (1805-1871) was founder and principal of New Jersey's
New Brunswick Female Institute. Students made this gift for her.

Signature Quilt dated 1884-1889 from the
Rhode Island Project & the Quilt Index.

We are piecing the design with the octagon in the center.

Cutting a 12" Finished Block
A - Cut 4 squares 4" x 4".
B - Cut 1 square 6-1/4". Cut into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts.

You need 4 triangles.
C & D - Use the templates to cut 8 of C and 1 of piece D.

To Print: 
Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11".
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11".
Adjust the printed page size if necessary so the line indicated is the right size.
Becky cautions: Be sure your pattern prints out correctly and that 3-1/2" sewing line is right. Mine printed out a smidge smaller so I used my proportion wheel to size it up to 3-1/2" and adjusted my printer to 107% to print my pattern. Here's a link to a post on printers:

Block 3 by Pat Styring
Pat's using fabric with words to evoke the handwriting in an album

Do note that Wincy, Temperance and Mary Ellen who stitched the NY/SC album took a short cut of sorts. They seem to have appliqued a white circle in the center of a pieced star for inking. Temperance's below looks reverse appliqued.

"Temperance B. Hamilton
April 16th /49 Bennettsville" 
(Probably South Carolina although there is a Bennetsville, NY)

This quilt from North and South is so well documented it's worth looking at the museum's photos. Do a search for the New York/South Carolina quilt at the North Carolina Museum site, which is a bit hard to navigate. You can just search for Quilt but the best way I've been able to find it is by using the accession number in the Keyword slot: H.2000.96.2. You could also search for Wincy. The photos of each inscription are lovely.

The Civil War & After

Constance, perhaps about 1880

Constance returned to Cleveland to accept a proposal from dashing Zephaniah Swift Spalding (1837-1927) who enlisted when the Civil War began and rose to a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Twenty-seventh Ohio Infantry.

Zeph Spalding after the War.

While her fiance was fighting she was active in the local soldiers' aid societies, assisting in the Great Northern Ohio Sanitary Fair in 1864. Their romance did not survive the war years. They realized they'd changed. He sailed for Hawaii, first as a secret government agent and then as an entrepreneur in the sugar industry, marrying the boss's daughter in 1871. Constance also left Cleveland. She led a well-documented life as a best-selling novelist, remaining single and becoming close friends with Henry James. She wrote about the South after the war and maintained ties with her academy classmates.

Sentiment for March

An octagon or a circle?
Ink a bird with a banner and no one will notice your stitching.

Constance's tale is a fascinating American biography. Read the book by Anne Boyd Rioux: Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist.

And you can see Marian Campbell Gouverneur's 1911 memoir on line. As I Remember: Recollections of American Society During the Nineteenth Century. 

I wonder if Miss Woolson and Mrs. Gouverneur were acquainted and if so---Did they had absolutely anything to say to each other?

Potholder quilt (blocks individually quilted and bound) from the Maine State Museum
Note the star in bright red print.

Denniele Bohannon's blue & white and pink & black blocks.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

It's Old Abe Forever: The Nunda Lodge Quilt

Quilt known as the Nunda Lodge Quilt
Collection of the Chicago Historical Society

This flag-strewn quilt gives us much narrative information.

"It's Old.Abe

Gen's Grant 
Nunda Lodge No, 86 Wc.Henry.Co
Ill '65

Pure Water 
Faith Hope and Charity
Union Peace Love and Truth"

All those words and pictures. As I wrote in 2009 in my book Quilts from the Civil War:
"Several memorial quilts leave no question as to the maker's intent, as words and portraits give us a code that is easy to read. The Chicago Historical Society's Nunda Lodge quilt, made in McHenry, Illinois, features the words ' It's Old.Abe Forever.' "
Wrong! Despite the imagery the quilt's origins and date are obscure.

Here are some facts. The quilt came from a family named Tomlinson in Montclair, New Jersey. Somehow it came into the collection at Colonial Williamsburg. Because their collecting focus is an earlier era they transferred the quilt to an Illinois museum--- the Chicago Historical Society in 1971.

We can begin with the central sentiment:

Which Old Abe? I assumed it was President Lincoln.

Sheet music from about 1860. During that election
Lincoln was often referred to as Old Abe.

Lillie Harvey's Crazy Quilt with image

of "Old Abe...dead & gone....Died in 1881."
East Tennessee Historical Society

But Old Abe the eagle had his share of fame during and after the War. The captive bird was the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment of the Union Army, nicknamed the "Eagle Regiment."

Nunda in McHenry County is under the pink arrow. Note it says
"Crystal Lake or Nunda" for the town's name.
They changed it at some point.

Nunda or Crystal Lake.
1935/1975 it didn't look much different

I lived in Illinois for a couple of years in the 1970s and spent many weekends antiquing in McHenry County so I remember several things about the area---one that it's almost Wisconsin. Old Abe the Wisconsin eagle would have been a popular bird in Northern Illinois.

Old Abe the President (also extremely popular in Illinois) died in 1865 and because there is a number '65 on the quilt I assumed that it referred to the date of his assassination and the year the quilt was made. 

Old Abe the eagle died in 1881. The words could refer to either. 
See more about Old Abe the Eagle on quilts at this post:

How old is the quilt?  I'm not so sure about '65 as the date. We don't get many clues to date from fabric, patchwork pattern or quilt style. The cottons are all solids in Turkey red, blue and green on white. The best clue and it's really quite weak is that the colors have not faded in that distinctive way that solids after 1880 fade to tan. 

Quilt date-inscribed 1884 with discolored greens.

But maybe it's never seen the light. Or maybe the quiltmakers were careful to use reliable colors, so it could have been made after 1880.

Most of the pattern is unique. Images that are familiar---the florals--- are rather generic 19th-century patterns like the 8-lobed flowers, tulips and buds. 

The style is also unique---but I guess we could consider it in the broad category of a medallion format patriotic quilt---there are many others.

Elizabeth Holmes, patriotic medallion quilt.

Banner Quilt made for General Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War

by the Ladies' Social Circle of Eureka, California.
Collection of the Clarke Museum, about 1865.
That eagle in the center looks like Old Abe.

The two above from the 1860s.
The border is somewhat helpful too as an appliqued floral vine is more common before 1870 than after. But again, it's a weak clue. If we could see the quilting in the photo it might provide another weak clue to date.

More mysteries to solve. We certainly recognize the "Gen's Grant, Sherman and Sheridan" as Union heroes. But who is Thomas?

Probably General George H. Thomas, Virginia-
born General and Union hero of Chickamauga, who
as far as I can tell had nothing to do with McHenry County, Illinois.

And who or what was Nunda Lodge No. 86?

Obviously some kind of fraternal organization. Another thing I remember about that Illinois/Wisconsin border country: The presence of ghosts---reminders of old fraternal organizations like the Masons, Odd Fellows and Modern Woodman were everywhere. Every town had a lodge hall or two; every antique mall a Masonic apron or a Modern Woodman ax charm.

Nunda Lodge No. 86 would seem easy to decipher in the era of the internet. But no-o-o-.

The only lodge I can find with that name is the Nunda Lodge No. 169 of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, begun in 1855.  No. 169 is not No. 86. Complicating my search is Nunda, New York for which Nunda, Illinois was named and the 19th-century name change of Nunda, Illinois to Crystal Lake. 

Quilt from "Columbia Lodg No 44 Oh, 1867"
Collection of the Milwaukee Museum

The Nunda Lodge quilt could very well be a Masonic quilt. Many of them survive as reminders of the importance of fraternal life in America. The Ohio quilt above has a vine border and similar lettering. But the Nunda Lodge quilt has no obvious Masonic symbolism. 

I looked for other fraternal organizations (and sororital) with the number 86. The Mason's female branch is the Eastern Star - no luck. The International Order of Odd Fellows maintained a Nunda Lodge #701 between 1882 and 1887. Their female branch, the Rebekahs, were Lodge 908.

Charlotte Gardner
attributed to New York or New Jersey, late 1880s.
Collection of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum 

Above a spectacular quilt with IOOF imagery including the triple link chain,  heart and hand and the worlds Hope & Charity. It also has an ax and a goat.

I don't know too much about fraternal imagery but the ax and
the goat are found in Modern Woodmen of the World or 
Modern Woodmen of America imagery.

I remember doing restoration painting on this
MWA hall in Valton, Wisconsin decades ago.
The Goat originally was painted by Ernst Hupeden in the 1890s.

The Modern Woodmen organization was founded in 1883 in Iowa and soon moved its headquarters to Rock Island, Illinois. It's influence on the folk culture of northern Illinois and Wisconsin is everywhere, particularly in cemeteries where skillfully carved stone trees grow .

So I looked up MWA (Modern Woodman of America) lodges in McHenry County. In a list of MWA "camps" (they were nicely consistent with that woodman theme) is No. 86, the Boxwood Camp in Harvard, Illinois.

The county history notes the Boxwood Camp No. 86 was organized in 1885.  Harvard is just below the C in Wisconsin on that map of McHenry County above, about 20 miles northwest of Crystal Lake/Nunda.

No. 86 is the right number but MWA lodges are called camps, and it's not in Nunda. The female versions of the Modern Wooden are the Royal Neighbors. Nothing there. So I still know nothing about the quilt, its date or its meaning. But it was a good excuse to poke around McHenry County again (if virtually) and  to look at some fraternal imagery in quilts.

Sallie E. Hasson, full of Masonic imagery, from
an ad in the Clarion magazine in 1985