Saturday, September 22, 2018

Red, White & Blue Veterans' Name Quilts

Quilt with veteran's names dated 1891,
 James Brownell chapter (#26)of the Women's Relief Corps,
Cedar Falls, Iowa

Red, white and blue name quilts were quite the fashion between 1880 and 1915 as fundraisers for the Union veterans' associations, often made by the Women's Relief Corps auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic.

Women's Relief Corps #126 from Laura Fisher.

Each Women's Relief Corps chapter was numbered. I found two 126's, one in Marion? and one in Revere, Massachusetts.
Maybe the red, white and blue quilts were not as big a fad as the fashion for giant hair ribbons...

But never the less, they were a popular trend.

Eight-Pointed Star Quilt, Women’s Relief Corps, 1894, Mancelona, Michigan
The Museum at Michigan State University.

Women's Relief Corps members in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin

Rail Fence signature quilt, Bristol Connecticut, 1885
Connecticut project & the Quilt Index.
Collection of the Bristol Historical Society

Remarkably, this quilt is mentioned in an 1885 account of the town's history.
"One of the most unique schemes for aiding the Grand Army, is that represented by a large, though incomplete, bed Quilt hanging on the east side. In the center are the badges of Gilbert TW Thompson Post GAR and the Ladies’ Relief Corps, No 4. Every third block---all the blocks being three inches long by one wide---is white, on each of which Miss Keziah Peck, of the Corps, has written in indelible ink the name of some person who has paid a dime for that purpose. The ladies have done all the sewing. There are now nearly seven hundred names on the quilt, which is to be finished in time for their fair next winter. The blocks are red, white, and blue."
The major problem with making quilts in those years was the fugitive nature of the new synthetic dyes for cottons. If the women invested in Turkey reds and indigo blues, fabric colored with natural dyes, the reds and blues remain fresh today. But new dyes were cheaper, and probably interesting in their innovative shades. The synthetic blues, however, were prone to fade to gray.

Ohio Star signature quilt, 1880 - 1881, by Sarah F. Gallup, 
Leominster, Massachusetts to benefit the G.A.R. 
Massachusetts project & the Quilt Index. 
Signatures are from celebrities such as U.S. Grant, Mary Livermore and Bronson Alcott. Sarah was active in the Leominster W.R.C. #31, Senior Vice President in 1881.

And the reds to pale salmon pink.

1902, Berlin, Wisconsin, John Williams Post #4 of the WRC. 

 The pattern is Arkansas Traveler, named for an old fiddle tune. (BlockBase #1400)

Made by women of the Capt. James A. Williamson Circle of the G.A.R.
Collection of the Iowa Historical Society.

Ohio Star, made by the W.R.C in Peacham, Vermont


Janie said...

Can you imagine trying to keep a bow that size on a little active girl?
Probably didn't stay on for long.
Sounds like they had a good way to faise funds for the cause.

Carla said...

Not sure how those bows were tied and attached. I have a barret that my mother said was worn by her, where a ribbon, or strip of fabric, could be tied into a bow.