Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Hospital Sketches #7:Tennessee Rose---Nashville's Union Hospitals

Hospital Sketches #7:
 Rose of Sharon/Tennessee Rose by Janet Perkins

This classic floral recalls Union hospitals behind Southern lines with a focus on Nashville in the Cumberland Valley of Tennessee.

 51st Ohio Volunteers in Nashville, March, 1862
Lithograph from a drawing by Ohio soldier Alfred E. Matthews

In February, 1862 Confederate troops abandoned Tennessee's capitol Nashville. The Union Army marched into the undefended city. Occupation by Federal Forces began. 

Nashville Female Academy
"Barracks of the 51st Regt. O.V." 
By Alfred E. Matthews

The Union commandeered hotels, schools and warehouses for hospitals.

Matron Annie Bell (1839-1916) about 27 when the photo was taken

In late 1863 as nearby battles filled the city with wounded men Annie Bell was assigned as matron at Nashville's Cumberland Hospital ( #1).

A few months later this famous photograph of Bell was taken. Collector Chris Foard found a letter from Bell to her mother:
"I send you a picture, one of the persons you will perhaps recognize. Two weeks ago, some of the Sanitary Commission people came to see me & asked that I would allow an artist to take a hospital scene, that they wanted such a one to sell at the fair at Cleavland.... I consented—and now there is quite a rage for the picture..."

Foard's find explains the circumstances behind this photo and probably several similar pictures of hospitals and soldiers. The Sanitary Commission sent photographers, duplicated the carte-de-visites and sold them at the various Sanitary Fairs in 1864.

This photo with a weary-looking Bell in the center may have been
taken the same day.

 Rose of Sharon/Tennessee Rose by Bettina Havig

Annie Bell in her late twenties was young to be given the responsibility of a 900 bed hospital in an occupied city but her competence and confidence was equal to that of her older peers. Born into a prosperous family of foundry owners in Pennsylvania, she was a graduate of Bucknell University. Dorothea Dix considered her too young to be permitted into her nurse corps but Annie had proved her worth at field hospitals after the Battle of Gettysburg.

On Christmas day, 1864 H. H. Maley wrote his parents from Nashville's Hospital #1:
"Their is some wounded rebs here they are used the same our men is.... They got all of our men that was wounded at franklin and all the rebs.. this Hospital is the best fixed thing I ever saw. We have very good grub and git enough of it...."
A compliment to the Matron.

 Rose of Sharon/Tennessee Rose by Myrna Powers

The Block

Mid-19th century version

Eight-lobed flowers were the standard floral imagery in applique, perhaps derived from Germanic folk arts. Often called the Rose of Sharon the image is linked to an old testament reference: "I am the rose of Sharon, a rose of the valley". This pattern is asymmetrical with a stem off to one corner.

Woman's World magazine sold a pattern for a Tennessee Rose about 1930, the perfect name for this month's block.

To Print:
Create a word file or a new empty JPG file.
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file. Be sure the square is about 1" in size.

For the background cut a square 18-1/2".
Add seam allowances to the pattern pieces if you are doing traditional applique.


Becky added 8 yellow circles under piece B

Barbara left out Piece D.

Block 7 is directional so goes in a corner.
I'm rotating my corners around so there is no right side up to my quilt.
You can see we have only two more blocks to go in our 9-block applique sampler.

Cut a 9" square
1 Each of A & B
Use 1 smaller leaf from Block 6.
1/2” Finished bias stem

Denniele Bohannon's #7 Rose of Sharon Sprout

Improved by addition

After the War:

Nashville's Hospital #15 in the last month of the war

The Bell family home in Bellwood, Pennsylvania still stands.

Annie Bell went home to Blair County, Pennsylvania in May, 1865, marrying Maine doctor George Stubbs a few months later, another hospital romance. They spent much of the rest of their lives in Merion near Philadelphia where they raised three daughters and a son. Annie died at 76 years old in 1916 after receiving a nurse's pension for the last years of her life.

Sampler dated 1857 with wreaths, two coxcomb & currants blocks
and a Rose of Sharon among the designs. 
Collection of the Historical Society of Plainfield.
New Jersey project & the Quilt Index.

 Rose of Sharon/Tennessee Rose by Paula Smith

See more pattern history at this post:

Extra Reading:

Civil War Nashville:

Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Constitution Quilt: 2 Versions

Quilt top known as the Constitution bedover, although that ship
may not be the USS Constitution.

Early-19th century print of the Constitution

The top has 111 pictorial blocks, many of which, like the apron in the top row in the detail above, refer to Masonic imagery.

Masonic symbols, showing the embroidery on many of the blocks

General Winfield Scott

Several blocks picture what look to be Union generals,
perhaps copied from the collectible CDV cards at the time.
One could spend some time trying to place these portraits.

And then there is the ship in the center: See last week's post:

Sleeping Jacob is in the lower center here

In her look at the piece in Wrapped in Glory: Figurative Quilts and Bedcovers, Sandi Fox noted a block with Biblical and Masonic meaning, a sleeping Jacob, writing,  "The bedcover is in a reconstructed form, and the block's original positioning" [was probably rotated so the red clad figure is lying on the ground dreaming of Jacob's Ladder to heaven].


Jacob's Ladder is an interesting topic in quilt iconography but wait a minute: "The bedcover is in reconstructed form...."

Photographs from Merikay's files
The piece on the left is 62" wide by 72"
The one on the right 66" x 73"

Well, I knew that and so did Merikay Waldvogel. About 1990 she and I and our good friends Joyce Gross and Cuesta Benberry spent a delightful day with photographs of two quilt tops and some scissors. We thought the two quilts with a ship in the center were two different quilts. We decided to figure out how many blocks they had in common.

Top right corner in the black & white photo
and in the color photo

After cutting up and sorting the pictures of about 80 of the 111 blocks we realized they had every block in common. These were the same blocks arranged into two different compositions at two different times.

All we have to remind us of the older quilt is this photocopy from Joyce's

 The typed caption:
"By anonymous artist. Mid 19th Century. Size 72 x 62
This spread depicts the Linclon [sic]wedding. It also includes many motifs found in folk painting and sculpture of the period."

We don't have a source for that black and white photo. I recall that it may have been an exhibit at William and Mary College, but Merikay remembers no such attribution. Joyce and Cuesta are no longer with us to correct our recollections (too bad for us in many ways.)

This is a thirty year old mystery in my files. Who cut up the original top and why? And who re-connected them? And if you will look at last week's post---what ship is in the center?

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

What's Tonko Up To in Japan?

Blocks 1 & 2
Antebellum Album

Last year Tonko stitched our Antebellum Album quilt in Japan. Look at her Mixed T blog to see all the things she is working on.

She doesn't convert American directions to meters, she just changes the measurements ----4" to 4 centimeters. So a 12 inch block will be 12 centimeters across- about 4-3/4".

Blocks 3 & 4

Blocks 5 & 6

Blocks 7 & 8

Blocks 9 & 10

Blocks 11 & 12

Lately she's been working on the Nearly Insane blocks.

And a little applique

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Constitution Quilt: What Ship Is It?

The Constitution Quilt
66" x 73"

Get out your copy of Robert Shaw's American Quilts: The Democratic Art and look up the Constitution Quilt on page 133. It's a quilt top with many mysteries, which we'll explore here this week and next.

The caption dates it to about 1880 and in the top center is a framed portrait believed to be President James Garfield, who was assassinated after a year in office in 1881. 

Several figurative blocks show Civil War scenes, as in this block, presumed to be a bride and groom with Abraham Lincoln. The maker and place are unknown, and the symbolism in the blocks are speculation.

In 1993 New York folkart dealer America Hurrah offered it for sale with the caption: "The unique appliqued, pieced, and embroidered quilt contains 111 pictorial blocks. The largest...depicts the U.S.S. Constitution, the famed U.S. frigate whose victories in the War of 1812 earned her the nickname 'Old Ironsides.' "

The ship in the center with its sails furled (packed up) is assumed to be The Constitution, whose  nickname "Old Ironsides" refers to her luck in the war with the British Navy. She became a sentimental favorite and one of the last sailing ships in the U.S. Navy. Every time they tried to scrap the ship popular outcry saved her.

The U.S.S. Constitution now sails out of Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston,
thanks to Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy's father, Congressman John F. Fitzgerald
of Boston, who advocated saving the ship in the 1890s.

In her thorough look at the quilt top Sandi Fox in Wrapped in Glory: Figurative Quilts and Bedcovers writes that the ship's "stern clearly bears the name Constitution." Both Fox's and Shaw's books have good photos of the piece and in neither is that word visible.

Embroidered rigging might be confused with text

Is the ship in the quilt The Constitution? She was a sleeker ship than the appliqued three-master.

Here's a picture of her rear end (stern?) in dry dock (I obviously know nothing about boats)
--- but it doesn't look like the same ship.

Perhaps the ship pictured in this Andrew Jackson toile from 1830 is the Constitution,
a reference to Jackson's role in the War of 1812..

Constitution today in Boston's Charlestown Navy Yard

I looked around for lithographs and popular prints of other ships that may have been in the news about 1870 or that saw service in the Civil War.

Nathaniel Currier published a print of the U.S.S. North Carolina in 1842. Here she is with sails furled and the city of New York in the background. This ship was launched in 1820 and spent her last post-Civil-War years there where she was sold (presumably for scrap) October, 1867. The North Carolina was a larger ship displacing 2,633 tons of water while The Constitution displaces 2,200. The North Carolina is wider and taller.

The circular building in the harbor is Castle Garden.

Another possible source for the ship image is this illustration of the Brooklyn Navy Yard published in Harper's Weekly on August 24, 1861. The North Carolina is in the center behind the rowboat. As the Civil War began the Navy Yard was "a scene of remarkable activity.... Nearly twenty-five hundred men are now employed at the Brooklyn Navy-yard, and the number is constantly increasing."

The men in the small boats may have been inspired by the
 rowboat pictured above.

A ship as old as the North Carolina did not see combat but served as a "receiving ship" for Confederate Prisoners, a floating prison. She must have sat in the river with her sails furled for much of the war.

It is really quite foolhardy to speculate about the meaning of the center panel in this quilt. There were dozens of similar ships afloat in the 1865-1880 period when the quilt was made and thousands of family members of sailors who might have been inspired to depict a favorite ship. But I do have serious doubts the quiltmaker intended to portray The Constitution.

Another post next Saturday.