Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Ladies' Aid Sampler #11: Strawberries & Dogs


Ladies' Aid Sampler #11 Dog by Becky Brown

The next-to-last block recalls working dogs in New York where sampler albums often featured canines and occasionally canines carrying baskets.

Album in the Fenimore Cooperstown Museum

Mary Van Houten's block

The Elizabeth Griffiths quilt at the Orangetown Museum

has a poem to accompany it.

Sixty-two members of the Middletown Baptist Church where Elizabeth's husband Joseph Griffiths was pastor made the quilt for them. Eliza Cooper wrote poetry for the presentation party. For this block:
"Little, Miss Mary Van Houten
Made a dog, would set you shouting,
He is going with his basket, quiet
I do not think, he means to try it."
A good dog carrying a basket [full of something edible?] and he is not going to try it. What might be in those baskets?

Robyn Revelle Gragg

Perhaps some strawberries.

Our block was inspired by one in a sampler attributed to friends of Susannah Butts Adsett Boots in the collection of the International Quilt Museum. The album may have been made by Susannah's New York relatives for her second marriage. Born in Dutchess County she and first husband Hiram Adsett left for Green County, Ohio in 1833. He died about fifteen years later and in 1854 she married again in Ohio to Jesse Boots.

MC initialed a dotted dog carrying a striped basket....

Striped fabric maybe to show the splints in a handmade basket, the kind often used to carry fruit.

English fruit seller with her strawberry baskets

Strawberries were traditionally sold in conical baskets called pottles in England. The baskets were returnable and refundable and a signature of fruiterers like Eleanor Ogle whose business card is in the British Museum (see lower right corner.)

The fruit was an important New York crop. People made the most of the short season, selling berries to City customers and celebrating locally with Strawberry Festivals, a popular fundraising event.

1862 Philadelphia, July

By Denniele Bohannon
Were dogs trained to help out in the harvest?

Harvesting strawberries in Ulster County, New York about 1900

June, 1863 fundraiser hosted by Buffalo's

Ladies' Christian Commission

Strawberry Festivals were only possible for a few weeks in June and early July. A charity-minded citizen might get a surfeit of strawberries in a short time. But the events were usually for a good cause. The opinionated editor of the Brooklyn Eagle thought they were a better way to raise money than Ladies' Fairs...

....those "pious and respectable swindles for emptying the pockets of susceptible gentlemen of their loose change."

A Buffalo writer agreed that a Strawberry Festival was more efficient. The ladies would not have to "be at work two or three months making preparations....Strawberries don't require to be worked in worsted."

 The Block

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Dog with a basket in an 1853 quilt made for Richard H. Mosher

I modified the pattern to look more like my dog Pheobe O'Shea
who is rather short and has perked up ears.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Detail from an 1870s painting by William P. Chappell featuring a Strawberry Pedlar 
followed by a dog. He has a pottle-carrying apparatus.

A strawberry wreath


Susie H said...

The dog might be man's best friend but we gals love our dogs too. Hahaha! This is a sweet block.

Peggy said...

Strawberries were a big crop in Bergen County, New Jersey, and they are often featured on local quilts. For information on growing, harvesting, and selling of strawberries in the 19th century, see "Old Bergen's Strawberry Fields," available on the Bergen County Historical Society website: Thank you, Barbara for some great blocks.

QuiltGranma said...

I would guess that the strawberry peddler is carrying a notched stick to keep the pottles from running into each other and spilling.

JustGail said...

@ QuiltGranma - not to mention banging the baskets about and bruising the berries. If someone got a reputation for selling too many bruised berries, the customers would either demand discount or not buy at all.

Sally said...

Love it, this one is my favorite. Thanks for your history and generosity