Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Herbarium #7 Wreath of Rosebuds: Cincinnati Female Seminary & Rachel L. Bodley


Herbarium #7 Wreath of Rosebuds by Denniele Bohannon
 for The Cincinnati Female Seminary & Rachel Littler Bodley

An elite school in the 1840-1870 period.

Cincinnati Enquirer, 1935
The building was torn down in the 1960s for a freeway.

The school had an adjacent gymnasium---a Calisthenium---and a museum with an herbarium.
"It will be a safe depository, where our scientific friends may leave as many curiosities as they chose."

One herbarium that was said to have been donated to the museum was Joseph Clark's.

Rachel Littler Bodley, a botany teacher at the school during the Civil War, catalogued Clark's specimens and published a book in 1865, the year she moved to Philadelphia to become chair of Chemistry & Toxicology at the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania.

Rachel Littler Bodley (1831-1888)
This celebratory photograph may have been taken in 1865 with her 
Herbarium of Joseph Clark catalog and its marbleized cover proudly displayed.

A copy of her book without its title label.

You may have noticed her patchwork overskirt. See a post discussing
the garment here: 

Wreath of Rosebuds by Becky Brown

Beatrice, Nebraska Women's Tribune

Rachel died suddenly of heart failure at the age of 57, much mourned by
students and feminists. 

Teaching chemistry was her business, botanizing her hobby. She, of course, kept an herbarium, which she willed to the Medical College. 

Rosa carolina 

One realizes how ephemeral these dried plant collections were. No record seems to exist today of hers or Joseph Clark's Herbariums.

The Clark Herbarium was said to have burned in a fire at the Cincinnati Female Seminary, according to this 1911 paper, but the building stood into the 1960s. Suffice it to say that the Clark Herbarium no longer exists except in Rachel's catalog.

Wreath of Rosebuds by Becky Collis

The Block

Wreath of Rosebuds

From the sampler in the collection
of the Shelburne Museum

Seven of the eight samplers have similar patterns,
some more skillfully stitched than others.

Our version is a little more stylized and balanced.

Wreath of Rosebuds by Robyn Gragg for a five-sided block

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Clarina Nichols's Civil Wars

Clarina Irene Howard Carpenter Nichols (1810 - 1885)
Kansas State Historical Society
She was about 30 in this photo, perhaps a wedding memory from
her second marriage in 1843 to George Washington Nichols.

Vermont-born Clarina Nichols was at war with society's wrongs most of her life. Women's rights, slavery's abolition and freedpeople's welfare concerned her. Her first marriage to Justin Carpenter was miserable enough that she obtained a divorce in 1843.

The Townshend Vermont Historical Society has Clarina's divorce papers. 
She accused Justin Carpenter of cruelty, unkindness and intolerable severity.

Clarina obtained custody of their three young children Bertia, Chapin Howard and Aurelius. She turned to newspaper writing for support.

Second husband publisher George Washington Nichols (1782-1856) 
holding their son George Bainbridge Nichols in the late 1840s.

In the months before the Civil War she was a widow living in Kansas where she and George had come to serve the free-state cause in the Squatter Sovereignty wars of the mid 1850s. George died soon after they moved to Kansas.

Clarina was a founding resident of the Kansas town of Quindaro, established on Wyandotte tribal land across the Missouri River from the slave-state of Missouri as a refuge for African-Americans fleeing slavery. In Quindaro she wrote for the Chindowan.

Quindaro's Ruins
Built on cliffs over the Missouri the town wasn't really viable
due to its inaccessibility and soon became a ghost town to Clarina's regret.
The area's been absorbed by Kansas City, Kansas.

When Kansas became a free state in 1861 its constitution gave women property, custody and some voting rights, thanks to Clarina's advocacy. She'd sat in many hearings and meetings, listening while  knitting and lobbying for women's rights (and occasionally speaking to the conservative men's horror.).

Home funded by the National Association for the Relief of 
Destitute Colored Women and Children in Washington

During the war she toured the central states advocating women's rights and in 1863 moved to Washington City to work in the Union Army's Quartermaster Department. She then took a position as matron of a Georgetown residence for "Destitute Colored Women & Children" before returning to Kansas to campaign for women's rights.

Rare photograph of Quindaro residents during its few thriving years

One drama in Clarina's crusades concerned Lydia W. Peck's fight to gain custody of her children, which Clarina explained in a letter to friend Susan B. Anthony. Horatio N. Peck had kidnapped his two children from Vermont and, as Huck Finn later put it, he lit "out for the Territory," changing his name to James Diamond. Determined to rescue the children from a Quindaro  "hovel" with a "desperately vile father" Clarina, her son and several of Peck's neighbors were arrested, accused of kidnapping the children.
Horatio had "lived for years on the earnings of [wife Lydia's] needle, beaten her once to death's door and town support, and later choked her to insensibility.... Compelled to apply for a divorce, as the only hope of getting her little ones and the control of her earnings for their support.... Just before the trial for divorce [Horatio] sold her furniture to pay his fare and came to Kansas, changed his name and had been living in our midst two years, when the mother having, laid by $400 in gold, followed and found her children living on the charity of their neighbors...."
After the nine arrestees including a Congregational clergyman and his wife were freed Clarina went to the Territorial Legislature and spoke in favor of Lydia's divorce and custody claim.

Probably Clarina writing as "Quindaro" in 1860.

"The Forgotten Feminist of Kansas, The Papers of Clarina I. H. Nichols, 1854-1885," Editor Joseph G. Gambone. Kansas Historical Quarterly, Autumn 1973.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Atlanta Garden #9: Handy Andy & Surrender to Sherman


Atlanta Garden #9: Handy Andy by Addie

Handy Andy recalls Atlanta's Civil War mayor James Calhoun, remembered for his leadership in a number of the city's trying situations, such as enemy occupation, giant conflagrations, refugeeing citizens, etc.

James Montgomery Calhoun (1811-1875)

Lawyer and politician James Calhoun was unsuccessful at politics before the war because he was a Whig in the Democrat-voting state of Georgia. His father's cousin, fire-eating Democrat John C. Calhoun, advised him to switch parties but James would not compromise his principles. Whigs favored spending money on what we'd call infrastructure; they were rather inconsistently opposed to the economic system of slavery and its expansion into new territories and strongly in favor of the national union and an active central government. Whigs had mixed support for tariffs on imported goods to support Northern industries, a federal tax that infuriated the South.

Jeanne's doing two sets.

Calhoun was considered a moderate and a Unionist in a Secession-determined city. But once war began and the ranks of Democrats joined the Confederate Army James won enough mayoral votes to be elected to four one-year terms from 1862 through 1866.

Atlanta, September, 1864 before the fires and destruction

As mayor of a Confederate city Calhoun did little to punish or bother the small group of Unionist sympathizers that were part of Carrie Berry's extended family. His own personal loyalties were in question with Marc Wortman in The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta surmising that Calhoun, "certainly knew of clandestine gatherings and very likely joined in."

Handy Andy by Becky Collis

In June, 1864 as Union troops grew closer, James Calhoun sent his family 65 miles south to Thomaston and gave the Calhoun slaves a choice. Twenty accompanied his wife Amelia Arnold Hightower Holt Calhoun to Thomaston; thirty people set off on their own to await Union liberation.

Handy Andy by Denniele Bohannon

"Such excitement there was."
Carrie's diary

After the Confederate Army abandoned the town Carrie Berry and the rest of Atlanta awaited Union troops. An official city committee was dispatched to surrender Atlanta, but first they had to locate someone to surrender to. 

James Calhoun and a group of city leaders, including Uncle William Markham, found Union Colonel John Coburn marching into town on Marietta Street and formally handed over the city.

The Mayor recalled saying: "Colonel Coburn, the fortune of war has placed Atlanta in your hands. As Mayor of the City I come to ask your protection for noncombatants and for private property," protection Sherman's Army refused to insure.

Handy Andy by Becky Brown
Her I Spy center here is a puppy.

Did the occupying officers contact their Atlanta spies? Carrie's Auntie seems to have welcomed the Union officer who spent the night, perhaps someone they had been communicating with in the weeks leading up to the surrender. 

After peace in spring, 1865 Atlantans returned to rebuild the city. The 1870 census found James and Amelia Calhoun living in Atlanta with 20-year-old Black servant Henrietta. There was money to be made and James prospered as indicated by his worth here of about $55,000. When he died in November, 1875 Amelia moved back to Thomaston.

The Block

Handy Andy by Jeanne Arnieri

Handy Andy, About 1910
Ruth Finley in her 1929 book called this block Handy Andy.
It uses same pieces as #7 Grandmother's Favorite with
the half-square triangle units arranged differently.

Above the cutting instructions for 10" and 15" blocks.

Lydia Ann Good Baker of Pulaski County, Indiana
made this version in the 20th century, recorded by the Indiana
project and the Quilt Index.

And the Michigan project photographed a late 20th-century version.

The mayor's wife Amelia is associated with this Irish Chain.

Irish Chain quilt (84" x 97") in the collection of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts
(MESDA), attributed to Amelia Arnold Hightower Holt Calhoun (1811-1889) of Georgia.

See more about Amelia and the quilt here:

Becky Collis's, quilted bound and hanging on the wall 
war.. Darn that AI-
Three more blocks to go.