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Quilters Find a way to care

Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2003 23:00:33 -0500
From: "Kathy Moore" <KathyMoore@neb.rr.com>

Regarding Xenia's wonderful description of the exhibit of antique quilts in
Paducah: the palampore you mention was first shown and described at the AQSG
meeting in Lincoln in 2002. Time flies when you're having fun, doesn't it?!!!

Thanks, Xenia, for enlightening those of us who couldn't be there. Wish I
had been. It sounds wonderful.

Kathy Moore
Lincoln

------------------------------
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2003 08:46:02 -0700
From: "Julia D. Zgliniec" <rzglini1@san.rr.com>

Dear QHL,
Two more titles covering Friendship/Album/Signature Quilts.

For Purpose and PleasureJane Bentley Kolter (1985). Forget Me Not: A Gallery of Friendship and
Album Quilts.
The Main Street Press. Pittstown, NJ

Sandi Fox (1995). For Purpose and Pleasure: Quilting Together In
Nineteenth Century America.
Rutledge Hill Press. Nashville, TN.

Regards,
Julia Zgliniec

-------------------------------------------------


Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2003 22:22:44 -0400
From: mreich@attglobal.net

> Sorry to jump into this conversation so late but I just returned
from
> Paducah. Sigh! It was great as usual.
> Our Quilt Search Project took the lead of Pepper and Susan and
referred to
> signature quilts as quilts with multiple signatures. Period! We
> interpreted this broader title to encompass presentation quilts,
fundraising
> quilts, engagement quilts, etc. Regarding the use of term Album
signature
> quilt; check the Sarah Jane Barnes quilt on page 62-63, you will
find
three
> signature quilts made for/by Sarah. The red and white ones are
called
> Washington Pavement; one set on point and the other straight. They
are
dated
> 1857 She was raised on the Washington Rd. in Roxbury, CT. On the
straight
> set quilt, she stitched
> Sarah J. Barnes.
> Album Roxbury. (See the close-up,
> historically important from a quilt history standpoint.)
> It would be my interpretation that Album refers to multiple
signatures
(like
> her writing album). Since all of the blocks are the same, the only
> difference is a different signature on each block. sue reich
>

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 07:51:11 -0500
From: "Barbara Vlack" <cptvdeo@inil.com>

I know we have had significant discussion of this in the past, but
there is something going on around the Chicago area that bothers me
a bit.

Dr. Clarice Boswell has written a book about quilts made for the
underground RR and is presently giving programs all over this area.
She shows a collection of quilts that she claims to be
representative of the patterns that were used for the URR, and she
cites her source as her grandmother (I think the story was that her
grandmother was a slave) and oral history. The quilts she uses in
her presentation are not antique. One is even a Double Wedding Ring
that she claims her grandmother told her represented the chains of
slavery (we won't go there VBG). Her program is very
entertaining, for she is an articulate person with a rich sounding
voice. She offers some songs that she says her grandmother taught
her.

Dr. Boswell is a retired schoolteacher, so her Ph.D. is in
education. I believe her program information runs counter to the
historical documentation, or lack thereof, cited by Brackman and
others. There are a lot of guilds and other groups that are picking
her up for a program, and I can't help but think that they are
picking up on the "Dr." she is using. She has a right to call
herself "Dr." by virtue of the Ph.D., but I think it's inappropriate
to use the "Dr." here because it infers credibility in an area that
is not related to her doctorate.

I will turn on a dime if someone tells me that I am all wrong here.
When I have mentioned to anyone that I question the historical
accuracy of her program, I am given this look that says, "Who are
you to know better?" Perhaps I don't know better, so I am asking if
anyone else has heard this program and if anyone else shares my
opinion.

Barb Vlack
cptvdeo@inil.com

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 10:17:01 -0400
From: "Cinda Cawley" <lrcawley@dmv.com>
I am a believer in Florence Peto's dictum about naming patterns.
To
paraphrase: It is not wise to be didactic on the subject of
nomenclature
This serves me well in all aspects of quilt history where there is no
such
thing as a controlled sample or complete data set. We are divided by
150
years from the women who made the quilts. The correct name for each
individual quilt is whatever the maker called it, which in most cases
we
cannot know. Sarah Barnes' quilt is an "Album" because that's what
she
tells us it is. Hurrah for Sarah Barnes!
It is incumbent on us to describe the particular quilt with
enough
detail that our listeners/readers get an understanding of what it
looks
like. It's useful to call any quilt with names on it a signature
quilt and
go from there, keeping in mind that "signature" implies an individual
signing her name but on a quilt all the names may have been inscribed
by a
single hand and would not really be "signatures." I am in search of
synonyms for "names on a quilt." All suggestions welcome.
Cinda on the Eastern Shore much bemused by the subject of signature
quilts

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 10:34:54 -0400
From: Palampore@aol.com

Is there is picture of the palampore seen at Lincoln and Paducah?
Thanks,
Lynn Lancaster Gorges
New Bern, NC

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 09:24:26 -0700
From: Judi Fibush <judi@fibush.net>

I share your opinion and we may both turn on that dime but I do
question
her knowledge.

Judi

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 09:27:19 -0700
From: Judi Fibush <judi@fibush.net>

Cinda,

Your comments go back to my original ones when this questions was
first
posed. I came at it from a "common sense/logical" approach.
Although
no one told me I was wrong, the experts gave many sources for
reasons.
Anyway, I still stand behind my statement and do agree with yours.
Oops I may be in more trouble now

judi

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 15:55:20 -0400
From: "Cinda Cawley" <lrcawley@dmv.com>

Here we go again. I share your reactions Barb.
Cinda on the Eastern Shore

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 13:55:29 CST
From: jocelynm@delphiforums.com

We are divided by 150 years from the women who made the quilts. The
correct name for each individual quilt is whatever the maker called
it,
which in most cases we cannot know. Sarah Barnes' quilt is an
"Album"
because that's what she tells us it is. Hurrah for Sarah Barnes!

Cinda,
Not to mention- quilters of the past may have used what they knew
were
not the 'official' block names, for various reasons.
My mother tells the story of having a old lady in her community, who
was
reknown far and wide for her gardening skills. One day someone asked
her
the name of a particular bush, and she couldn't remember it, so she
said,
'It's a Johnny Bush.'
Lo and behold, the name stuck! Everyone assumed Miss X knew what she
was
talking about- at least until they met someone from another part of
the
country, who told them it was REALLY a lantana bush. <G>

Jocelyn

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 12:55:27 -0700
From: "Marilyn Maddalena" <quilting@marilynquilts.com>

I follow the discussions on QHL, and this keeps popping back up --
not only
here, but on other lists, too, unfortunately. There are some places
here in
California that are, I'm sorry to say, giving credence to this book
and this
subject by having or planning exhibits of these "UGRR quilts." I'm
not
aware of this particular speaker -- but I'll keep my eyes and ears
open to
see if she's coming out this far west. So just what can one say
delicately
to those quilters who, in all good conscience and good intentions,
believe
this stuff? "Check it out thoroughly," "many experts in the field
dispute
this theory for very good reasons" -- without antagonizing them?
Suggestions welcome -- it comes up nearly everywhere I go.

Marilyn Maddalena
Professional Quilt Appraiser,
Quilt Judge, Historian and Speaker
website: www.marilynquilts.com

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 13:18:17 -0700
From: "Laurette Carroll" <rl.carroll@verizon.net>

Barbara,
Could you tell us if the book has been published and the name of the
book?

Laurette Carroll
Southern California

Look to the Future With Hope

------------------------------
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 17:04:54 -0700
From: Gaye Ingram <gingram@tcainternet.com>

As Cinda noted, "Here we go again."

I agree with Barb and see no alternative to the reign of this UGRR
myth but
to stage massive----wellll, largish----public demonstrations in the
month of
August, when print and television news agencies are dying for news of
anything that rises above absolute stillness. Yes, I know it will be
hot
then, but if we plan it right (I'm thinking a continental "wave"
here), we
can catch a cool front moving from the west coast inland and a nice
Atlantic
breeze. And we will be doing it in the interest of truth (Double
Wedding
Rings=Chains?!) and enlightenment, after all.

We can call the movement the Above Ground Railroad, and we can go
onomatapoetic with a slogan like "agrr!" (see Linus, Snoopy, et al).

On the matter of professional degrees, I think we should combine our
sundry
degrees, albeit in veterinary medicine, education, musicology,
accountancy,
or other field. A degree in textiles or material culture/cultural
anthropology would, of course, be desirable, but clearly, as Barb
observes,
a relationship between degree and area of claimed expertise is not
necessary
to establish credibility.

Personally, I believe we should codify our message in quilts, thereby
adding
to the length of our newsworthiness. I mean, if we want "Nightline"
or "The
O'Reilly Factor" to pick us up, we're going to have sustain public
interest
for at least 2 days.

Indeed, I think I can guarantee that we will really pull in the press
if----I know this might see a little radical, even humiliating
perhaps, but
please, at least consider it----if everyone wears realllllllly short
shorts.

With little quilt patch back pockets.

Codified patches, of course.

Try to picture the scene.................

Dare I quote the late Lord Byron: "Fools are my theme, let satire be
my
song."?

Losing it in Louisiana,
Gaye

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 18:45:52 -0500
From: "Jeff 'n Sheri Lesh" <jefflesh@netins.net>

I have a friend with a long arm business and she was telling me about
a
discussion recently on her long arm email list. I told her to send
it to
me, I wanted to hear if any of you had any extra info on this or can
collaborate this information.

This is what was written:

The Smithsonian Institute now *requires* that polyester thread be
used in
repairs made on quilts in their collections. They found that it was
the
thread, not the fabric, that was coming apart after 100 or so years.
Tests
were done on identical cotton fabric/cotton batting pieces that were
quilted
with poly or cotton thread. The samples were then subjected to
numerous
washings, light exposure, etc., to simulate aging. The final result
was that
the fabric was not damaged by the poly thread, and the poly thread
did not
break, while in some cases the cotton thread did break.

Sheri in Iowa

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 18:16:13 -0700 (PDT)
From: Kris Driessen <krisdriessen@yahoo.com>

Wait a minture... isn't fabric made of thread?

Kris

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 17:24:36 -0700 (PDT)
From: Kris Driessen <krisdriessen@yahoo.com>

Laurette,

Lizzie's Story' A Slave Families Journey to FreedomThe book is Lizzie's Story: A Slave Family's Journey to Freedom, $15
at Amazon, but it has no description! It could be a recitation of her family story.  The problem with family stories is - as we all know - they take on
legend status after a while. They also cannot be argued with. No
one will admit that Granny just might be confusing the situation a
bit - or perhaps she is just honestly retelling what was told to her.

I do a lecture called "This is your life" about the life and times of
19th century women and how that was reflected in their textiles. I
am constantly researching the same. One of the things I discovered
was that there was a sudden explosion of slave diaries being
published right after the civil war. It was a fad, for a bit. None
of those books that I can find (or find reference to) mentions
textiles in any context other than their construction and daily use.
Moreover, it appears to me that a great many slaves escaped via the
sea. Or maybe there was a disproportionate number of slaves that
escaped on ships that chose to publish their diaries later.

Someone on this list mentioned the verbal interviews of former
slaves' children that were done (and later transcribed and put on
line) during the depression years as part of a work program. I've
lost the link now, but I remember reading hundreds of pages of
reminisces. None of which involved textiles:-)) I don't recall
reading anything about the Underground Railroad. I wonder if it was
a forbidden topic?

At any rate, I don't think we can dispute Clarice Boswells story.
You just can't walk up to a person and say, "Did your grandmother
REALLY say that?" It would be fun to put her in a room with Barbara
Brown, who has done extensive research on black quilts and would
probably gag at the thought of a free black woman making a
traditional block quilt in the 19th century. Although, really, who
knows. I have a blue and white quilt top made of 19th century
fabrics with 19th century thread in the double wedding ring design.
(As I type this I am wondering if maybe it isn't a pickle dish.) But
in any case, the design existed. Who is to say that a slave wouldn't
purloin or be given enough fabric to make a quilt representing the
chains of slavery.

The whole issue needs to be studied a little more from the logic
angle.

Kris, very long winded today

------------------------------
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 21:25:57 -0700
From: Gaye Ingram <gingram@tcainternet.com>

Re:
>
> Someone on this list mentioned the verbal interviews of former
> slaves' children that were done (and later transcribed and put on
> line) during the depression years as part of a work program. I've
> lost the link now, but I remember reading hundreds of pages of
> reminisces. None of which involved textiles:-)) I don't recall
> reading anything about the Underground Railroad. I wonder if it
was
> a forbidden topic?
>
> At any rate, I don't think we can dispute Clarice Boswells story.
> You just can't walk up to a person and say, "Did your grandmother
> REALLY say that?"

The University of N.C. has an extensive collection of slave
narratives and
related materials and is generally rich in materials that establish
the
daily lives of women. A wonderful archive, a lot of it unexplored for
purposes such as ours. Most southern university libraries either have
or are
in process of acquiring good archives in the period in question.

That these materials, which include many fanciful flights, contain no
mention of a connection between UGRR and quilts suggests strongly
that there
was no connection between the two. Vivid accounts of slave escapes
and other
forbidden activities such as instruction in literacy may be found in
these
materials. And these were legally forbidden activities.

Yet slave narratives and similar records do not in themselves
establish
reliable evidence that quilts were or were not used for the purposes
attributed to them by many. As everybody on this list is aware, I
suspect,
memory can be a slippery thing and of itself is not sufficient
evidence to
establish fact. Memory is shaped fact, and the perspective and
limitations
of the rememberer must be considered. Memories are constructed
meanings, not
necessarily identical to facts.

I submit that we do not need to ask the Ms. Boswells whether their
grandmothers really said something. To be fair, one must assume
either that
granny said it or that Ms. B. believes granny said it.

The issue then becomes one of locating independent supporting
evidence to
prove that quilts were used in this way. Memory alone won't suffice.
One
must turn to the journals and historical records of the time from
families
actively involved in the UGRR, e.g.---indeed, to a variety of
evidence,
including that established through long experience by Brown, by
Brackman,
and others----and enough evidence to prove one's claim beyond a
reasonable
doubt before a critical forum knowledgeable about the general
subject, a
body of one's peers.

Barring that substantiation, to accept as fact the report of anyone's
granny
strikes me as disrespecting truth.

And that is what women have too often been accused of within the
academy---of lacking scholarly discipline, of being "sentimental" or
soft on
evidence, of being more interested in meaning than in fact and thus
manipulating evidence. What has impressed me about the scholarship of
women
who work with the history of quilting is that generally it is not
only rock
solid, going well beyond what is required, but that it is also
generally
written in a lively, vivid idiom not often found in the work of male
American historians.

I would hope that kind of responsibility to truth remains true of
quilt
scholarship. Consider, e.g., Xenia's recent report of the quilt
everyone
felt certain dated from an earlier period. The issue was truth,
simply that
and nothing more.

Kris' query about whether the topic of the UGRR was a forbidden
topic for
ex-slaves set me to thinking. Having spent a good deal of time with
many of
these papers, I don't recall anything's being a forbidden topic.
Everything
under God's sun pops up---"women's problems" cooking, master-slave
liaisons,
men (sometimes found under "women's problems"). Ironically, this
topic seems
to have more of the taboo about it now than it had early in this
century.
Taboos just interest me. They make me want to establish their basis,
discover whether they are real or false.

And until someone establishes that quilts were used symbolically in
the UGRR
movement, I'm going to assume they were not, just as I would assume
any
other undocumented or insufficiently documented claim is not true.
And that
is not identical to saying it is false. I believe such an attitude is
fundamental to advancing knowledge.

To thoroughly document the use of a term like "album quilt" is often
tedious, always time-consuming, and sometimes not gloriously
interesting to
others. But such documentation underpins sound reasoning and leads to
sound
conclusions.

Having said all that, I must add that I have had communications from
members
of this list referring to my earlier suggestion of an August
demonstration.
Varicose veins and other combat injuries have been mentioned. Being
a
teacher, I can detect an excuse coming on from miles off, and it will
take
more than varicose veins or sheer cellulite mass to disqualify one
from
participating in what my husband (a professional historian) referred
to as
Fannies Across America. Imagine THAT photograph, please. Would make
the
Suffragettes look prim and priggish.

From North Louisiana, where summer has arrived,
Gaye Ingram

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 23:16:31 -0400
From: Palampore@aol.com

Would you please share with us where this info. regarding polyester
vs. cotton thread is published. Is it in a Smithsonian newsletter,or
some other publication?
Yes, in my conservation work I have seen some rotten thread, but I
have also seen some rotten fabric. I have seen dead silk and rotten
cotton fabric that would have been cut by polyester thread. I use
either/or, but it is depending on evaluation of each individual project.
Thanks, Lynn Lancaster Gorges, Textile Conservator, Historic Textiles
Studio, New Bern, NC

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 21:07:56 -0700
From: "Christine Thresh" <christine@winnowing.com>

From Fiber to FabricHarriet says, "Thread strength should be less than that of the fabric which
has been sewn. Authorities agree that the seam should be about 60% of the fabric strength. The reason for this is that if excessive stress is placed
on a seam, the seam will break instead of the fabric. Seams are easily
repaired, but fabric is not. So cotton thread is weaker than the cotton
fabric we use, but polyester thread is not. Polyester thread has tiny,
abrasive edges that work as saw blades against the soft cotton fibers and
will cut through the seams over time...." 

Hargrave, Harriet *From Fiber to Fabric*, C &T Publishing, Lafayette,
California, 1997, page 89

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 06:36:17 -0500
From: "Barbara Vlack" <cptvdeo@inil.com>

Thanks for your feedback and support of my doubts about the
historical accuracy of the book and programs being given by Dr.
Clarice Boswell. "Lizzie's Story" is the name of the book, thank
you. I _have_ pointed out to program chairs, when I could do it
tactfully, that her program is entertaining but not historically
accurate. For one of these, I produced Brackman's article from QNM
that discussed the whole issue of the myth of the URR quilts. I was
given a doubting look and a shake of the shoulder with, "Well, I've
already hired her."

Unfortunately, the argument that there is no written historical
documentation about a purpose for signal quilts in the URR doesn't
always hold because there is, instead, the oral tradition. My own
arguments are 1) I can't believe the slaves who used the URR were
sophisticated enough to understand the network and codes that are
purported to make this work; 2) _somebody_ must have written it down
somewhere if it truly existed to the great level that many want to
believe; 3) when all is said and over, stories can be embellished.

My reason for chewing on this subject _again_ is because my own
guild hired Dr. Boswell to do this program at our guild quilt show
in the fall. This will be at least the third time through this area
for Dr. Boswell. I do offer that her program is entertaining. I just
cringe that those who don't know that there is a controversy about
the historical truth about the UGRR quilts will buy the story and
pass it on.

Barb Vlack
cptvdeo@inil.com

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 07:50:01 -0400
From: Joan Kiplinger <jkip@ncweb.com>

I'm sorry I can't remember who posted the original about this
topic
but is it possible re thread preference to find out:
Did this study indicate 100% poly or cotton/poly thread,
suggest a
brandname such as Mettler Metrosene [sp??] to use and state which
brand
threads were tested?
Thread is not a yarn as yarns made for weaving differ, which
is
why it is called a thread as it is made to different specifications;
it
would be difficult to imagine a superior cotton thread being weaker
than
poly..
I hope more can be found out about this topic, particularly for
quilters.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 08:14:12 -0700
From: Gaye Ingram <gingram@tcainternet.com>

What is the date of the first recorded statement linking quilt
symbology
with UGRR?

Knowing that would not prove or disprove the existence of such a
link, of
course, but it might help establish a starting point, from which one
might
go backwards and forwards in time, seeking sound evidence.

The journals and plantation records I've seen all suggest that slaves
were
provided with a given amount of fabric for "covers" each fall,
generally
tough-working undyed utility yardage, certainly not dress yardage.
Moreover,
there was very little time which women had free to work on these
winter
covers.

While some plantations had seamstresses, slaves who specialized in
various
sewing projects, the mistresses of most plantations usually joined in
the
work of sewing herself. The sheer volume of work that must be
accomplished
could be overwhelming. Everything had to be constructed.

I've seen numerous mention of African-American slaves who gained
great skill
in quilting and whose responsibility it was to produce both utility
and fine
quilts for the plantation house beds. These women (and a few men)
worked
full time for the owner, however.

To appreciate this UGRR issue, I believe one must study plantation
records
and related documents to provide a sense of context for the stories.
Nice
textiles were not as widely available in the frontier South as they
were in
the Northeast, where the mills were located. Real wealth was sparse.
(Today,
when southerners like me visits shops in the Northeast and find
extant
remnants of mid-19th century fabrics, we are generally looking at
things we
have not seen before or seen only rarely in our own area) Farm work
required
sunup to sundown labor 6 days a week and was exhausting. And so on.

Those records and the slave narriatives themselves also suggest that
the
African slaves were much too smart to materialize messages regarding
such
furtive activities as planned rebellions or escapes. Spies were
everywhere
in the A-A group, and rural whites, who were generally far
outnumbered by
slaves, lived in fear of uprisings and mayhem. Suspicion was a fact
of life,
particularly by the 1850's.

A-A slaves were slaves and in a foreign country, but they were a
fairly
average human population. No evidence exists to indicate they had any
lower
intelligence than the white population. And much exists to show their
ability to work their ways around unbearable circumstance. (The Uncle
Remus
stories, e.g., testify that cunning was valued and existant in the
slave
communities and suggest that secrecy---a tight little grapevine---was
the
order of the day.)

A firm grasp of historical fact argues against this symbology story
and must
be addressed to establish fact. But as they did with Parson Weems;
story of
Geo. Washington story of the cherry tree, historicans must establish
fact.
Only then can they interpret the meaning of fact. In Weems' case, the
writer
seemed to include the story because it was a legend that illustrated
the
trait for which Washington was generally known, a forthrightness and
honesty. Quite possibly these UGRR stories arose after the fact to
illustrate the cleverness of an oppressed people.

But that remains to be established, doesn't it?

Gaye

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 14:40:09 +0100
From: "Sally Ward" <sallytatters@ntlworld.com>

There is a new exhibition at Brodsworth Hall, a country house near
Doncaster
in the UK, focusing on chintz as seen through the history of the
house. For
the purposes of the exhibition some of the chintzes they have in
furnishings
were identified by the archivist of the Stead McAlpin collection, the
home
of many pieces from the Bannister Hall stable.

The exhibition was featured this week on a BBC Radio 4 programme,
with
contributions from the Brodsworth Hall Curator, Crosby Stevens, and
Rosemary
Krill, senior curator of Indian textiles at the Victoria and Albert
Museum
in London. You can listen to the item online at

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/28_04_03/monday/info3.shtml

Sally W in UK

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 07:29:23 -0700
From: Judi Fibush <judi@fibush.net>

>Considering that the slaves outnumbered the whites about 3 to 1
>especially in So. Caroline, I think their ability to survive despite
the
>captivity and hardship is a testimony to their resilience. A great
book
>to read is "Slaves in The Family" by Edward Ball who writes about
his
>ancestors both black and white from the early 1700's on. It lists
>inventories and duties and ownership of peoples and how they
survived
>and fought the war, etc. No where are any quilts mentioned at all,
>unfortunately.
>
>Judi
>
------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 07:37:23 -0700
From: Laura Robins-Morris <lrobins@fhcrc.org>

I'm with Gaye. Dozens, nay, hundreds, thousands of middle aged
quilters
in patchwork hot pants....
Laura in Seattle

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 08:11:11 -0700
From: "Christine Thresh" <christine@winnowing.com>

What I found fascinating in the Ball book were the parallel histories
--
oral and written which dovetailed when Ball compared them. I think
his work
showed that oral histories were accurate. He was able to confirm
events
passed down orally with his family's written diaries.

Judi Fibush wrote:
>Considering that the slaves outnumbered the whites about 3 to 1
>especially in So. Caroline, I think their ability to survive despite
the
>captivity and hardship is a testimony to their resilience. A great
book
>to read is "Slaves in The Family" by Edward Ball who writes about
his
>ancestors both black and white from the early 1700's on. It lists
>inventories and duties and ownership of peoples and how they
survived
>and fought the war, etc. No where are any quilts mentioned at all,
>unfortunately.

Christine Thresh
http://www.winnowing.com

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 10:14:06 CST
From: jocelynm@delphiforums.com
To: cptvdeo@inil.com
Cc: QHL@cuenet.com
Subject: Re: QHL: Boswell's program
Message-ID: <105171925301@mail1.emumail.net>
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Disposition: inline
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> arguments are 1) I can't believe the slaves who used the URR were
> sophisticated enough to understand the network and codes that are
> purported to make this work; 2) _somebody_ must have written it
down
somewhere if it truly existed to the great level that many want to
believe; 3) when all is said and over, stories can be embellished.

Barb,
RE 1: I don't see how quilts could have been used as signs of safe
houses, because how could UGRR people have stopped a neighbor from
admiring a quilt and re-creating it? For the plan to work, the signal
quilts had to be only used by safe houses. Most African cultures
were
strong on oral tradition, and taught at least some of the tribe to
retain
large amounts of narrative in memory. Anthropologists have disproven
the
old 'memorized word for word' legends, but it is true that African
tribes
still have people who memorize the key points of tribal traditions,
even
if they don't tell the stories word-for-word each time. I wouldn't be
at
all surprised if each escaping group had at least one member
so-trained
in memorization; it would make sense to me that those who wanted to
escape would be among those who were most tied to old traditions and
least acculturated to slave society.
RE 2: The UGRR stopped before the Civil War. Even if slaves became
literate after the war, there's no reason that elderly people would
want
to record an obsolete code from their youth. OTOH, there's no
particular
reason why they'd teach it with great accuracy in oral tradition,
either.

Jocelyn

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 12:41:32 -0400
From: Joan Kiplinger <jkip@ncweb.com>
To: qhl <qhl@cuenet.com>
Subject: poly vs cotton
Message-ID: <3EAFFCBC.8080808@ncweb.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

I contacted the Smithsonian via the Texcons list regarding the
preference of poly for quilt restoration and here is the reply:

Do you know when this was promulgated? There are some old (ca 1960's)
treatment guidelines that have been superceded. To the best of my
knowledge,
the only guidelines on textiles formally approved by the Smithsonian
textile
conservators appear on the SCMRE website http://www.si.edu/scmre
These do
not specify treatment protocols.
Sincerely, Mary Ballard Senior Textiles Conservator, SCMRE

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 15:07:04 -0500
From: "Webb, Dixie J" <WEBBD@apsu.edu>
To: <QHL@cuenet.com>
Subject: fighting windmills - ugrr
Message-ID:
<4B02634A34EE6043B56B6CA32CAB722DB23508@exchange2.apsu.edu>
Content-Class: urn:content-classes:message
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charset="iso-8859-1"
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Though dispelling the mythology surrounding the ugrr seems
insurmountable, I am fighting the good fight on my own scale (I don't own short
short you see!). I have the rare situation of teaching art history
(PhD, for what that is worth) at a small state university in a town
with a decent county museum. In the last few years the new museum
director has welcomed art faculty to curate exhibits. I have taken the
opportunity to work with the museum's collection of twenty+ quilts to
raise the issues of quilts and their mythology on the community level.

As is clearly labeled in the exhibit wall text, I have relied heavily
on the scholars in the field of quilt history (that's what a PhD is
worth, you know who to cite!) for information. The exhibit is not
primary research, but gives the viewer hard evidence that lots of quilts
weren't made from scraps, machine-quilting was a viable method of
piecing and quilting in the late 19th century, there is no single
'correct' name for most quilt block designs, etc.

Though I can't directly refute the ugrr stories (okay, windmills is
not the best metaphor), I can at least raise logical doubt in the
viewer's mind. An accessible bibliography is provided with the exhibit -
including websites and this list serve - in hopes that doubters might
pursue the discussion. We will never 'win' this battle - George
Washington will always have chopped down a cherry tree, and Betsy Ross, .
. . well, you know what I mean.

The exhibit has only opened today, so I'll let you know if it causes
an uproar in Clarksville, TN.

Enjoying the last day of classes and 85 degrees,
Dixie Webb (not an Medical Doctor)
Professor of Art History
Chair, Art Department
Austin Peay State University
(pronounced 'pee' as in 'Let's GO Peay!')

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 15:37:51 -0700
From: Gaye Ingram <gingram@tcainternet.com>
Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit

> From: "Webb, Dixie J" <WEBBD@apsu.edu>
> Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 15:07:04 -0500
> To: <QHL@cuenet.com>
> Subject: QHL: fighting windmills - ugrr
>
> Though dispelling the mythology surrounding the ugrr seems
insurmountable, I
> am fighting the good fight on my own scale (I don't own short short
you see!).
> I have the rare situation of teaching art history (PhD, for what
that is
> worth) at a small state university in a town with a decent county
museum. In
> the last few years the new museum director has welcomed art faculty
to curate
> exhibits. I have taken the opportunity to work with the museum's
collection of
> twenty+ quilts to raise the issues of quilts and their mythology on
the
> community level.

Good for you, Dixie.

I think this is the way any myth is dispelled---or proven. One bird
at a
time.

Brava,
Gaye

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 14:26:35 -0700
From: ikwlt@cox.net
To: QHL@cuenet.com
Subject: ugrr/agrr
Message-Id: <3.0.1.32.20030430142635.007b7b10@pop.west.cox.net>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

i had avoided bringing up the ugrr topic again, but since it is in
full
force would like to vent a bit. while at the glendale (california)
quilt
show in march i picked up a flyer from eleanor burns' booth about her
new
book. it is titled "quilts from the underground railroad" and
appears to
be based on the HIPV book as it touts gathering our 'monkey wrench'
and hop
on the 'wagon wheel', follow the 'bear's paw' trail through the
mountains
and gather safely at the 'crossroads'.
"all the blocks so you can have your own 'code' quilt!"

so many new quilters begin with or know of eleanor burns and she is
quite
respected. i'm afraid this respect will spill over and give credance
to
the ugrr myth/theory/history that continues to grow. there was a
lady next
to me who got suddenly excited at seeing the flyer and i just excused
myself and told her that in the historical "world" of quilting there
is
great debate over the authenticity of this code because so much of it
can
be refuted by known facts, that it is one woman's story, and nowhere
else
has it ever been corroborated. i told her that of course if she
wanted to
make the quilt it would be lovely, but please not to pass along the
story
as fact.

and then several years back i was at a photography showcase called "A
Communion of the Spirits" which featured black families (mostly
women) with
their quilts and there were also a few actual quilts displayed. one
was
called a "slave chain" which bore a sign saying it had been copied
from the
original slave quilt. it was made of 30s fabrics and had the flavor
of
double wedding ring. the "ring" was pieced, it was elongated, and
fashioned in strip style so that it looked like rows of chain links
hanging
top to bottom. i think i have a picture of it somewhere. it was
curated
by author of the book, roland freeman who i corresponded with. after
i
contacted him about the "example" of an ugrr quilt that was included
in the
show he wrote back to me, "Based on my recent research among Ontario
Afro-Canadian quilters and various history museums, the topic of the
use of
quilts on the UGRR will not be addressed at this symposium."

so it is possible to have an impact on some level. of course
february
(black history month) always seems to be the time it comes to a head.

looking for my short-shorts,
patti

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 19:50:22 -0500 (EST)
From: Teri Klassen <teresak@bloomington.in.us>
To: <qhl@cuenet.com>
Subject: AFrican-American quilters
Message-ID:
<Pine.LNX.4.33.0304301936090.25264-100000@kirkwood.hoosier.net>
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

I have seen a couple of quilts called Slave Chain which are
a simplified version of Double Wedding Ring. I believe they were ca.
1930s, and by black quilters. One was in a Southern state quilts
book, I
believe, maybe Arkansas? one might have been in one of Roland
Freeman's
books. The book on WPA interviews with ex-slaves living in Indiana
has several references to slaves and ex-slaves making quilts in the
mid-to-late 1800s.
I think it's well-documented that African-Americans including
pre-Civil War
"free blacks" were making repeating block quilts in traditional
patterns
by the mid-1800s. see Roland Freeman's cross-country book on African-
American quilters, and the recent article on the Buxton, Ontario
quilts
in the last AQSG newsletter. Teri Klassen

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 17:53:44 -0700
From: "Christine Thresh" <christine@winnowing.com>
To: "Quilters Heritage List" <QHL@cuenet.com>
Subject: Re: fighting windmills - ugrr
Message-ID: <000a01c30f7c$23d30860$dc14d7cf@preferrc>
Content-Type: text/plain;
charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Someone mentioned a "Slave Chain Pattern" that looked similar to a
double
wedding ring. Is this it?
http://www.quiltsonline.com/quilts/product_group.asp?topcatname=Patterns&lis
ttype=dept&subcat1=201&subcat2=201-1&catalog=QF02B&dept_name=Quilt+Patterns&
pg=9&g_id=101817&imgsize=large

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 17:58:14 -0700
From: "Christine Thresh" <christine@winnowing.com>

That "Slave" Chain" link did not work

Here is the copy from the Quilts and Other Comforts web page:

"Slave Chain Pattern
An updated version of an old pattern recalling America's Black
History,
accompanied by commentary from Barbara Brackman. Use the design to
recall
the days of slavery and the bravery of people involved in the
Underground
Railroad. Barbara has modified the original version for quicker and
easier
sewing and the pattern includes instructions for appliqué or piecing.
8"
blocks; 76" square."

 
 

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