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Quilters Find a way to care

Subject: Re: Confederate block patterns From: Gaye Ingram 

> I h ave received several e-mails about additional Confederate > personalities that have quilt block patterns named for them--Brackman has one > for Robert E. Lee, and Eleanor Burns has several. When I said I know of no > others, I meant contemporary or vintage, i.e., early 1900's patterns. Don Beld >

Don, Would you share the information you have rec'd re Confederate quilt blocks?

Like you, I am more interested in the vintage blocks, for it shows contemporary esteem. Yet it is also interesting ot see how that esteem is retained through the years, as in the Stonewall Jackson pattern, which I believe is essentially the same one shown and used on the cover of the VA Quilt Museum book. It's maker, an inlander, named it "Mariner's Wheel" I think. Members who have searched their Nancy Cabot files do not find it there, though Brackman lists it as being a Nancy Cabot pattern. I suspect this pattern was issued in "Progressive Farmer," a popular magazine publ'd in B'ham. There, the Cabot pseudonym was changed to "The Spinning Wheel." That reveals a continuing interest in Jackson and the Civil War that continued---and continues---in the South. And, especially in Jackson, to whose untimely death many attribute Appomattox. Had Jackson lived is still the big "if" among some historians and many lay readers.

In what fabrics will you do your Rosa Parks quilt? And such a good choice of pattern---Job's Tears, the old Southern name for this pattern that is also called prettier, less powerful names like Periwinkle! If your pattern permits, I would love to donate a piece or two from scraps I saved from garment construction in that era. Have you seen the movie "The Long Walk Home" with Sissy Spacek? I think it evokes the complexity of that time. What an interesting and deserving project!

Gaye

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Subject: vintage fashion magazine From: Joan Kiplinger <jkip@ncweb.com> Date: 

For those who are interested in Vintage Fashion magazine, some follow-up news: I called this morning to see when the second issue -- September -- would be out. According to a staff person, issue is "still in negotiations with printer." Not quite sure which way to digest that answer. Also, there is no website as of yet nor have any agreements been reached with book chains to have magazine on their stands. Those who want to be put on mailing list can email fashionreporting@aol.com or phone editorial offices at 718 601-0396.

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Subject: Robert E. Lee and Rosa Parks From: Beth Donaldson <quilts@museum.msu.edu> Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003 14:18:15 -0400 X-Message-Number: 5

Check out our website to find two quilts that are named for Robert E. Lee. http://www.museum.msu.edu/glqc/MarySchafer/leesrose.html

Also, did you know Rosa Parks was a quiltmaker as well as a seamstress? You can see one of her quilts and read an interview with her about her quiltmaking, beginning on page 132 of African American Quiltmaking in Michigan by Marsha MacDowell, ed. You can purchase this book at: http://35.8.122.90/MTAPStore/category.asp?time=104029&category=QOT.

Beth Donaldson Quilt Collections Assistant Great Lakes Quilt Center at the Michigan State University Museum 201 Central Services East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1045 quilt line: 517-432-3800 quilts@museum.msu.edu http://museum.msu.edu/glqc/index.html

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Subject: Re: Robert E. Lee and Rosa Parks From: Gaye Ingram 

Beth, Thanks for the reference to the site. Do you know where the original of this quilt is now located? and who the maker was? where the reproducer saw it?

Lee's wife hosted a daily quilting gathering throughout most of the war. Varina Howell Davis, Jefferson Davis' wife, was a regular. Many of the quilts were made for auction/sale. Some were made for soldiers. Many, many southern boys went off to war with special quilts made by their mothers and relatives especially for the occasion of their departure. And I've never encountered a southern woman's journal during this period in which some mention was not made about a quilt being made for "selling chances."

Gaye

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Subject: Re: Confederate QUilt Patterns From: JBQUILTOK@aol.com Date: Mon, 22 

If anyone involved with this list starts designing quilt blocks & naming them for old Civil War heroes (South or North), I hope they are extremely careful to make sure they are always clearly labeled as 'designed in the 21st Century'. We've fought the battle against the UGRR myth too long to carelessly start a myth of our own!

Janet

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Subject: Confederate Quilt patterns From: Donald Beld <donbeld@pacbell.net> Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003 22:12:26 -0700 (PDT) X-Message-Number: 1

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I had several people e-mail me privately about patterns named for Confederate personages. I hope none of them mine my sharing them with you all.

Cuesta Benberry (what an honor to have her e-mail me) confirmed that the Stonewall Jackson pattern in Brackman's book came from Nancy Cabot and was printed in the Chicago Tribune on 4-23-33. She also states that Ladies Art Co listed a Stonewall Jackson pattern in 1890 as "170 Stonewall", but discontinued the pattern in the second decade of the 20th Century because it was a "poor" seller.

Cabot's Stonewall Jackson is not attributed to an actual quilt or who designed it; but I think my conclusions about the connection between the background looking like a Stonewall with Blazing (Virginia) Stars superimposed on it is correct.

Connie Ark was kind enough to e-mail me about an actual quilt made by Mrs. Mary Custis Lee (Mrs. R.E. Lee) called Lee's Medallion that is current in the possession of the Virginia Military Institute. She made it to raise funds for the Robert E. Lee Memorial Church in Lexington. Barbara Brackman's Lee's Medallion is a modern version of that quilt and the pattern for it can be obtain through ReproductionFabrics.com.

Eleanor Burns (quilt in a day fame) has a book out that I think is called Stars across America or something like that that have many patterns named for famous people--some of them Southerns. Some are contemporary to the personage patterns like Barbara Freitchie Rose, Dolley Madison Star; but some are modern designs that she has made and named such as Sojourner Truth, Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Tubman, etc.

As for my Rosa Parks quilt, I am using 19th Century repro fabrics (that basically is all I work in) in a turkey red background and an indigo blue chain one way and a white chain the other way. In the middle of the quilt, I intend to break the chain by leaving out two links and quilting in Rosa Parks' name to represent her breaking the chains of segregation. I consider Rosa Parks the Barbara Freitchie of the 20th Century (yes, I know Barbara Freitchie wasn't really the person who held the Union Flag out her window; but she was a real person and a real patriot and the poem represents a real event).

Curiously enough, the great quilting tradition of designing patterns and making quilts to honor great Americans kind of died out after WWII. The last pattern I know of for a famous American is a Jimmy Carter block, so the ground is fertile and ripe for us all to continue this great tradition. Happy quilting, Don Beld

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Subject: Union quilt personages From: Donald Beld <donbeld@pacbell.net> Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003 22:26:43 -0700 (PDT) X-Message-Number: 2

Okay, I got to thinking, while we having been talking about the Confederate quilt personages blocks, we should give equal time to the Union people. Besides Barbara Freitchie Rose, I show a Lincoln's Platform, Sherman's March, Tad Lincoln's Sailboat, and Garfield's Monument (Garfield was, of course, a Union general) although his block obviously is a memorial block for his assassination.

Two wonderful trivia comments about Garfield are 1) he was the last incumbent Congressman to be elected President of the United States and 2) he was the leader of the draft Sherman movement and the convention turned to him when Sherman gave his famous, "If nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve" speach; so Garfield's assassination was a quirk--it could have been Sherman.

To the best of my knowledge there is no Grant block, no Stanton, no Andrew Johnson, no other Northern personages. Let me know if you know of any. Don Beld

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Subject: Re: Confederate QUilt Patterns(long) From: Gaye Ingram <gingram@tcainternet.com> Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 01:22:53 -0500 X-Message-Number: 3

> > If anyone involved with this list starts designing quilt blocks & naming them > for old Civil War heroes (South or North), I hope they are extremely careful > to make sure they are always clearly labeled as 'designed in the 21st > Century'. We've fought the battle against the UGRR myth too long to > carelessly start > a myth of our own! > > Janet

Clearly, as Don and Beth have noted, folks have been designing quilt blocks and quilts and naming them for their heroes, heroines, and causes for almost as long as they have been quilting.

One of the most revered quilts in my family home was an album quilt my mother and her eight sisters and brothers had made as a gift for their mother. Their signatures, stitches, and choice of blocks and colors reflected not only their own personalities, but also the woman who all alone had seen them through most of their young lives and somehow sent them to college or professional training from the proceeds of a small farm and pine timberland. She was their heroine, and anyone looking at that quilt knows it and has some idea of the values and devotion she instilled in the makers. My grandmother had entrusted it to my mother, probably knowing she had initiated the project and knowing also she would see that it lived on through other generations.

Numerous books and articles (e.g., "They Couldn't Vote, but..." Vibert/Girard; "Hearts & Hands" Ferraro/Hedges/Silber) detail the ways in which women engaged the worlds of politics and society through quilting, often memorializing their own heroes in quilt blocks and quilts which have been copied by generations of American quilters.

So the practice of designing quilt blocks and naming them and/or the quilts they comprise for heroes or heroines has been going on for a long time, and reproducing or modifying those designs is also a part of the American quilt tradition. Don Beld, for instance, recently made a quilt using a pattern published in the 1930's and named for Thomas J. Jackson, and yet it is clearly a quilt of our time. His decision to use darker, more masculine reproductions of fabrics from the mid-19th century stamps it as singular and 21st century. Beth's posting regarding the Strickler reproduction of a Lee Rose quilt makes clear that the reproduction of older quilts is a commonplace in quiltmaking history..

There are many reasons to seek to recognize a person in an art form, but generally they go to the person's most salient characteristics or historical or personal significance. Whether represented abstractly or more realistically through applique, the decision to recognize these qualities in reveals much about the maker and probably also about the age in which he or she lives.

I believe I am the one who started this thread by inquiring about a quilt pattern named for Stonewall Jackson. I had just completed the compelling biography of Jackson by James I. Robertson, which had made me understand and appreciate things about Jackson that I had missed before, though I had read about him for much of my adult life. This is the first "full" biography and it shows a man who in many ways has much to say to our own time, to me, as a Southerner and an American and a person committed to duty, piety, and an independent spirit.

Finishing that biography made me wonder whether Jackson had been memorialized by a contemporary quiltmaker. It struck me as odd---and now odder still, since no contemporary versions have turned up---that someone in the great Valley of Virginia would not have found him an appealing project. There, Jackson loomed larger than Lee.

That is an interesting question I intend to pursue about Lee, Jackson, and others. Its anwer and the reason a pattern named for Jackson surfaced in the Great Depression will reveal something about what his life meant to those he served and to their descendents.

That Don Beld would have made a Stonewall Jackson quilt and is now planning (if only in his imagination, still) a Rosa Parks quilt suggests something that might be the answer. Both were plain people (Jackson was Scots-Irish and Lee seems to have been one of the lone exceptions to his distaste to Tidewater Virginia aristocracy), both were independent, both were deeply religious and committed to their people and to a democratic view of the world. And each did the impossible.

It has occurred to me that for many on our list the word "Confederate" has ominous connotations. Yet, when one studies history closely and reads the letters and journals of the time, he cannot avoid the notion that both Jackson and Lee fought for Virginia, to defend their native land and their families. Each was shocked when members from the Deep South seem ecstatic about the prospect of secession. They had fought in Mexco. They knew the cost of war, and they were ardent unionists until union simply was no longer possible for Virginia. Lee's father had been the most popular military figure in the Revolutionary War, the one who had coined the phrase "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen" to characterize G. Washington.

Lee's wife's family, the Carters of Arlington, were related to Martha Washington and owned the prized set of Washington china. Her father's will freed his slaves through an onerous process that led Lee and his sons to devote years of labor to paying off debts of the estate so they could accomplish the terms of the will . Lee himself freed his slaves. Jackson defied Lexington, Va, and state laws to establish a Presbyterian Sunday School to teach the gospel and literacy to slaves so that they might read the Bible for themselves..

The facts of these men's lives are thoroughly documented, particularly following the Robertson biography, and so it would be unlikely that a spurious myth would arise from a quilt such as Don's or any similar quilt made or design created by anyone else.

The Civil War was a terrible war, one that tore families and nation apart and left the South decimated economically and physically until WW II. Even in the 1960's, one could fly over Sherman's route from Atlanta to Columbia and Charleston and from the air clearly see the path of of his army's destruction and ruin.

And even in 2003 those of us, black and white, for whom the South is a generations-long home love our homeland, warts and beauty marks included. In an age of the anti-hero, of Enrons, and of a complex war and politics, perhaps we turn to an earlier time to define ourselves and our values more clearly. Either abstractly or otherwise, our quilts will embody courage, duty to one's own land, and sacrifice of self. They will have at their heart the motto that graced the Lee family crest: "Not unmindful of the future." and of Lee's statement, "Duty if the sublimest word in the English language". That is what both those men were about.

In other words, these were no Confederate-flag "Love it or leave it" bumper-sticker types. But they were Confederates. It would be a shame if pc precluded their virtues being memorialized and publicized in quilts for rising generations.

Personally, I want to check very carefully to determine to what extent quiltmakers of their own time remembered them in design.

Gaye

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Subject: Lee's Rose and Buds quilt From: Beth Donaldson <quilts@museum.msu.edu> Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 08:46:31 -0400 X-Message-Number: 5

Here is a quote from Mary Schafer and Her Quilts by Gwen Marston and Joe Cunningham (you can purchase this book at http://35.8.122.90/MTAPStore/category.asp?time=104029&category=QOT.) This passage refers to the unfinished quilts that Mary Schafer acquired and finished after the death of her friend Betty Harriman. "Because each woman was working on a "Lee Rose and Buds" at the time Betty died, and because Betty's quilt top was partially marked for quilting, Mary started that project first. The quilt top was made from one of the many old patterns that Betty had collected. According to Betty's notes, the pattern was taken from a quilt 'made in 1852 by Mother and Grandmother or Cousin Mamie Lee. Mamie Lee was born [in] 1860, the night Abraham Lincoln was elected President...Quilt now owned by Robert E. Lee, son of Mamie Lee...This old quilt is in perfect condition and very beautiful.' Although Mary's and Betty's quilts were made from the same pattern, the two quiltmakers took contrasting approaches. Betty copied the faded tones of the original fabrics with antique, delicate colors, while Mary used bolder colors. Betty replicated the dense complicated quilting designs of the original, while Mary drafted her own. Betty followed the layout, the number of blocks, and the three sided border of the 1852 quilt, while Mary established a new balance and symmetry in her replica."

Beth Donaldson Quilt Collections Assistant Great Lakes Quilt Center at the Michigan State University Museum 201 Central Services East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1045 quilt line: 517-432-3800 quilts@museum.msu.edu http://museum.msu.edu/glqc/index.html

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Subject: flooding From: Palampore@aol.com Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 09:44:54 -0400 X-Message-Number: 7

We survived the hurricane well at our house. Finally talked with Pepper yesterday and she said the same. But, we know that many of our neighbors north of us can't say the same. My husband and I went up to the lower part of the Outer Banks yesterday to check on his relatives and it was a repeat of 4yrs. ago with Floyd---sofa, chairs, mattresses, wet carpet, etc. sitting by the roads all over the place. I took copies of my sheets on washing stuff after a flood, but I felt that I was probably too late. If any of you know folks who are looking for info. on washing flood damaged textiles click here for the article I wrote 4 yrs. ago.

 I have a very good friend on Hatteras. I am sure she will have tales to tell. She just moved there with her preacher husband in June. During the storm I worked on the research on cleaning products for quilts. The storm slowed down the progress on the orange/teal quilt downloads, but that will be finished the end of the week. (Our computer person was downloading them last Wed.but had to stop so he could put plywood over the windows to our shop...) Off to work more on the cleaning product research. Lynn Lancaster Gorges Historic Textiles Studio New Bern, NC (35 miles from the coast of NC) textilepreservation.com

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Subject: Eliza Jane Trimble Thompson From: Trimble4@aol.com Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 13:07:43 -0400 X-Message-Number: 8

All this discussion of famous personages has got me thinking...and now I'm looking for information on Ms. Eliza Jane Trimble Thompson. I have very little information about her, so am basically starting from scratch. Have any of you read anything about her, or do you know of any research you might be able to steer me toward?

I thank the book, Hearts and Hands, and those who wrote it, for sending me down this path. If you don't own this book, find it.

Appreciate any help you might pass on. Lori East ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: 19th century quilt poetry and prose. From: <mreich@attglobal.net> Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 15:21:42 -0400 X-Message-Number: 9

This description of an 1883 Crazy quilt is probably my favorite. It identifies favorite colors of the time and the reasons why, and describes blocks in detail. Enjoy! sue reich

Newark Daily Advocate Newark, OH. June 29, 1883 A Poem of Patches ------------------- 

A Symphony in Samples of Silk and Satin

 --------------------------- 

A Patchwork Quilt of Quaint and Arabesque Pattern and Artistic Unity of Design --------------------------------- 

National Republican Mrs. John C. Mulford, wife of the clerk at the Arlington hotel, has finished a “patchwork quilt” that is not merely a quilt, but a work of art. It is a poem in patches—a symphony in samples of silk and satin. It is seven feet square, and is composed of forty-nine different blocks, arranged in rows, each row separated by a division ribbon of dark red satin, and each block divided from each other by a ribbon border of the same texture and hue. Around the whole is a border of drab red satin, traversed by seven rows of stitching in various silks. The pieces are chiefly silk, with many of satin and a few of velvet. There are about one thousand pieces in the quilt, and every piece has a history. There are in it samples of silk from a wedding dress made hundreds of year ago in England, when the looms wove silk as enduring as time. 

There are in it specimens of the latest styles of gentlemen’s cravats. And between these two epochs are hundreds of pieces of different times and all possible shades of color, arranged in blocks of a general arabesque pattern, the whole presenting a unity of design that is marvelously symmetrical, and a blending and shading of colors that is artistic in the highest degree. Only an artist with a firm, bold hand, a quick, accurate eye and a true perception of the harmonies of art could have made it. Some of the pieces are mere shreds in size, and none of them are large. With these materials are displayed taste and judgment, and the result is not merely a quaint quilt, but all arabesque in art. The blending of the colors is the most admirable feature of the whole work. The arrangement of the pieces are equally satisfactory. The general result obtained is consequently artistic. 

Two of the squares contain a piece of brocade silk of the now fashionable color, “crushed strawberry.” It came from the wedding dress of Mrs. Mulford’s great-grand-mother, and is 110 years old. Another square contains a fragment of her own wedding dress. Still another holds a small section of her husband’s wedding vest, one of those patterns in light silk which were fashionable before the war, and which, having gone out of fashion, had been replaced by nothing half so elegant either in texture or in style. Again, another block has a piece of the wedding-dress of Mrs. Mulford’s bridemaid, Miss Sherman, with her initials worked in it. This is the only block in the whole quilt which Mrs. Mulford did not work with her own hands. Hundreds of these pieces were sent to Mrs. Mulford by her friends. One block is called the “Beach block,” because the wife of Hon. Lewis Beach, of New York, contributed most of the pieces in it. The predominant colors here are purple, crimson, black, light blue, green and others. In our corner a crescent moon, attended by stars, gleams out from a field of blue. In the center a cluster of leaves is beautifully worked. Very much of the work is difficult needle-work, done by Mrs. Mulford. 

Many of the pieces have various designs painted on them by the same lady, whose abilities as an artist are highly appreciated by her friends. Another block contains a piece of Thomas Jefferson’s carriage lining, which, despite that president’s well-known democracy, was of silk. The Japanese embassy sent another block. On one of the pieces in this block is painted the minister’s name in the strange, uncouth Japanese characters. Mrs. Malone sent some pieces, which were arranged in handsome block. In this occurs one of the few pieces of velvet in the quilt. One block contains a piece on which is scratched a life-like sketch of the fox and the stork, at the famous dinner where the fox was worsted. The expression given to the expectant but disappointed fox is perfect. He is sitting on his haunches, licking his chops, while the stork, with his bill deep into the narrow-necked jug, seems to say briskly and hospitality, “Help yourself brother Reynard!” 

In another square the sagacious starling is dropping into a pitcher the pebbles that will enable him finally to take a drink. In one block is a piece of silk from the curtains of the White House. Some of the blocks have in them pieces of silk which were not made in this country. C. Lambert, the silk manufacturer of Peterson, N. J., in importing patterns from England, has sent samples to Mrs. Mulford to be worked in the quilt. Mr. Lambert was so struck by the “crushed strawberry” silk of 110 years ago that he manufactured a quantity exactly like it. 

In one of the squares “Little Boy Blue” is blowing his horn in all the glory of the Kensington stitch, and in another a little girl on a stile seems to be in doubt which side of the fence to come down on. A very elegant block contains a piece of imported English silk, in which a perfect strawberry, with a cap still on, appeals to the eye for approval of its perfect shape. One block holds a number of elephants. Another has pieces sent by Senator Platt’s son, a part of his cravat, in which little pigs with a ring in their tails, are ambling along with a larger ring on their backs.

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Subject: Thanks to Don Beld From: Gaye Ingram <gingram@tcainternet.com> Date: 

Don,

Thanks so much for sharing with the list the information you received re Confederate quilts.

I was particularly interested to learn of the Stonewall Jackson pattern listed by the Ladies Art Co in 1890. Was it the practice of most pattern sellers to sell only original patterns developed by them? Or did they sometimes draft and sell traditional patterns?

Reading over your lists of people for whom quilts had been named, I realized that women appear to outnumber men by a large measure. Somehow I found that reassuring about the women (and most were women) who made those quilts. It suggests a healthy regard for people of their own gender. They might have had few women political heroines available to them (using the world "political" in its broadest sense), but they found women whose lives embodied qualities of courage and duty and honor.

It is not unusual that the act of memorializing national heroes in quilt blocks and quilts died out after WW II. The last half of the 20th century was the era of the anti-hero, a rather cynical time in general. I think 9/11 reminded us that Americans were capable of extraordinary acts of courage and selflessness. Coming at a time when quilting appears to be gaining in popularity, even among the very young, it does indeed suggest, as you note, that the ground is" ripe for us all to continue this great tradition."

Thanks for sharing so generously the information you have gleaned.

Gaye

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Subject: Gaye's comments re southern women's journals From: "Kathy Moore" 

With regard to the comments by Gaye in today's digest: "And I've never encountered a southern woman's journal during this period in which some mention was not made about a quilt being made for "selling chances," I have a question.

Has anyone read Mary Chestnut's Diary? Did you find any reference to quilting? I've been scanning it periodically and I can't find a reference to it. This used to be considered a reliable source of information about women's lives during that terrible wahr! Any comments would be appreciated.

Kathy Moore

 

Subject: Re: Gaye's comments re southern women's journals From: Gaye Ingram 

> > With regard to the comments by Gaye in today's digest: "And I've never > encountered a southern woman's journal during this period in which some > mention was not made about a quilt being made for "selling chances," I have > a question. > > Has anyone read Mary Chestnut's Diary? Did you find any reference to > quilting? I've been scanning it periodically and I can't find a reference to > it. This used to be considered a reliable source of information about > women's lives during that terrible wahr! Any comments would be appreciated. > > Kathy Moore >

Kathy, I have Mary C in hand and will skim for such references. Yet, I suspect you are right re Chestnut herself. She was a woman meant for a grand salon---highly intelligent, exceptionally well read, deeply involved in politics and society, and of a kind of society that I don't think really existed in Virginia, for all its history and wealth. Her station and her deeply intellectual aspirations would have been unlikely to dispose her to quilting.

I note that when she mentions meeting Mrs. R.E. Lee and Mrs. J. Davis, she observes nothing of their philanthropic activities, though both met regularly each week to make quilts for charity bazaars and auctions and to sew bandages and knit socks, and they gave freely of their time and presences for charity. Both women, though married to important men, were of simpler manners and dispositions than those of the Carolinian.

They were, moreover, more "domestic," being parents as well as wives. Chestnut, childless, seems to have seen herself in many ways as outside the world of such women. Her childlessness haunted her, driving her to define herself in ways beyond the domestic. So the absence of comment on such activities might result from M.C.'s point of view

Interestingly, when I wrote so broadly---too broadly, obviously---I thought about Chestnut and could not imagine her quilting for charity.

Yet her diary's failure to note such an activity does not mean Chestnut did not at some time engage in it. Her diary was begun in 1861 and was deeply revised over a long period, especially throughout the 1880's, after she had worked diligently and unsuccessfully at writing novels. When, at last, she began to revise the journal , she edited both broadly and purposefully, omitting many, many details that did not suit what she perceived to be her theme or that would present her in a light other than the one she chose. And she chose to present herself rather like a neo Roman matron, I think.

In "Within the Plantation Household: Black & White Women of the Old South," Elizabeth Fox-Genovese observes that Chestnut "had her sights set on authorship in the grand manner. Her diary would permit her to marry the charms and ambitions of the belle to the command and ambitions of the military officer or statesman."(p.348) Fox-Genovese observes that Chestnut sought to produce a diary that would be essentially intellectual, dealing with the destiny of nations. That desire would necessarily omit many homely, domestic incidents.

"Brokenburn: The Journal of Kate Stone," written by a woman who lived in North Louisiana delta of the Mississippi River, is also typical of such diaries. The revision was extensive, purposeful, done over a long period of time, and sometimes (often, Ms. Stone's relatives declared) belied reality as it was portrayed in letters and unedited journals.

Yet, I really don't think I've encountered many (note the qualifier this time!) women's unedited journals or papers in archives that did not include some allusion to such activities. Certainly letters of the time are filled with mentions of charity quilting.

The University of North Carolina archives are a particularly rich source for such narratives and letters, and both the footnotes and bibliography in Fox-Genovese's monumental work (above) will suggest the breadth of materials, published and unpublished, now available for study of a question such as the one of charity quilting. The LSU Center for Southern Studies catalogs more domestic items each year and is a good resource.The University of Virginia archives once contained daguerreotypes of prominent women like the wives of Confederate cabinet members and military officers quilting. As I recall Lee's daughter Mildred was in one.

But such charitable quilting activities were not conducted only south of the Mason-Dixon line.

As for "that terrible wahr!" it was, in fact, terrible, and a people who have survived a war on their home land do not forget that or find themselves able to treat it lightly. President Bush, in an interview with Brit Hume aired last night, stressed that point in relation to Germany's position on the war in Iraq. Charleston, Columbia, Richmond, and Petersburg looked like the bombed-out ruins of German cities by the end of the Civil War.An entire generation of young men was decimated. Women were left to mourn dead husbands and sons who would never grow to full manhood. A generation of young women had a disproportionately large number who would never know the satisfactions of marriage or family or motherhood. Family lines deadended. Poverty was everywhere. An entire land had to be rebuilt.

It was at horrendous costs that the issues of state sovereignty, regional economic conflict, and human slavery were settled.in the American Civil War.These were national issues. The thorniest of them to solve became an American issue in 1619, when the first African slaves were brought to Jamestown, and it remained an American, not a Southern, issue in the years to come. In 1643 five New England vessels transported fish to Spain. Four took payment in Sherry and Madiera which was shipped to England. The fifth took payment in slaves, who were sold as commodities in England. From that, eventually developed he Triangular Trade, centered in Massachusetts and Connecticut, which was conducted not in Southern shipping vessels and served the economic interests not merely of the southern colonies. (In this trade, American merchants bought sugar and rum in the West Indies, then shipped the rum to Africa, where it was traded for African slaves that were then sold in America.) I personally haven't the slightest doubt that had the terrain and climate of New England lent itself to large-scale cotton and sugar production, slavery would have become an established part of life there. Such, alas, is the power of greed within mankind and the indifference to brotherhood that it can breed. Whether it is in the sweatshops of the East or the cotton fields of the South, man has demonstrated a frightening capacity for dehumanizing his fellows.

After 9/11, the American President, speaking in the National Cathedral, said of a more recent cataclysm originating in such a capacity: "God's signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in tragedy that His purposes are not always our own. Yet the prayers of private suffering....are known and heard, and understood." What the South was privileged to learn in the Civil War was not what history books often recognize. We learned humility in the face of a transcendent and often inscrutable power.We learned the limits of man's power. Those are lessons generally reserved for people who lose, not win, battles, and I personally can imagine no more important lessons.

In the lives of Lee and Jackson, I see the recognition of these lessons and of the power given to the humble. Thus, I would consider it a lesson in humility to make a quilt honoring either man.

Finally, may I suggest for any who might take lightly the real meaning of any war a little poem written by a Quaker conscientious objector from Long Island who served as a military nurse, Walt Whitman----"Come Up from the Fields, Father." (www.civilwarhome.com/comeup.htm) It is a piece that has always recalled compassion to me when I have found myself in a contentious spirit. Think I will go read it again right now.

Gaye

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Subject: Last comments on Stonewall Jackson/R.E. Lee From: Donald Beld 

Gaye, in your note about Jackson and Lee, you commented that Mary Lee (R.E.Lee's wife as "related" to Martha Washington. She in fact was her great-grand-daughter, the daughter of George Washington Custis. George Washington adopted grand-son and Martha Washington's grand-son. It is another of the great ironies of American history that the Custis/Lee Masion and plantation--Arlington House--was expropriated by the Federal Government during the Civil War for a cemetary. The Lee's never were compensated for giving up their home. Martha Washington's son built Arlington just up the Potomac River so that he could be near George and Martha.

Mary Custis Lee freed her slaves before the war. Stonewall Jackson came from an extremely poor family. Neither of them were advocates of slavery; but of state's rights. Anyway, we don't have to fight the war again, thank God!

I love the history of quilting and the history of our country that it reflects. Don Beld

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Subject: Re: Last comments on Stonewall Jackson/R.E. Lee From: Gaye Ingram 

> Gaye, in your note about Jackson and Lee, you commented that Mary Lee > (R.E.Lee's wife as "related" to Martha Washington. She in fact was her > great-grand-daughter, the daughter of George Washington Custis. George > Washington adopted grand-son and Martha Washington's grand-son. It is another > of the great ironies of American history that the Custis/Lee Masion and > plantation--Arlington House--was expropriated by the Federal Government during > the Civil War for a cemetary. The Lee's never were compensated for giving up > their home. Martha Washington's son built Arlington just up the Potomac River > so that he could be near George and Martha. > > Mary Custis Lee freed her slaves before the war. Stonewall Jackson came from > an extremely poor family. Neither of them were advocates of slavery; but of > state's rights. Anyway, we don't have to fight the war again, thank God! > > I love the history of quilting and the history of our country that it > reflects. Don Beld > > Don, my point entirely. We are one country. Our sins and our glories are shared. And we all won that war.

I myself was born in a world alive to the horror of war, in a community where many families had lost their sons (one of them lost 3 of 4) to a war in Europe and Asia. Each night of my young life I prayed for that family and for the children of Germany and Japan, with whom I must, my mother would tell me, create a new world, one where parents did not weep over lost sons and children slept soundly and warm under quilts made by their grandmothers. In time she saw to it that I had both a German and a Japanese penpal so, I suspect, I would not grow up vainly believing success was the mark of virtue.

Writing in the 1960's, the short story writer Flannery O'Connor, a Roman Catholic, said that African-Americans were specially blessed by God because their history taught them that lesson, precluded that particular version of vanity. How else could a Rosa Parks or a Martin Luther King have found courage to assert their dignity and demand justice in an era where the very color of their skin had precluded most commonly accepted notions of success?

I hope you will show us photos of the Parks quilt. What a terrific plan! The use of the old pattern Job's Tears is especially brilliant----not a bit sentimental, either, for Rosa Parks never fell prey to the arguments of Job's comforters, did she? That's a quilt I hope you will share with the list.

Gaye

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Subject: RE: NJ State Museum show From: "Candace Perry" 

I had a major computer crash that kept me out of of the loop for a couple of weeks, so I've just been getting caught up. Out of curiosity I took a look at the NJ State Museum's website. It seemed pretty sophisticated and up to date (a big challenge for museums, believe me, to keep it timely) but in my humble opinion, is quite oriented toward their school programming (common in state museums) and the sorts of things that might interest families/school children/teachers. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as our esteemed Mr. Seinfeld might say, HOWEVER...that is where the bulk of their efforts are going. I am sure they have a mandate that they must serve this audience. What I think would be most interesting, regarding this entire rather sad situation, is a conversation with their PR/marketing person -- if he/she actually exists. Perhaps that person quit, there was a hiring freeze (typical) and they aren't generating PR the way they should. 

On another note, I'll say to everyone -- and anyone who has visited this institution knows -- that I, and people in my position all over the country, have more work than I can possibly ever complete. I have massive 80-year backlogs of cataloging. I have exhibits and programs and speaking engagements. Once again, I will say HOWEVER, I can make time to accommodate a serious, and sometimes not so serious researcher. The work that needs to be done here will probably not be accomplished during my tenure. What I can do for the good of the order is help raise the public profile of this institution and educate our audiences AND preserve and document the collections. We can be good stewards yet still allow access. I know I can make time -- and I am not saying everyone can, by any means. In my case it's not that frequent, maybe once every other month that I have a request -- I imagine in other institutions it's much worse. And it fosters good will, word of mouth, the whole nine yards. Anyway, that's just my thoughts. Candace Perry Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center

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Subject: Lee's Surrender From: Teri Klassen <teresak@bloomington.in.us> Date: 

this is not a confederate quilt pattern, but there is a woven coverlet pattern called Lee's Surrender. I believe it is an overshot pattern, I saw it in an old book by, I believe Eliza Hall. Teri

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Subject: Did the Irish Chain pattern really come from the Irish? From: "jajb" 

I'm working on a short article on this and have not found any relationship of the Irish Chain pattern to the Irish either from Ireland or Irish immigrants to America. Not to say they never made quilts from the pattern as I'm finding just about everyone has used the pattern including the Hopi. But I am searching for origins of the pattern. I don't want to state the pattern is not related to the Irish unless I am sure.

I've also see that the 'Irish chain' is a unit of measurement. Is there any connection here to the quilt?

Thanks for any help or ideas.

Judy Anne

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Subject: Re: Did the Irish Chain pattern really come from the Irish? From: Judy 

My understanding 'bout Irish Chain--- It is such an easy pattern that even the Irish could do it---the Irish were considered 'savage' and incapable of learning etc.--see 19th cartoons, and read about attitudes in 18thc and earlier everyday life-and of course in early 20thc 'no Irish need apply ' and' Dogs and irish keep off' --in other words , a slur---- My reasons for this theory of the name of the pattern is a amalgamation of family stories,and readings over many years. Sorry I cannot give exact places to look --it is not something I have ever thought of documenting--but all of us know things like this, especially in this area, of slurs. One that comes to mind(textile related) at the moment is Norwegian pink-for the double pink fabrics. And then add the universality of patterns-- The Seventeen Planes of Symmetry is a book that shows the universality with all kinds of designs from all over the world---Ruth McDowell studied this(and probably many more) -when she was investigating Symmetry. Would not be surprised to see the 'Irish Chain' in tiles of ancient ruins. Judy in Pa

jajb wrote:

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Subject: Irish Chain From: "Sally Ward" <sallytatters@ntlworld.com> Date: Sat, 27 

I suggest you contact the Ulster Folk Museum at uftm@talk21.com. The website http://www.nidex.com/uftm/folk.htm doesn't specifically mention quilts, but they do have them and the curator is very knowledgeable.

Sally W

 

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