Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pan-American Redwork Quilt

I just acquired a 1901 Redwork quilt made of penny squares sold for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY.  About 60 different squares were sold for a penny each. This quilt has a predominance of buildings but includes a central gathering of President and Mrs McKinley and Vice President and Mrs Roosevelt around an eagle block.

These Redwork quilts made for the Pan-American Exposition have fascinated me, and I am thrilled to now own one. First, I grew up near Buffalo, NY. I am interested in Presidential history, as well as American History, and since making a Redwork President's quilt I have been quilt in love with Redwork.

On Sept 6. 1901 President McKinley was in a receiving line at the Temple of Music when he was assassinated by  Polish immigrant Leon Czolgosz who was holding a gun under his handkerchief.

 Illustration by: T. Dart Walker.
Source: The cover of the September 21, 1901 issue of Leslie's Weekly.


An African-American waiter named James Parker wrestled Czolgosz to the ground, preventing him from firing another round.

 " I heard the shots. I did what every citizen of this country should have done. I am told that I broke his nose—I wish it had been his neck. I am sorry I did not see him four seconds before. I don's say that I would have thrown myself before the bullets. But I do say that the life of the head of this country is worth more than that of an ordinary citizen and I should have caught the bullets in my body rather than the President should get them. I can't tell you what I would have done and I don't like to have it understood that I want to talk of the matter. I tried to do my duty. That's all any man can do."
 "I am a Negro, and am glad that the Ethiopian race has what ever credit comes with what I did. If I did anything, the colored people should get the credit."

On Sept 14 the president died of gangrene and Teddy Roosevelt became president. Leon Czolgosz was sent to trial and was sentenced to die on October 29, 1901. The government went after anarchists, much in the way we search out terrorists today, creating the Alien Immigration Act in 1903.

For an overview of the President's visit see

For a booklets detailing the buildings at the fair, which are depicted in the penny squares, see

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