Today I share Part II of Florence Peto's article, Old Quilts Tell a Story, found in the 1938 magazine The American Home.
Pictured: (Top)The Bride's Quilt of Mary Ann Dubois--signed, dated 1835, and patterned after famous original conception of the Star of Bethlehem or Rising Sun design created in 1810 by Mary Totten of Staten Island. it is owned by Miss Ella Butler. (Lower) Baby's Building Blocs Quilt made in Devonshire, England, in early nineteenth century. Here scintillate silk and satin create bright, arresting beauty. Courtesy of the Newark Museum in Newark N. J.
|Liberty Quilt, top left|
In the category of a patriotic inspiration there is a fine old Liberty Quilt made by Hannah Childs of Warren, Rhode Island. Very soon after Congress formally adopted the device which is now on the Great Seal of the United States of American, the eagle was used lavishly by craftsmen and needleworkers to embellish furniture, china, woven textiles and even the patch quilt.
Not much is known of the quiltmaker's early history. Hannah Childs became Mrs. Wood. In time, her son, Jonathan Perry Wood, married a Pennsylvania-German girl named Mary Heckathorn; the couple emigrated to Dayton, Ohio, and the cherished Liberty Quilt went with them. All of Jonathan and Mary's children and some of their children's children were born in Dayton, including the granddaughter, who is the present owner of the quilt.
The President's Wreath is happily illustrative of the fine and even distinguished workmanship expended on patch quilts. Louise Kline was born in 1824.
At twenty-one, having been engaged for a short time, Louisa announced to friends that her wedding had been set. There commenced a great cider making, cake baking, dressmaking, and housecleaning on the farm; turkeys were roasted in the great round red-brick oven which stood out-of-doors and then there were stored in the cool cellar. All the usual preparations for festivity, dear to the heart of the Pennsylvania-German, animated the Kline household for a week before the important day. When the hour finally arrived every inch of the house, porch, stone steps, and walk had been scrubbed.
People stood around and waited; the men smoked and talked about the crops and strolled toward the barns; the womanfolk sat in parlor and gossiped. There was a flurry when the minister arrived and there followed some joking and teasing of Louis'a expense because the bridegroom was late. By sundown those left of the wedding party were looking pretty grim. Some of the guests stayed and waited all night, others went off in wagons and on horseback. But the disappearance of the young groom on the day of his wedding remained an unsolved mystery. She lived to be a "dea old lady," never married, and died at eighty-three.
Picture: New Spreads in Old Quilt Patterns. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have inherited from grandmothers and great aunts the old things instinctively loved and appreciated; nor does everyone have the time to tour the country looking for antiques. But you ca go into your favorite store and find bedspreads copied exactly from the quilts made by hand many years ago in the colors you wish today.
An accompanying article touted quilts and coverlets for sale. "One good reproduction, made of double fabric of the same quality as the original, is the loom-quilted Bates spread at the top of the page. It comes in six colors, including old red and dark blue, each combined with white. A variant of the star motif is incorporated in "Norwich," a spread (shown at left) by Monument Mills, in pastels or strong colors. A Kentucky coverlet was the inspiration for the spread of jacquard construction (at lower left). It is particularly effective in rich blue and white and is made by Bates. The spread in the center at the bottom is from R. H. Macy and is named Bristol. It is difficult to believe it is machine made. The Sunflower pattern at the lower right has long been a favorite. Instead of tiny pieces of calico put together by hand, modern mills weave the same effect by machine. Neisler Mills make this attractive quilt."
*****More About Florence Peto
From an article written by Gwen Marsten found here, "Few would argue that Florence Peto was the most influential quilt authority of the mid-twentieth century...A well-known authority on quilts and quilt history [she] worked as a consultant to museums in the selection and documentation of their collections."
See photos of Peto and her quilts at Vintage Textile's post here and here.