Kathy sent pictures of a wonderful cased photo she recently inherited.
My Aunt recently gave me a diploma that one of my ancestors received. It is in a miniature vulcanized rubber frame with the diploma on one side and what looks like a photo of a fairground on the other side.
It says: DIPLOMA AWARDED BY THE SHAWNEE COUNTY Agricultural Society to
Mrs Sarah Ives
for Cotton patched quilt
Topeka Sept 28, 1875.
A J Huntoon sp Pres.
S H Downs Sec'y.
I became a quilter 3 years ago. So, I am thrilled that I was the one to inherit this.
My guess is Kathy's photo case contains a prize won at the Shawnee County Fair (Topeka) in 1875 for a patchwork quilt. A diploma like the one in the case was an award---less than a medal but higher than honorable mention.
We are used to ribbons as fair prizes but in the past judges awarded a variety of prizes.
I consulted two friends at the Kansas Museum of History, curators Nancy Sherbert and Rebecca Martin, who believe that the cased photo was a homemade souvenir of the quilt prize. Someone took an old deguerreotype holder and cut Sarah's diploma to fit. On the other side they put a photograph of a drawing of the fairgrounds by Henry Worrall, a Topeka artist.
I found out a little more about Sarah Ives. In 1873 she won an award at the state fair. The annual records for that year list "Mrs. Sarah Ives, Topeka. Best Plain Knitting by a lady over 60."
This is not Sarah Ives, but a great picture
from the Farm Security Photos at the Library of Congress
Certainly wish we knew what Sarah Ives's quilt looked like!
Gonzales County, Texas fair, 1939. Photos by Russell Lee.
I found these pictures of fairs, mainly in the 1930s, by searching for the words County Fair at the Library of Congress website: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/
Grapefruit display at the Imperial County fair, California
Why did white anklets and spectator pumps go out of fashion?