Harriet Powers's Bible Quilt
"Quilt Exhibit, Interior of Negro Building, Atlanta Exposition," 1895
Stereograph by B W. Kilburn, published 1896
The vintage photo features Harriet Powers's Bible Quilt, now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. Kyra Hicks on her blog Black Threads reported on an original card selling on eBay for $203 ten years ago.
Harriet Powers's Bible Quilt - 1885-1886
The exposition, a sort of a world's fair, was held in Atlanta, Georgia. The 1895 exhibit was the last of three Atlanta Cotton State fairs:
- 1881 International Cotton Exposition,
- 1887 Piedmont Exposition
- 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition
A coin purse made of a painted shell
The trade show and entertainment showcased Atlanta as a growing city and hoped to develop markets for the post-Civil-War Southern textile economy.
The Negro Building
In the spirit of segregation there was a separate building for black
Americans' arts and industry.
The Memphis Display in the Negro Building.
On the left of the women a spinning wheel.
See one version of this card at the Libarary of Congress:
Behind the spinning wheel some kind of patterned textile.
The commercial photographer B. W. Kilburn & Company of Littleton, New Hampshire, published a series of 149 stereocards of the Expo. In some of the shots of the Negro Building you get a glimpse of what might be quilts.
Probably just flags....
Same photo, another detail
of a doll bed in the foreground
and a girl sitting on a bed just like it.
Those patterned items hung on walls are probably some
other kind of banner or canvas.
Except in the photo of the quilt exhibit featuring Harriet Powers's quilt.
Behind her quilt is a woman in a booth. On the right: seems like a Lone Star.
On the left: A pine cone or pine burr bedcover of folded triangles?
Similar to this one from the inventory of Julie Silber Quilts.
Or maybe it's a pieced wheel quilt of some kind.
And in the case:
Appliqued words of the Lord's Prayer.
At the bottom
"FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER,
AND GLORY FOREVER"
See a similar quilt by Lena Moore featuring Psalm 23 here: