Thursday, March 14, 2024

1876: A Party


In a post a few days ago we looked at quilts date-inscribed
1875 and I concluded it was a dull lot.

Cindy's Antique Quilts
Echoes of past styles with a trend to pink if any design trends
were apparent.

Did that trend continue?

Laura A.B. Loring, New York
Massachusetts Project
"April 26 1876"

Aida Overton Walker
Was there nothing new?

How About a Party!

1876 was the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of
Independence, the birthday of the United States.

A year-long party that had an influence on quilt style.

From the Ohio project and their book
 Quilts in Community: Ohio's Traditions

The main site for celebration was Philadelphia, which put on "The International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Products of the Soil and Mine or Centennial Exhibition" in Fairmount Park. Thirty-eight nations showed their wares in the fair, which was open May to November.

A two-sided quilt of fabrics printed to celebrate the anniversary.

Women, denied exhibit space in the other buildings, organized their own.

But NO patchwork quilts...well, maybe one allowed.

Boston Evening Transcript 1875

Eliza Hoskins Farris, always eager for a little publicity for her
quilts, told the Lexington, Kentucky paper that her
Henry Clay quilt was going to the fair. (Doubtful.)
Read more about her:

Merikay Waldvogel and I have been studying quilts at large fairs and international exhibitions and have found fairly consistently that newspapers often carried articles about quilts that were going to the fair. We've also heard family memories about a quilt that wowed them in Chicago, St. Louis or Philadelphia. When we checked official records we find most of those never made it to any exhibit hall. As you might notice, the people who managed these events did not hold quilts in high favor.

President of the Women's Committee Elizabeth Duane Gillespie was
 Benjamin Franklin's Great-Granddaughter.

Official exhibits aside, the Centennial anniversary led many quiltmakers to celebrate with original designs.

American Museum of Folk Art
By Gertrude Wendling Knappenberger (1815-1888), Pennsylvania

Top from an auction

From a Dana Auction

Monmouth County Historical Association/ New Jersey Project
Made from flag bunting.
Note says: "This bunting decorated the residence of ? 
M. Pemberton, 39 Bleeker St., Newark, NJ 1876".

Shelburne Museum Collection
By Minnie Burdick, North Adams, Massachusetts
Pictorial quilt with two views of the fair. Is the one on the left a view
of the Women's Pavilion?

Barbara F. Menasian found this sampler in Manchester, Connecticut.
Today's quilters have made many copies. Do a web search
for Centennial Quilt Project

The world of quilts was no longer as dull or sparse as it had been a year earlier. Somehow that 100th anniversary party sparked a revival of interest and many new looks. About which--- more in the next post:
Read more about Centennial Quilts at these posts:

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad the Centennial livened the quilt world up a bit. I remember when the Bicentennial happened, there were articles, patterns, fabrics & supplies, kits for all sorts of quilt, sewing, & needlework projects for at least 2-3 years prior. It seems odd that there's been not a peep about the 250th? Not that I've seen. Or is such hoopla given only to the 100-year anniversaries?