Let's take a little trip in time back to spring, 1864 and the Metropolitan Fair in New York City. I've been looking at a lot of old photos because I named my Moda Civil War reproduction collection Metropolitan Fair. Gather up your hoopskirts and let's trot over to 14th Street.
We can find many photos and accounts:
"We may begin very properly outside of the Fair buildings. Fourteenth Street, at this point, was unusually light, by reason of a number of gaslamps posted along in front of the entrances...
There is a little crush at the entrance, a confusion of color, a low sweeping sound of silk breaking through the level hum of voices, and we are borne, apparently between two high board-fences, into the great hall of the Fair...
A Display possibly from
Alexandra, Princess of Wales
Most persons, perhaps, experience very much the same feeling on going for the first time into a great bazaar, — such a multitude of objects press at once upon the senses that for a time nothing is seen...distinctly. One is dazed, and comes back to the usual state of self-possession as if waking out of sleep. Ladies will grasp the arm of a companion a little more tightly, and sometimes may be seen with heightened color and quick breath gazing around, in a wild, wondering way that betrays their feeling.
A photograph of the "Hartford Table"
looks like an antique booth at a show today.
But order settles out of confusion, and little by little we learn to distinguish the parts which go to make up the whole."
There was certainly a lot of stuff to see. When I enlarge the photos I begin to distinguish the parts that make up the whole. Is that a quilt on the left?
Could those be quilts right in front of the "Piano made from Wood Taken from the Charter Oak"?
That is probably some kind of banner on the left...On the right?
During wartime there were, of course, many martial displays. Here are swords artfully arranged.
With a quilt on the table.
I'd imagine it's an Album block or Chimney Sweep
something like this, but with sashing.
The arch above this display says "Fire Department" and the caption says it is a New Jersey display. The photographer: J. Gurney & Sons.
Two (?) quilts
The one on the right sort of like this Railroad Crossing.
And here is another view of the New Jersey Department.
Under the arch on the left a woman waits for customers. Under the arch on the right...
A bunch of quilts.
A pineapple applique, something pieced
in the center and a basket with sashing.
A lot like these New Jersey antiques
See more about the basket quilt, which was made in 1864, here:
Could it be the EXACT SAME quilt?
Just what these quilts are doing at the Metropolitan Fair I cannot say. They may have been for sale. Or perhaps they were on display, valued for age or connection to a famous person.
Two quilts were described in the exhibit at the Curiosity Shop, "that bewildering conglomerate," where one could view "a quilt that had once covered the beautiful Mary of Scotland [and]...a patchwork quilt of calico — bought during the Revolutionary War, when calico was a dollar and a quarter a yard."
And in another display---an item made notable by the age of the maker: "A silk quilt representing a flag made by a lady seventy years old."