Wednesday, December 13, 2017

DWR 1: Oldest Double Wedding Ring

Velma, working with the continuing Oregon quilt project, sent this photo of a Double Wedding Ring top they recently documented. Looks like 1890-1900 [that should be 1890-1920]. It's the oldest Double Wedding Ring she'd seen. Is it the oldest anywhere?

I'd written a post on this topic about 7 years ago, so I wondered if I had updated information. I spent a little time looking through my picture files.

The old post:

A while ago Alice sent me these pieces with a similar question about age.

I do have photos of several Wedding Rings in this dark color scheme
typical of the 1890-1920 years.

The arcs are made up of shirtings for lights (either woven or printed)
and claret red, mourning grays and blacks, indigos and cadet blues.

This one sold last month at a Dirk Soulis auction in Kansas City.

I believe those are polka dots between the arcs.

All Solids.
 Lola Demetia Sweeten, Liberty County, Texas,
found in the Texas Project. From the Quilt Index. The tan
is thought to have once been green.

This whole quilt looks faded as if it were bleached. I wonder if the tan
setting pieces were once bright red.

Like this one with chrome orange in the four patch
and a pink edge (faded or choice?)

By Allie & Adar Rolling
From the Alabama Decorative Arts Survey

The dark/shirting arcs definitely seem to be a style dating
to about 1900-1920. Red as the setting fabric, also a style characteristic.

From the Robert Bishop collection at the American Museum of Folk Art.
Bishop thought this one might be from Georgia, made by
an African-American woman.

Another case of red fading to tan.

There is so little information attached to these examples, mostly
from online auctions, that we have to make guesses on the date
based on the fabric. Was the fashion
regional? Southern?

From the Cargo Collection at IQSCM #2000_004_0001.
Helen & Robert Cargo collected in Alabama and
specialized in African-American quilts.

Dare we say - the patterns seen to have originated as a regional design: Southern
but Southern/African American?

Back to the original question as to the earliest DWR:
 I do have several pictures of DWR with dates inscribed.

Leigh Fellner at Hart Cottage Quilts posted this one
with a label at the top that says DAP 1915, This is the second oldest DWR
 with a date on it that I've found.
It's done in the blue, claret and gray colorscheme.

Most of the other dated examples are over a dozen years later. Have four pictures
with the date 1928 like this one. You can see the fashion developing for pastels and brighter
solids in addition to a few old-fashioned navy blues, blacks and checks.

The oldest dated example: This magnificent quilt from the Georgia project and their book,
dated in the border 1910. The family name was "Diamond Ring." A whole paragraph is embroidered in the border.

 "J.J.J. and V.D.J. Age 9 months old when this quilt was finished. He was born August 21, 1909. This quilt was made and given a present to J.J. by L.S.J. May 24, 1910."

V.D.J., Vernard Debue Jordan, told the interviewers that the quiltmaker L.S. J. was his mother Laura Savannah Stroud Jordan (1876-1952).  J.J.J. was his father, John Jackson Jordan who was born in slavery in 1862.

Thank you, Laura, for signing and dating the quilt.

Well, I've run out of room so more on early Wedding Rings tomorrow and the next day---until I run out of things to say.


  1. Thank you! I love them all. So inspiring.

  2. Love these. The smaller pieces make them much more exciting than the double wedding ring quilts that I am used to seeing.

  3. What treasures. They make me want to sign and date my quilts for future reference. You are so lucky in America to have such a rich quilting tradition. Here in Australia, old quilts are few and far between.

  4. WOW! It's very pretty. I love your creative work. Thanks

  5. It's an amazing post and i'm inspired to see this . Keep up sharing .

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