Monday, October 8, 2018

Political Quilts #2: Quilt for Henry Clay from Philadelphia

"To Henry Clay from Ladies of Phila."
Silk quilt, 1844

The large dedication block is in the center of this silk
star quilt in the collection of Henry Clay's Ashland museum.
( # 1988.147)
From an old postcard.

A postcard from Ashland, 20th century

Here is how I got into the whole Henry Clay quilt search. I found a letter published in the United States Gazette, July 13, 1844, mentioned in a recent book on Clay's papers:

June 6, 1844, From an unknown woman: 
"Sends for the ladies of Philadelphia a quilt, 'Fashioned by their heads and wrought by their hands.' Notes that it 'has not been spoiled by a multiplicity of counselors for although nearly one hundred ladies have participated in it, it has come out fair and square.' "
The quilt "made of satin and velvet with embroidered flowers was displayed for a time in [a Philadelphia] store" according to the Lexington Observer & Kentucky Reporter, June 19, 1844.

I wondered if I could find that quilt. Here it is. I saw it pictured in the old postcard and it is in the Quilt Index, recorded by the Kentucky Quilt Project, which is where I found the detail of the center. 

See the catalog page at Ashland here:

The museum now has a reproduction quilt made by Carole Crabtree and Mitchell Baumann of Quilter's Square of Lexington.

According the the museum catalog, the 2001 reproduction will be displayed "since the original is too fragile to be displayed anymore. Reproduction of this quilt, as well as conservation for the original, were funded by a group of ladies from Louisville."


Here's a link to the letters in The Papers of Henry Clay, edited by Melba Porter Hay: 

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