Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Eveline Foland--No Longer a Mystery Woman

Memory Bouquet, pattern by Eveline Foland,

Quilt by Bozena Vilhemina Clarke

Museum at Michigan State University

I called Eveline Foland the Mystery Designer in my short biographies of Kansas City Star quilt designers because she disappeared abruptly from the newspaper in December, 1932.

Page from last year's Kansas City Star Quilts Sampler 

My friend Louise Townsend and I had spent a lot of time in the early 1980s trying to find out what happened to her. I'd learned a little by interviewing Kansas City quilt designer Marguerite Weaver who'd worked at the Aunt Martha Studios. Wilene Smith had found a little more. But genealogy was tough back then, especially tracking women who changed their names, women like Eveline Alice Smith Foland Kline. (Smith as a maiden name didn't help us out either.)

I got into quilt patterns in the 1960s when
I was just out of college and found a package
of several hundred Kansas City Star clippings
at a thrift store. Louise and I spent many happy
afternoons trading and filing our patterns.

My favorites were those signed Eveline Foland
(pronounced Ev' uh leen)

I loved her lettering styles

And all the squiggles indicating a print.

Although I occasionally worried that she didn't actually 
know much about making quilts. That piece at the top left???

I decided I would make her "Memory Bouquet" sampler. So moderne!

Louise published her history "Kansas City Star Quilt Patterns" in Uncoverings 1985. Foland's first pattern appeared in March, 1929 alternating with Ruby Short McKim's designs. In the next couple of years she published 131 patterns, about twice as many as McKim. The Star published about 1,000 patterns between 1928 and 1961.

Eveline Alice Smith Foland was a professional artist who attended the Kansas City Art Institute in 1910. Louise found that she was a fashion illustrator for the Star as well as a pattern designer.

Louise traced her departure from quilt designing to December, 1932 when a defective Pilot's Wheel pattern was published without any pattern pieces. Apparently, no artist was on hand to proofread the feature. They reprinted the design a few weeks later with the templates but only half of Foland's signature.

Her last pattern was published in the Star on
December 31st (and in the sister paper The Weekly Star Farmer a week later.)
You still get the feeling she was a bit confused about piecework, what with that V-shaped pieced.

Where did she go?
Jane Hayes Gates Institute
1920 Independence Avenue

We figured out she continued to publish as a freelance fashion artist and took a position as a teacher at a girl's vocational school in Kansas City. The Jane Hayes Gates Institute, established in 1917 by Kansas City real-estate millionaire Lemuel Gates in memory of his wife, taught commercial art, home economics and other marketable skills until it merged with Manual High School in 1940. We also guessed Eveline was divorced from husband James E. Foland.

Marriage License August 18, 1944
Orange County, Florida
Thanks to FamilySearch.com

And at the Gates Institute she remained until recent on-line genealogy and newspaper sites opened new avenues. Jim Carroll and Bonnie Ingram wrote me that they both made good use of those files to find she remarried and became Eveline Alice Smith Foland Kline. Since then we can find a lot more about her. What would drive Louise crazy if she were here today is that when we were doing all that research on her in 1983 Eveline was still around to talk to, living in Florida and California. Eveline died in 1985 at the age of 92 although she was telling people she was 82 (did not go to the Art Institute at the age of 7).

A picture of Eveline in 1962 when she
lived in Apopka, Florida. I bet she hadn't changed much
from her days in Kansas City. She could
probably get away with shaving ten years off her age.

So here's some more of the paper trail (digital trail) for the Mystery Designer. The 1930 census found her living with James E. Foland, a salesman for "ventilating systems" and their 4-year old son James E (Elliott---note they indicated: "adopted son.")  

Parents' tombstone in Union Cemetery, Kansas City

She listed her birthplace as Missouri, said her parents were from "English Canada" and she admitted to having been born in 1893. Jim Carroll found her parents were Elliott Francis and Lily Louisa Whitelaw Smith. Her father died in 1933 when she lived in Kansas City and her mother in 1943.

She married James Evert Foland (b in 1884) on June 29, 1922, his second wife. 

Foland's first wife Anna Quinn Foland seems to have fallen for their Romanian boarder.

1920 Census, James Foland, wife Anna. her son by a previous marriage
and James Dubois, the lodger.

A small drama in two digital files.

Six months after James married Eveline, Anna married the lodger James H. DuBois.
We are not following that couple down life's highway.

Eveline moved to Chicago in the summer of 1936 where the 1940 census found her living in a boarding house with 14-year old son James Elliott. Divorced, Occupation: Commercial artist with "own business." Not easy during the depression. She may have been traveling between Kansas City and Chicago. During the 1930s she also belonged to the North Shore Art Guild.

Ex-husband James E. Foland was still in Kansas City, also
living in a boarding house at 1818 Main Street.

You get the feeling James did not survive the Great Depression and his post-Eveline life with much success. He died in 1951 at the age of 67.

Eveline's second act as a younger woman in a happier marriage in a warmer clime: The 1945 Florida census records her living with second husband Howard Lewis Kline and 14-year-old son Jimmy in Orange County, Florida. Howard was ten years younger (reason for her white lies?) He'd also been married before, with a divorce from Isabella Z. Kline the year before he married Eveline and had a daughter. He was from Pennsylvania.

The Klines lived at Lake Pleasant, Apopka, Florida, northwest of Orlando and lived the suburban life. Jimmy grew up and moved to Miami where he worked at Seaquarium.

A glimpse of Eveline getting a garden club show together.
Her specialty, miniature and dish gardens.

Howie and Eveline got their names in the paper for vacations, parties, garden club prizes, visits from grandchildren and strangely enough, a brush with rock and roll royalty as her sister's granddaughter Lynda Sperry married BeachBoy musician Al Jardine.

Eveline died on June 23, 1985, possibly in Alhambra, California. I have yet to find her grave. Howard Kline lived till 1988.

Of course I could go on. It's fun for me to find out so much about her and remember how Louise, Joyce Gross, Cuesta Benberry and I enjoyed gossiping and tracking the quilt designers and how frustrated we were with Eveline Smith. 

I can imagine why Eveline was so elusive after her move to Chicago. Her Kansas City life during the depression was probably something she wanted to forget.  She remained an artist with occasional references to Florida exhibits. And much as I love her quilt designs, I think it was a career that did not interest her that much. 

Read Louise O. Townsend's history of the Star patterns in Uncoverings at the Quilt Index:

My Memory Bouquet Quilt from Eveline's patterns.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Ubiquitous Chintzes: A Spanish Moss

Connie pointed out this chintz quilt for sale on Etsy,
advertised as from the 1830s.

There's certainly nothing in there that looks later than 1840
and some of those prints look 1820 or so.

The background caught my eye as I have a file
of quilts with the same print.

The floral print used in background and border
still shows its glaze. The figures are a floral like a rose or a ranunculus
with a mossy plant and a fancy machine ground of a crackle print or ice print.

I looked it up on Flowers on Chintz but didn't see it.

The way it hangs from the branches I think of Spanish moss
but I know I, as a floral illiterate, am wrong, wrong, wrong.
(Until corrected it's Spanish moss to me.)

From the Winterthur Museum collection.
They have at least two pieces and describe it as roller printed.

It's another one of those prints that seems to have been imported in large supply
in the 1820s and '30s. Several museums have quilts that look to be from the 1830s
with a good deal of the print.

Collection of the Hunterdon County (New Jersey) Museum. From the New Jersey
project & the Quilt Index.

From the James Collection at the International Quilt Museum

I don't know the source on this Goose Chase with the cut out corners.

Below a similar idea from Patricia Smith's collection at the Smithsonian.

And someone with the first name of Elizabeth included it in a chintz applique block, probably from the 1840s, in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

It's always surprising how common some imported fabrics were in American quilts of the 1820-1850 era. Small country, I guess.

Connie called my attention to the star quilt at the top of the page because it is quilted in a fan pattern. We've been looking at fan quilting on the QuiltHistorySouth Facebook page and hoping to find early dated quilts with that quilting style so typically 20th century. The star quilt is not date-inscribed but it certainly looks before 1850---of course it could have been quilted later.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Alice Brooks, Darn Her

Me and the people at Electric Quilt have been working on re-issuing my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns and the digital version BlockBase in new editions later this year so I've recently been adding patterns I missed in the first indexes.

I wrote a bit about the Laura Wheeler/Alice Brooks designs of the 1930s  in the Kansas City Star Quilts Sampler book that came out last year and I thought I'd seen them all.

Link to a preview:

Colonial contradiction so prevalent in the 1930s:
Inaccurate period dress, colonial kitchen green and modern patterns.

Merikay Waldvogel conducted a study center on an important newspaper pattern group for the AQSG meeting last October. She has been telling me I missed a lot of Alice Brooks/Laura Wheeler designs. I was aghast to find she is right.

Like the one in the lower center in her graphic for the study center.

I spent hours on that Friendship Chain and a post here:

The patterns I missed were mostly under the Alice Brooks byline.
Darn that Alice Brooks.

The problem is that patterns under the Alice Brooks byline were syndicated to fewer papers than the Laura Wheeler designs. I didn't see them in indexing nearby newspapers; I didn't find any in scrapbooks I came across; they were probably printed in fewer numbers and thus fewer survive.

I missed some Laura Wheeler designs like this one too.

Leota sent a scrappy version, telling me she couldn't find it in the Encyclopedia.
It will be in the next edition.

Setting Sun, Leota 

Alice Brooks was just one name used by a New York needlework syndicate from King Features known by many names:
Reader Mail
Needlecraft Service
Household Arts
Old Chelsea Station (this is what the pattern collectors of the 1960s & '70s called it because their office was across the street from this post office branch in Manhattan)

By Lines:
Alice Brooks
Laura Wheeler
Anne Adams
Carol Curtis
Marian Martin (more clothing than quilts)
Mary Cullen

Lily Album 1933

Merikay told me to subscribe to Newspapers.com to find more Brooks designs so I did and have spent too many leisure hours scrolling through papers looking at "Alice Brooks Quilt Pattern" hits. I have come up with many that were not indexed.

Fortune's Fancy 1933

Pine Cone 1934

Sally's Favorite 1933

It may have been Sally's Favorite, but I haven't ever seen a quilt in the pattern. Some of the Brooks patterns are a bit quirky.

Flower Wreath 1935

Friendship Rings, quirky though it may have been, was relatively popular. I've been looking for the source for all these wedding ring chain quilts for a while.

The block

Read more about the syndicate here at Wilene Smith's webpage: