August 15, 2015

The Quaker Valley Quilt (Part 2)

Large portions of this post were first published in the American Quilt Study Group quarterly newsletter, Blanket Statements, in 2008.
 
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This week we continue last week's post about the The Quaker Valley Quilt given to Menallen Meeting in honor of William and Roseanna Wright.
 
The Quaker Valley Quilt, c. 1850, detail.  Collection of Menallen Meeting. 
Photograph  by John Herr.
 
There are many stories reflected in the inscriptions on The Quaker Valley Quilt, but one is especially riveting.  In particular, there is a block most likely inscribed with the name of former slave Mary Payne.
 
The Quaker Valley Quilt, detail of block inscribed "Mary Payne."  Collection
of Menallen Meeting.  Photograph by Mary Holton Robare.
 
Although there is no direct evidence to confirm that the "Mary Payne" whose identity was attached to the quilt's inscription was the former slave, there are two reasons we strongly suspect it.  First, a search for "Mary Payne/Pain" in the communities where the other inscribed Quaker identities were known to reside in the mid-nineteenth century does not produce other probable candidates among neighbors.  Second, Mary Payne (1840-1928) had an intensely intimate relationship to the people whose names are inscribed on The Quaker Valley Quilt.
 
Mary Payne (1840-1928).  Photograph courtesy of Sandra Kasabuske.
 
Mary Payne was born into slavery in Rappahannock County, Virginia.  Her granddaughter Mary Goins Gandy detailed her family's harrowing plight of manumission, kidnapping, court proceedings, and eventual return to freedom in the book Guide My Feet, Hold My Hand.
 
Gandy based her book on family history she heard from her grandmother, whom she knew until the age of fourteen.  She relied heavily on the research papers of Dr. Albert Cook Myers. His papers are known as "manuscript collection number 100" at the Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, Pennsylvania.  In addition to collecting documents related to the case, Dr. Myers also recorded the oral history of the Payne family ordeal during interviews with his own Adams County, Pennsylvania, relatives.
 
On February 25, 1843, Mary, her mother Kitty Payne, and her siblings were freed by Mary Maddox, the widow of their former owner.  Their Deed of Emancipation states:  "Know all men by the presents that I Mary Maddox of the County of Rappahannock and State of Virginia for divers [several] good causes have this day emancipated and forever set free and by these presents do emancipate and forever restore to perfect freedom free from control, claim or demand of any and all person or persons whatsoever the following slaves [. . .] Kitty aged twenty seven, Eliza Jane aged five years, Mary aged four years, Arthur aged two years and George aged two months."  According to Gandy's book, the family was personally escorted to Pennsylvania by Mary Maddox.
 
Rappahannock Co. VA Deed Book E p. 176, detail of the Manumission of Slavery showing
Mary, age four, and the rest of the Payne family group being restored "to perfect Freedom."
Courtesy of Debra McCauslin.
 
Following the widow's return to Virginia, her husband's nephew, Samuel Maddox, Jr., convinced the aging woman to deed her estate to him.  Deciding the freed slaves were his rightful property as part of his newly acquired estate, Maddox hired a professional slave catcher, a man known as Finnegan, to help him retrieve them.  Finnegan, "aided by a part of bad and reckless citizens from an adjoining county [. . .] in the dead of night approached the house where dwelt the unsuspecting victims, seized the mother and two children, gagged them, placed them in a covered wagon, and made their escape before measures could be used to arrest their progress." (Gandy.)
 
Early in the trip the carriage passed by a Quaker farm.  The witnesses quickly spread  the news of the kidnapping.  The Quaker community rallied to aid the Paynes, including Cyrus Griest.  The name of Griest's wife, Mary Ann Griest, is inscribed on The Quaker Valley Quilt.
 
The Quaker Valley Quilt.  Detail showing block at bottom, furthest right inscribed
"Mary Ann Griest."
 
The Griests are buried in a burial site listed on the National Parks Service's website as "National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom."  The burial site was approved for the recognition largely because of Cyrus Griest's role in the rescue of the Paynes.
 
We'll continue our posts about the The Quaker Valley Quilt next time.
 
Selected Sources:
 
The authors of this post would like to thank researchers Debra McCauslin and Judy Pyle for so generously sharing their significant research concerning the family of quilt block inscribed-identity Mary Payne, as well as the historical community of Menallen Meeting, Biglerville, Pennsylvania.  You can read more about this community in McCauslin's book, Yellow Hill: Reconstructing the Past Puzzle of the Lost Community at Yellow Hill (For the Cause Publications, 2007).
 
The authors are also grateful to Barclay Brooks, Clerk of Menallen Meeting, for access to The Quaker Valley Quilt and related research materials, and to Gaye Ingram for editing the original article.
 
Deed of Emancipation, Rappahannock Co. VA Deed Book E p. 176, sent via e-mail from Debra Sandoe McCauslin.
 
Randolph J. Harris and Kelly M. Britt, application preparers, in the "Application for the Inclusion of the Burial Ground at Menallen" as a Site recognized by the National Parks Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. 
 
Mary Goins Gandy.  Guide My Feet, Hold My Hand. Canton, MO: The Press-News-Journal, 1987.
 
Mary Holton Rolbare.  "As Truth May Direct: The Quaker Valley Quilt" in Blanket Statements, 92, edited by Gaye Ingram.  Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, 2008.
 
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.





August 1, 2015

The Quaker Valley Quilt (Part 1)

Large portions of this post were first published in the American Quilt Study Group quarterly newsletter, Blanket Statements, in 2008.
 
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We have studied dozens of historical quilts.  In addition to studying their designs, materials, and construction techniques, we use genealogical methods to learn about the people who made them.
 
When we first began doing genealogy, we wrote letters to town and county clerks and mailed them off with a check, sometimes waiting weeks for confirmation of a birth, marriage, or death date.  Standards of proof are the same today.  There is no substitute for hours of cross-referencing and substantiation, or visiting archives in person, but the availability of records online now makes it possible to research the stories behind quilts with less effort and much less time.
 
Bear in mind that, when investigating names associated with quilts, we cannot rush to ascertain true identities.  Like many other groups, the Quakers used the same names for generations and within families; it is easy to confuse one person for another.  Names and initials inscribed or stitched on quilt blocks are fantastic clues, but they need to be studied in context of oral traditions. as well as other inscribed names, dates, and locations within identifiable communities.
 
Remember to determine if you are looking at a maiden or married name, cross-reference names with dates, and scrupulously use the process of elimination when many individuals with the same name appear in records.  The process is time-consuming, but worthwhile as it allows us to discover stories of almost forgotten communities.
 
The Quaker Valley Quilt Given to Menallen Meeting in Honor of William and
Roseanna Wright.  Photograph by John Herr.  Collection of the Menallen Meeting,
Biglerville, Pennsylvania.
 
Such is the case with investigation into the identities inscribed on blocks of The Quaker Valley Quilt, c. 1850.  The quilt was given in 2007 to the Menallen Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in honor of William and Roseanna Wright whose nineteenth-century ancestors are represented in the quilt's inscriptions.
 
Detail, The Quaker Valley Quilt.  Photograph by Mary Holton Robare.
 
This friendship signature quilt has a natural-color backing, a twill tape binding, and is finely quilted in double rows and a variation of a single cable filled with single diagonal lines.  The blocks are constructed in a Sawtooth-like pattern.
 
Detail, The Quaker Valley Quilt.  Photograph by Mary Holton Robare.
 
The center of each quilt block except one is inscribed in ink with one or more names.  It appears as if just one or two inscribers wrote all of the names.
 
According to an unattributed, typed sheet of paper that contains a picture of the quilt, it measures 89 X 100 inches.  Referring to it as a "Patchwork Friendship Quilt in Lady of the Lake Pattern," the paper states that there are over 2700 pieces in the quilt top of 72 blocks, and that: "This quilt was made by the members of the Somerset, PA, Tent Protestant Church and given to the women of the Quaker Valley, PA, Amish Church on Friendship Day around 1850.  It was displayed annually on Friendship Day until the Civil War when it was taken home and kept safe by a member of the Amish community."
 
Because the quilt was found at an antique dealer's shop in New Market, Maryland, the written provenance (and the pattern name, "Lady of the Lake," which appears to be a name bestowed in the twenty-first century) may have remained the quilt's prevailing history had it not been for serendipitous timing.
 
Detail, The Quaker Valley Quilt.  Photograph by John Herr.
 
Remarkably, the quilt's purchase and donation coincided with research conducted by Debra Sandoe McCauslin for her book Yellow Hill: Reconstructing the Past Puzzle of the Lost Community at Yellow Hill (For the Cause Productions, 2007).  McCauslin was already familiar with the many "Wright" and Menallen Meeting members whose names were written on the quilt's blocks.  With help from researcher Judith Pyle, McCauslin located most of the inscribed identities in local Quaker records.
 
The 1850 residents of Adams County, Pennsylvania, were located quickly because of their appearance in documents related to Menallen Meeting.  By studying birth and death records, maiden versus married surnames, and community events in newspaper accounts and social histories, we determined that between 1847 and 1852 were the most probable years of the quilt's inscriptions.
 
Detail, The Quaker Valley Quilt.  Photograph by John Herr.
 
There are 73 signatures on the quilt.  The names of nine men are present, and three quilt blocks contain more than one name.  Some of the inscribed individuals were tracked through census records as having moved west in the mid-nineteenth century.  A search yielded definite connections, such as marriages and family ties, between members of Menallen Meeting and Quakers in Salem, Columbiana County, Ohio.  Other inscribed identities were found requesting membership transfers to, or residing in, Baltimore, Maryland; Putnam County, Illinois; Clayton County, Iowa, and Loudoun County, Virginia.
 
We will tell you about some particularly interesting signatories in our next post.
 
Selected Sources:
 
The authors of this post are grateful to Barclay Brooks, Clerk of Menallen Meeting, for access to The Quaker Valley Quilt and related research materials, and to Gaye Ingram for editing the original article.
 
ancestry.com census records
 
William Wade Hinshaw.  Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy.  Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, 1938-1950.
 
Mary Holton Robare.  "As Truth May Direct: The Quaker Valley Quilt" in Blanket Statements, 92, edited by Gaye Ingram.  Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, 2008.
 
Unattributed, typed paper, n.d., in "Papers of the Menallen Meeting," Biglerville, Pennsylvania.
 
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.
 







July 15, 2015

A Memento of Our Old Matron: The House of Industry Signature Quilt (Part 3)

This is the last part of an article published by Lynda and Mary in the American Quilt Study Group quarterly newsletter, Blanket Statements, in Spring 2014.

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"[. . .] Mayest thou when retiring from thy useful labours reflect with satisfaction on the time devoted to this useful Institution."  This part of the 1844 dedication on Ann's quilt has caused long-held speculation that the quilt blocks were made for Ann on the occasion of her retirement from the House of Industry.  However, census records in 1850 show Ann listed as "Matron" at the residence where she was living.  More importantly, the minutes of the Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor dated 3rd mo 10th 1883 reported that Ann had died on March 1, 1833, stating that she had entered the House of Industry in 1826 and served as its Matron for forty years, or until 1866.  The term "retiring", in this case, may have referred to the end of each day or to a time in the distant future.
 
Detail, The House of Industry Signature Quilt.  Photograph by Joseph Coscia, Jr.
Courtesy of the Arch Street Meeting House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
Detail, The House of Industry Signature Quilt.  Photograph by Joseph Coscia, Jr.
Courtesy of the Arch Street Meeting House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
We do not know what prompted members of the Society to make the blocks that comprise Ann's quilt.  We do know that Ann was held in high regard and with deep affection by Society members who served as managers at the House of Industry.  When Ann's deteriorating health prevented her from continuing her service as Matron, the Society "[. . .] assured her a home in the 'House' for the remainder of her days.  For years she was almost entirely blind, and did not attempt to leave the house or even go down stairs.  But her chamber, the door of which was rarely closed, was gladly visited by the members as opportunity offered.  And a grateful, cheerful welcome was sure to be received from her. [. . .] And when after one weeks [sic] illness the summons did arrive there was apparently nothing for her to do but calmly to fall asleep--trusting in her Savior.  And we fully believe that an abundant entrance has been given her into the Realms of Light-And that after Ninety two Years' probation she has now received the Masters [sic] Verdict of Well Done."  (Endnote 14)
 
Detail, The House of Industry Signature Quilt.  Photograph by Joseph Coscia, Jr.
Courtesy of the Arch Street Meeting House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
Detail, The House of Industry Signature Quilt.  Photograph by Joseph Coscia, Jr.
Courtesy of the Arch Street Meeting House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
Ann Burns' funeral was held at the House of Industry and she was buried at Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia.  (Endnote 15)  Her death might have ended the story of her quilt were it not for the following entry in the Society's "Minutes" of 3rd mo 24, 1883.  "We received a touching legacy from Ann Burns.  A handsome & elaborate calico bed  quilt which has been greatly treasured by her for many years, the patches having been made for her by - & marked with the names of many friends who were Managers of this Institution in Days lang syne. The quilting was performed by her & her coadjutor Susan Annadown.  It was Ann's particular desire that the quilt should always remain at the House of Industry - as a 'Memento of Our Old Matron'."
 
Detail, The House of Industry Signature Quilt.  Photograph by Joseph Coscia, Jr.
Courtesy of the Arch Street Meeting House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
The House of Industry Signature Quilt.  Photograph by Joseph Coscia, Jr.
Courtesy of the Arch Street Meeting House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
We wish to thank the following for their kind assistance: members of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, especially Lynn Calamia, Tricia and Joseph Coscia, Jr., Helen File, Nancy Gibbs, and Sandra Sudofsky; Carolyn Ducey, Curator of Collections at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska; and, Ann W. Upton, Special Collections Librarian & Quaker Bibliographer, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania.
 
Endnotes
 
The endnotes began with the initial post about this quilt on June 15, 2015 and continue in sequence
through our last post on July 1, 2015 and this posting.
 
(14)  "Minutes", 3rd mo 10th 1883.
 
(15)  Historical Society  of Philadelphia, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985, Reel 1070, accessed through www.ancestry.com.  Cemetery records show that Ann was buried on March 3, 1883 in an area that also contains the grave of her son, Jacob H. Burns.  Jacob predeceased her in 1880 at the age of 60 years. He would have been six years old when Ann became Matron of the House of Industry.
 
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.
 

 

 
 
 


July 1, 2015

A Memento of Our Old Matron: The House of Industry Signature Quilt (Part 2)

This post continues the article published by Lynda and Mary in the American Quilt Study Group quarterly newsletter, Blanket Statements, in Spring 2014.

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The House of Industry was established in 1798 by a group of Quaker women, most of whom appear in minutes of the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.  (Endnote 4)  They were initially inspired and led by Ann Parrish after a devastating yellow fever epidemic left scores of women and children destitute in Philadelphia and its environs.  Known first as the Friendly Circle, this group became known as The Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor when, in 1815, forty-six of their unmarried members incorporated the organization.  (Endnote 5)

Copy of the incorporation document enacted in 1815.  Collection of Lynda Salter Chenoweth.
 
The organization first provided paid employment to poor women by giving them the materials to spin flax and wool in their homes.  It soon became apparent that the poor conditions of these women, often living in tiny, unheated rooms with their children and other family members, were not conducive to productive work.  In 1798, the Society decided to provide a house to accommodate spinning in a warm and spacious environment. (Endnote 6)  With incorporation in 1815, the House of Industry expanded the women's work to sewing and they began to make shirts, chemises, wrappers, bed clothes, pillow cases, petticoats and other items including quilts and comfortables, "soft thick quilts, used as substitutes for blankets and laid under the bedspread."  (Endnote 7)  Two quilting frames were donated to the House by John Bacon in 1841, a year in which 212 comfortables and thirty-one bed quilts were completed. (Endnote 8)
 
Detail of the House of Industry Quilt.  Photograph by Joseph Coscia, Jr.
Courtesy of the Arch Street Meeting House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
 
The women's work was overseen by House managers appointed on a rotating, weekly basis from the membership of the Society.  They prepared the materials to be sewn, monitored the quality of the work, and provided weekly production reports.  (Endnote 9)  In addition to the volunteer managers, the House employed cooks, an elderly "Nurse" to watch over the children of those hired to sew, and a house Matron.  Ann Oliver Burns, born in England about 1791, became the first Matron of the House of Industry in 1826. (Endnote 10)  The widow of Jacob Burns, Ann was not a Quaker but rather a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  She received room and board as Matron and, in 1842 and 1844, earned an annual salary of $80.00 (the equivalent of $2,500 in 2013 dollars).  (Endnote 11)
 
Herr's article indicates that all of the blocks in Ann's quilt (seventy-six) display names of members of the Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor.  (Endnote 12)  Fifty-five of the names are those of Society managers actively serving at the House of Industry during the years 1840-1845, roughly the period of time when Ann's quilt blocks were being made.  The name of S. [Sarah] Wistar, an additional manager, is inscribed as Ann's "sincere friend" on the quilt's dedicatory panel.  Sarah herself was the recipient of a "Wistar Family Quilt" in 1842 dedicated to her by her nephews.  A block bearing the name of Ann Oliver Burns appears in this quilt, along with blocks bearing the names of other House of Industry friends.  Sarah's quilt is a holding of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Endnote 13)
 
 
Wistar Family Quilt.  Detail of block inscribed with the name "Ann Oliver Burns" 1842."  Photograph
courtesy of Carolyn Ducey and the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska.
 
To be continued.
 
Endnotes:
 
The endnotes began in our prior post dated June 15, 2015,  They are continued here.
 
(4)  William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Volume II (Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, 1938), various.
 
(5)  Margaret Hope Bacon, Mothers of Feminism, The Story of Quaker Women in America (Philadelphia: Friends General Conference, 1986), 80 and The Constitution, By-Laws and Rules of the Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor, Incorporated First Month, 1815 (Philadelphia: printed by James M. Armstrong, Inc., undated).  Preamble.  Note: The successor to this organization is the current Female Society of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting which still performs many charitable acts.
 
(6)  "Notebook of Catherine W. [Wistar] Morris, 1802", Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections, HC.Coll 1234, 1 volume, Z.2.22.  Note:  The "headquarters" of the Friendly Society was the home of Ann Parrish on Ramstead Street.  The House of Industry, according to Elizabeth W. Comfort, "The Female Society - Now and Then" in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting News (Volume XV, No. 5, August 1977), had various locations over time.  Society "Minutes" (cited below) refer to a location in Ramstead Court before it was moved to 70 North 7th Street in 1846.  The House was located at 112 North 7th Street at the time of Ann Burns' death in 1883, as attested by her home address on burial records.
 
(7)  Eliza Leslie, Miss Leslie's Lady's House-Book (Philadelphia: E.L. Carey and A. Hart, 1840), 313.  Thanks to Virginia Vis for this reference.
 
(8)  Sandra Sudofsky, "Research Notes", undated, "Minutes of the Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor", 3rd mo 29th 1841, Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections, The Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor Minutes, 1795-1978, 20 volumes, HC.Coll 1234, Z.1.1 - Z.1.10 and "Weekly House of Industry Reports, 1840-1845", Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections, House of Industry Weekly Reports 1830-1846, 8 volumes, HC.Coll. 1234, Z.2.7.  The Minutes and House of Industry Weekly Reports are hand-written and arranged according to date (inscribed in the Quaker style) without pagination.
 
(9)  The Minutes of the Society for the years 1840-1844 indicate that women were employed at the House of Industry only during the winter when the weather was cold and productivity would be increased by providing a spacious and warm environment for the sewing activity.  The Society usually opened the House in December and closed it by early April.
 
(10) "Minutes", 3rd mo 10th 1883, 1850 census records, and Historical Society of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, 1708-1985, Reel 943, accessed through www.ancestrly.com.
 
11)  "Minutes", Treasurer's Reports for years ending 11 mo 30th 1842 and 11 mo 30th 1844.
 
(12)  Herr, "Quaker Quilts and Their Makers", 13.
 
(13)  For more about the Wistar Family Quilt, IQSC2005.059.0001, search the International Quilt Study Center & Museum's online collections and refer to Carolyn Ducey and Jonathan Gregory, What's in a Name?, Inscribed Quilts (Lincoln, NE: International Quilt Study Center  & Museum, 2012), 11-13.
 
(c)  Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.
 

 


June 15, 2015

A Memento of Our Old Matron: The House of Industry Signature Quilt (Part 1)

The Spring 2014 issue of Blanket Statements,  published by the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG), features an article we wrote about The House of Industry Signature Quilt that belongs to the Arch Street Meeting House of the Religious Society of Friends in Philadelphia.  The House of Industry Signature Quilt is a magnificent example of a mid-nineteenth century Quaker friendship quilt which we would like to share with those of you who might not have seen our article in Blanket Statements.

We are excited about sharing several photographs that we were not able to include in the article due to space limitations.  Joseph Coscia, Jr., who is a photographer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, photographed the quilt.  Special permission was granted by the Arch Street Meeting to use Coscia's wonderful photographs on this blog.  (All Rights Reserved.  Please note that, due to file-size limitations, the photos are low-resolution versions.)  These photographs will be presented as additions to the text of our original article, which will be divided into three parts, starting with today's.

We wish to thank the following for their kind assistance in developing the original article:  members of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, especially Lynn Calamia, Tricia and Joseph Coscia, Jr., Helen File, Nancy Gibbs, and Sandra Sudofsky; Carolyn Ducey, Curator of Collections at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska; and, Ann W. Upton, Special Collections Librarian & Quaker Bibliographer, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania.

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The House of Industry Signature Quilt.  Photograph by Joseph Coscia, Jr. Courtesy of the Arch
Street Meeting House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
An album quilt dedicated to Ann Burns is displayed at the Religious Society of Friends' Meeting House at Fourth and Arch Streets in Philadelphia. (Endnote 1)  Referred to variously as the "House of Industry Signature Quilt," a "Quaker Quilt," and the "Ann Burns Quilt", it was presented to the Meeting House in 1977 by the Female Society of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.  This Society was known, in the nineteenth century, as the Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor.
 
Patricia T. Herr wrote an article in 1988 about Quaker quilts that included "Ann Burns' quilt." (Endnote 2) The information she provided about the quilt focused on the founding and operations of the House of Industry and on identifying references to House quilting activity that spanned 130 years.  This paper provides a reexamination of the quilt with a closer look at the life of Ann Oliver Burns and the quilt itself.  Our research coincided, serendipitously, with the aid and availability of new, professional photographs of the quilt and its blocks.
 
The House of Industry Signature Quilt measures approximately 108 X 108 inches.  It is comprised of seventy-six blocks measuring 8 1/2 X 8 1/2 inches arranged around a central chintz panel with appliqued corner motifs.  The panel and blocks are separated by 2 1/2 inch sashing that displays two color-ways of the same design in alternating rows of blue and brown.
 
 
Detail of The House of Industry Signature Quilt showing the blue and
brown sashing.  Photograph by Joseph Coscia, Jr.  Courtesy of the Arch
Street Meeting House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
The blocks include nine appliqued floral chintz blocks, eight of which surround the central chintz panel.  The rest of the blocks are pieced.  Thirty-five of the pieced blocks are varieties of "Square Within a Square" patterns with the inner square set en pointe.  The predominantly brown, blue, red, and multi-colored cotton fabrics are of the highest quality, as are the appliqued chintzes. 
 
The quilt is displayed in a glass cabinet so the backing is not visible.  Clearly visible, however, is a wide, floral -printed cotton border on two sides.  The entire quilt is quilted in curved lines and is finished with a knife-edge.  All of the blocks contain names inscribed in ink.  Some of the blocks also display locales, drawings, and the dates 1843, 1844, or 1847.
 
The House of Industry Signature Quilt.  Detail of central chintz panel.  Photograph by Joseph Coscia, Jr.
Courtesy of the Arch Street Meeting House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
The quilt's central, chintz panel displays two exotic birds perched on floral branches and surrounded by a wreath of wheat, ribbon, and flowers.  (Merikay Waldvogel has identified an identical chintz panel as one that may have been manufactured in the United States during the period 1830-1845.)  (Endnote 3)  The quilt's lengthy dedication to Ann Burns is inscribed within the wreath in two parts, above and below the birds.  Above:  "We whose names are recorded here have passed many pleasant hours, may we humbly look forward with an eye of faith, to the reunion of those blessed abodes where praise and thanksgiving are the sweet strains of the Redeemed of the Lord."  Below:  "Ann Burns will please accept this Block, as a small token of regard, from her sincere friend S. Wistar, who is sensible of her valuable services bestow'd at the House of Industry.  May the sweet reward of peace be abundantly shed abroad in her heart.  The approbation of a clear conscience is more desirable than gold, that perisheth.  Mayest thou when retiring from thy useful labours reflect with satisfaction on the time devoted to this useful Institution.  4th mo 20th 1844."
 
To be continued.
 
Endnotes
 
(1) The Arch Street Meeting House is a National Historic Landmark, open to the public.  For hours and information see www.pym.org/arch-street-meeting-house/.
 
(2) Patricia T. Herr,"  Quaker Quilts and Their Makers," in Jeannette Lasansky, Pieced by Mother, Symposium Papers (Lewisburg, PA: The Oral Traditions Project of the Union County Historical Society, 1988), 13.
 
(3) Merikay Waldvogel, "Printed Panels for Chintz Quilts: Their Origin and Use," in Uncoverings 2013, Volume 34 of the Research Papers of the American Quilt Study Group, 120, and Panel 11, 124.
 
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.




June 1, 2015

Two Lesser Known Rebecca Scattergood Savery Quilts - Part 2

This post concerns the second Rebecca Scattergood Savery quilt belonging to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum (IQSCM) in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Like the quilt featured in our last post, it is part of the Ardis and Robert James Collection.

The Scattergood Family Quilt, a medallion signature quilt made by Rebecca Scattergood
Savery (Object No. 2006.003.0006).  Photograph courtesy of the IQSCM, Lincoln, Nebraska.
 
The quilt measures 105 inches by 115 inches, displays a Sunburst medallion, and is comprised of cotton calicos.  Names are inscribed on the quilt in ink, both by hand and by stamp.  The quilt is dated circa 1845.
 
This quilt has been named the Scattergood Family Quilt to distinguish it from the Scattergood-Savery Quilt we shared with you last time.  Nonetheless, the quilt displays the names of thirteen Scattergood and sixteen Savery family members, the Scattergood names all placed on the hexagons that form the centers of the stars.  Other names are placed in the blocks themselves, including those of members of the Betts and Cadwallader families.
 
Both of the Savery quilts at the IQSCM exhibit some British block-style influences that became prevalent in northeastern American patchwork quilts and coverlets in the early 1820s through 1840s.  The work done by Janice E. Frisch, referenced below, identified some common features these American quilts shared with British quilts of the early nineteenth century.
 
"These features include alternating pieced and unpieced blocks and a tendency to arrange the blocks in an on-point setting rather than a straight setting.  Additionally while the pieced blocks were scrappy, the majority of the unpieced blocks in these quilts are made of the same fabric.  [. . .]  The pieced blocks found in these quilts are also usually all made in just one block pattern.  The most common block designs include nine-patches, four-patches, modified nine-patches  with large center squares, pinwheels, eight-pointed stars made from diamonds and eight-pointed stars with a nine-patch base.  In other words, they use the block elements most commonly found in British quilts from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  These early block style pieces generally have only one or no borders and do not utilize sashing between the blocks." (Frisch, 61.)
 
The Scattergood Family Quilt exhibits some, but not all, of the influences mentioned above.  With the exception of the center medallion comprised of diamond shapes on a zigzag base, all of the blocks are of the same star pattern using a variety of fabrics ("scrappy"), alternating mainly with blocks of a single fabric. (The blocks along the top row and in the corners of the bottom row utilize some different fabrics to complete the rows).  The blocks are straight set, rather than set en pointe, and are not separated by sashing. The quilt has only one border.
 
The Scattergood-Savery Quilt (Object No. 1997.007.0118).  Photograph courtesy of
the IQSCM, Lincoln, Nebraska.
 
The Scattergood-Savery Quilt we shared last post has the blocks set en-pointe but they do not alternate with blocks of a single fabric and, instead, are surrounded by sashing.  All of the blocks are of the same pattern comprised of a variety of fabrics.  The quilt has only one border and a single fabric was used along the edges of the quilt to "frame" the central blocks.  Both quilts feature six-pointed (rather than eight-pointed) stars made from modified diamonds.
 
Each of these quilts exhibits some, but not all, of the British influences described by Frisch.  In fact, each quilt exhibits some British features that are not represented on the other.  Perhaps, with the passage of time and the continuous contact many immigrants, including Quakers, had with friends and relatives in Britain, the British block-style began to evolve in both Britain and America into less rigid styles.
 
One thing the two quilts share is a precision of piecing achieved by the use of the British "mosaic patchwork" technique, also referred to as the British Method of piecing and paper piecing.  In the nineteenth century, this technique used paper templates cut from old newspapers, books, letters, and broadsides over which the fabric was folded and then basted to form a desired shape.  The shapes were then connected along their folded edges by using a whip-stitch  and the paper templates was usually, but not always, removed.
 
Example of whip-stitch piecing from a nineteenth century quilt top owned by
Lynda Salter Chenoweth.



This technique was used for piecing square, triangular, and diamond shapes but is best known as the technique used to piece hexagons in the past and the present.  Both of the Savery quilts contain hexagons (as the centers of the stars) and modified diamond shapes (for the points of the stars).  The Scattergood Family Quilt uses full diamond shapes to form the medallion Sunburst pattern.

Example of a hexagon fashioned using the mosaic patchwork technique.  The paper template
has not been removed, and the basting is still intact.  Detail of a hexagon quilt top, Ardis and Robert
James Collection, at the IQSCM (Object No. 1997.007.0341).  Photograph courtesy of the IQSCM,
Lincoln, Nebraska.
 
The Savery Quilts at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum are significant examples of the early American quilts made by descendants of relatives who migrated to America from England at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries.  They combine traditional British influences in layout and construction with overall design that reflects the creativity of their talented maker - Rebecca Scattergood Savery.
 
Sources:
 
Frisch, Janice E.  "British Influences on the American Block-Style Quilt" in Quilt Studies, The Journal of the British Quilt Study Group, Issue 15, 2014.
 
Long, Bridget.  Elegant Geometry, American and British Mosaic Patchwork.  Lincoln, NE: The International Quilt Study Center and Museum, 2011.
 
Rae, Janet.  The Quilts of the British Isles.  London: Deirdre McDonald Books, 1987.
 
Related research notes provided by the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska.  Our thanks to Carolyn Ducey, Curator of Collections, for sharing this material.
 
 
(c)  Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.
 

May 16, 2015

Two Lesser-Known Rebecca Scattergood Savery Quilts - Part 1

Those of you familiar with the name Rebecca Scattergood Savery (1770-1855) most likely associate her with the three spectacular Sunburst quilts she made, perhaps based on kaleidoscope images, and each containing thousands of diamond-shaped pieces.  These quilts currently reside at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, and the Winterthur Museum, Gardens & Library in Winterthur, Delaware.  (Go to http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/70225.html?mulR=525302661|1 to see her Sunburst quilt at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.)

Less well known are two of her quilts - both inscribed friendship quilts - at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Another similar quilt, owned by the Museum of American Folk Art and dated 1844, has been attributed to Elizabeth Hooten (Cresson) Savery because the name "E.H. Savery" appears on its center block.  It is possible that Rebecca and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth, who married Rebecca's oldest son William, both participated in its creation.  (Refer to our post of March 1, 2014 for a photograph and description of the inscribed friendship quilt at the Museum of American Folk Art.  One of the ink drawings on this quilt depicts Penn's Treaty based on Benjamin West's painting titled "Penn's Treaty with the Indians.")

Today's post deals with the first of the two quilts belonging to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.  This quilt, part of the Ardis and Robert James Collection, is also dated 1844.  It measures 118.5 inches by 114 inches and is comprised of eighty-five six-pointed, mosaic patchwork, star blocks set en pointe.  The hexagons at the centers of the star blocks are inscribed with names in ink and also contain several ink illustrations.

Star Signature Quilt made by Rebecca Scattergood Savery (IQSC 1997.007.0118).
Photograph courtesy of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska.


The center block of this quilt contains the name Cyrus Cadwallader (1763-1848).  He was eighty-one years old in 1844 and the oldest person named on the quilt.  He was also a prominent citizen who served as a state Senator for Pennsylvania from 1816-1825.  The names of six other members of his family are also inscribed on this quilt which may or may not have been made as a tribute to him.

Eight of the quilt's star blocks display the inscription "Rebecca Savery/Aged 74".  The names of another fourteen Savery family members appear on the quilt along with the names of fifteen Scattergood and ten Cope family members.  Several Scattergoods married Cadwalladers, Saverys, and Copes so the quilt is not only a friendship quilt but also documents a network of families who were members of the community of Religious Society of Friends that existed in the Delaware Valley area in Philadelphia and, by extension, to the east of Philadelphia across the Delaware River into New Jersey.

Quilt maker Rebecca Scattergood Savery was from an early Quaker family who migrated from England and settled in Burlington County, New Jersey in the late 1600s.  She was born in Philadelphia on July 29, 1770 to John Scattergood (1742-1776) and his wife, Elizabeth Head (1749-1836).  On November 14, 1791, Rebecca married Thomas Savery (1751-1819), the son of William Savery (1721 or 22- 1789) who would become one of Philadelphia's most renowned cabinet and chair makers.  Thomas was a carpenter as well, following in his father's trade as furniture maker.  Rebecca and Thomas had five children between 1798 and 1810:  William (1798-1858); Mary (1800-1869); Thomas (1802-1860); Elizabeth (1806-1860); and, Sarah (1810-1832).  The earliest quilt attributed to Rebecca is dated 1827, seventeen years after the birth of her last child.
 
William Savery chairs on display in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Source of image:  Wikimedia Commons.
 
The article by Mimi Sherman cited below comments on the British fabrics used in Rebecca Scattergood Savery quilts and the influence of British quilt making techniques represented by Rebecca's Sunburst and star signature quilts.  During the late 1600s through the mid-1800s, Delaware Valley Quakers from England maintained close ties with the London Yearly Meeting and engaged in seafaring trade that facilitated the import of British fabrics and the use of the English mosaic patchwork techniques so expertly used in Rebecca's quilts.
 
Detail of quilt IQSC 1997.007.0118.  Elizabeth Savery block with ink
depiction of a bee hive and her name inscribed on a ribbon that crosses it. 
 Photograph courtesy of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.
 
Several members of Rebecca's family, including her grandfather Joseph Scattergood (1713-1754) and, by marriage, Thomas Pym Cope (1768-1854) and his sons, established commercial seafaring businesses moving people, products and, in the case of the Cope Packet Line, mail between the east coast of America to England and back.  In particular, the crossing frequency of the Cope Packet Line, with three packet ships in transit at all times, provided ample opportunity for Rebecca and other family members to obtain British fabrics for their clothing and quilt making activities.
 
The tombstone of Joseph Scattergood, Rebecca Scattergood Savery's grandfather,
in the Friends Burying Grounds, Burlington Monthly Meeting, Burlington, New Jersey.
Source of image: www.findagrave.com.  Joseph's wife, Rebecca Watson Scattergood,
erected this stone which reads:  "On the 30th day of July 1754 died Joseph Scattergood, Esq. aged
40 years, And the next day was interred here, He was a Husband Loving & Beloved, A Tender parent
 A Kind Relative, A Sincere & Faithful Friend a Good Master, an Honest Man.  This Stone is placed
over his Grave by his Mournfull [sic] Widow as a Tribute Justly due to his Memory."
 
The topic of our next post will be the second Rebecca Scattergood Savery signature quilt at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, and the British-style mosaic patchwork technique used in its construction.
 
Sources:
 
Ancestry.com census, death, Public Family Tree, and Quaker meeting records accessed 5/10/2015.
 
Long, Bridget.  Elegant Geometry: American and British Mosaic Patchwork.  Lincoln, NE: International Quilt Study Center and Museum, 2011.
 
Priddy, Sumpter.  "American Fancy: Exuberance in the Arts, 1790-1840" an article for the Decorative Arts Trust at http://www.decorativeartstrust.org/american-fancy.shtml.
 
Related research notes provided by the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska.  Our thanks to Carolyn Ducey, Curator of Collections, for sharing this material.
 
Sherman, Mimi.  "A Fabric of One Family: A Saga of Discovery" in The Clarion (Spring 1989, Vol. 14, No. 2), pp. 55-62.  New York: The Museum of American Folk Art.
 
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.