Saturday, November 22, 2014

CCCQ Block 26 Elizabeth Cummins

Block 26 of the Chester Criswell Quilt.

The original block says
John Cummins
Elizabeth Cummins
West Philadelphia

The other block in the quilt associated with this one says

Ellen Cummins
West Philadelphia
Humphrey Hood
West Philadelphia

The Cummins family don't appear to be related to the Criswell family.  I have found John Cummins and Ellen Cummins in members' rolls of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.  You know the Methodist Episcopalians, they are the ones that make those fabulous missionary quilts.

Back to Philadelphia.  To research the Cummins I made the assumptions that Ellen Cummins was a school friend of Mary Criswell; John and Elizabeth were Ellen's parents; and Humphrey Hood was Ellen's fiance.

I searched online for references to Humphrey and Ellen Hood.  I couldn't find anything, Humphrey Hood appeared regularly but with the wrong wife.  I eventually searched for Ellen Cummins on her own and made a discovery.  In the 1860 census, eight years after the names on the quilt, Ellen Cummins was still single and was a member of the Dickey household in Chester County.  You may remember Rachel Dickey from Block 10 who moved from her brother's home to Philadelphia to gain her medical degree.  In 1860 Rachel was almost a doctor and Ellen appears to have taken over Rachel's duties in Dickey household.

Humphrey H Hood

What happened to Humphrey Hood who shared Ellen's block?  He became a doctor too and returned to his home state of Illinois with his sister as his housekeeper.  Humphrey served as a surgeon in the Civil War and later married, was widowed and married again.  His descendants are keen on genealogy and Humphrey Hood is easy to find online, but no one mentions Ellen Cummins from West Philadelphia.

If you have made Elizabeth Cummin's block we'd love to see it.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

A Red and White Fundraiser or Two

This is my red and white fundraising quilt.  These signatures quilt were popular in the second half of the 19th century. 

To get your name embroidered on the quilt each person would pay 10 cents and the finished quilt would be raffled to make further funds.  This type of quilt was used to support the temperance movement, the abolition of slavery and for both sides in the American Civil War.  Later on the Red Cross groups around the world would raise funds during World War I by making a quilt, and church groups would continue the practice between the wars.

I bought this quilt online.  It had no provenance, I bought it from a dealer in Pennsylvania but had no date and no location.  There are over 400 names on the quilt so I started putting a few into  I found that the common element for many names was the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Allentown, Western Pennsylvania.  I had the place, now I needed a date.  Using again I searched for the women on the quilt, checked whether their surname was a maiden name or married name, then looked for the date on their marriage certificate.  The names were put on the quilt between 1934 and 1937.

I take this quilt along when I am giving a presentation on signature quilts.  I was showing it to a group of Country Women's Association ladies a few months ago.  One woman said quite matter-of-factly, our museum had one just like it.

If we had been in the USA this comment would not have created any interest.  I am sure that most American historical museums have one or two or more quilts in their collection.  But historic quilts in Australia are scarce as hen's teeth and I had to find out more.  I interrupted my presentation to ask when the opening hours were for the museum and I paid a visit the following week.

Without a doubt, a red and white signature quilt.  The quilt was a 1918 fund raiser for the Stratford (Victoria) Methodist Church.  The quilt was covered by a plastic sheet which created some issues for my flash.  A number of women with differing levels of proficiency did the embroidery.

The quilt was found in 1999 in a shed in Seaspray, a little town about 40 kilometres from Stratford.  It was returned to the Stratford Historical Museum .... which happens to be in the old Methodist Church.  Happy Ending!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sampler Quilts

I was visiting Pinterest and typed in" friendship", "quilt" and "antique" (as you do).  Scrolling down the page I came across these two quilts, no information supplied.

Both quilts have similar blocks, for example the school house in the middle.  One of them I really like and the other ... well, it's just not what I look for in a sampler quilt.  I wonder if you feel the same.  Before you see my answer, look and them both and decide which one is your favourite.

 Now you can scroll down.

Quilt Number 1

Quilt Number 2

For me, Quilt Number 1 is the winner.  Quilt 2 is definitely made out of square blocks while in Quilt 1 the blocks appear to float, the edges aren't well defined because the light background fabric flows from one block to the next.

Quilt 1 looks a bit like my Ohio quilt I shared in July's post.

In fact, it looks a little like the CCCQ.

Hmm, I can see a theme here.

I was very pleased to see the new post on Barbara Brackman's Material Culture blog, it's all about sampler quilts too.  Her blog is always worth a look.