Monday, August 27, 2012

A New England Applique? Fanny Lloyd Garrison

Here's a quilt from a historic home in New England, attributed to the year 1815, a date that seems quite likely given the fabrics and the style. The quilt or unquilted top looks worn and the picture from the files of Historic New England is fuzzy but we can tell a lot about the style. It's the combination contrasting cut-out chintz and conventional applique that is so typical of early 19th century quilts. It's a design full of contrasts--- the painterly chintz flowers in the vase contrasting with the folky simplicity of the striped calico vase; the pink birds cut from a toile looking down on the appliqued blackbirds perched on the inner border.

It's a  favorite of mine. I love the flock of birds of a different feather. I keep coming back to it because it's certainly an interesting quilt for New England in 1815 and perhaps the only cut-out chintz or Broderie Perse quilt in their picture files.

You can see the file in the Historic New England database here:

I'd like to know more about it. The catalog entry tell us it's cotton and linen and the copperplate print is red and white. It's 49-1/2" wide. It was donated to the house (which house they aren't saying) in 1950 by the accession number (1950.45). The quilt's date (which doesn't seem to be inscribed) is 1815 and the maker is "Garrison, Fanny Maria Lloyd, d. 1923."

Wait a minute--- if Fanny Garrison died in 1923 and made this quilt she'd have been way over 100. And wait another minute. Fanny Maria Lloyd Garrison---could she be related to William Lloyd Garrison---that pillar of abolitionist New England?

William Lloyd Garrison, 1833
By Nathaniel Jocelyn
National Portrait Gallery

A little web searching found that William Lloyd Garrison's mother was indeed Frances Maria Lloyd Garrison. Because she gave birth to a famous son---he was possibly the most vilified journalist in mid-19th-century America and a hero to many others---we can find out a lot about Fanny Garrison.

William Lloyd Garrison's newspaper The Liberator
was the voice of the abolitionist movement.

Her grandchildren (she never knew them) wrote a biography of William Lloyd and included information about Fanny with some of her letters. Those letters survive in several archives.

First of all she died in 1823---which makes a lot more sense than 1923.

Frances Maria Lloyd was born in the 1776 in Deer Island, New Brunswick (then Nova Scotia) into a seafaring family. Her father was an Irish immigrant. She married sailor Abijah Garrison on December 12 (family lore recalled the anniversary if not the year) about 1798.

The purported birthplace of Fanny's younger son
in Newburyport.

In 1805 Abijah, Fanny and children moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts, where Abijah hoped they'd be "less expos'd to the Ravages of war and stagnation of business," during the Napoleonic wars that so affected shipping. William Lloyd Garrison was born in December of that year, followed three years later by a sister Elizabeth. Abijah Garrison moved back to New Brunswick soon after but Fanny stayed in Newburyport. A single mother, 32 with two boys and a baby girl, she took up monthly nursing, caring for mothers and infants at birth and afterwards. This assistance at a "lying-in" required she live with her clients for a month or so and her own children were not welcome. Each Garrison went his or her way with another family.

During the War of 1812 she moved to Lynn, Massachusetts, home to tanning and shoe industries, where she became close to the family of Paul Newhall. Mary Mudge Newhall gave birth to nine children, so one can imagine that Fanny was in demand there. When the Newhalls moved to Baltimore in 1815 the pregnant Mary invited Fanny and her children along. The new shoe factory failed. The Newhalls did not stay long in Baltimore and neither did Fanny's son William Lloyd who was lonesome for Newburyport. At ten years old he returned alone and soon became a newspaperman's apprentice.

By Sanford Robinson Gifford
Fanny continued as a lying-in nurse in Baltimore---probably serving rather wealthy clients, among them Elizabeth Pickering Dorsey, who lived in Elk Ridge, a few miles from Baltimore. Elizabeth's father was Timothy Pickering, an important politician in the young United States, and a particular friend to Martha Custis Peter, whose quilt you'll see at the top of this post:

Rebecca White Pickering of Salem, Massachusetts
 by Gilbert Stuart,
 painted about the time her
daughter Elizabeth Dorsey died.

Elizabeth died in August, 1819  after an "illness of three weeks, commencing with bilious fever," a description that could include any kind of infection. Nursing was a dangerous profession and Fanny worried to her son about epidemics in the Southern climate. By the time Elizabeth died in 1819, Fanny herself was not well. Timothy Pickering asked Fanny's help caring for Elizabeth's 9-month-old baby. He complimented her nursing skills, writing that it was a "great satisfaction to know that, in all times of need, [my daughter] had so tender a nurse."

But Fanny was too sick to work. She lived in Baltimore as an invalid for several years, "on the charity of friends," she told William, with "all the sensations of mortified pride." She died in September, 1823, in her mid-forties, probably of tuberculosis. William, who spent little time with her, remembered her as a pious, pretty and brave woman.

Back to the quilt in the New England museum: I bet it's really not a New England quilt---Fanny lived in Baltimore from 1815 to 1823 and it seems very likely it was made in Maryland. It has a lot more in common with these Maryland quilts made about the same time:

This medallion by Mary Eby dated 1803 is the earliest quilt documented by the Maryland project. See it in their book A Maryland Album by Gloria Seaman Allen and Nancy Gibson Tuckhorn.

Baltimore quilt dated 1807 from Dr. Dunton's book.

See one in the collection of the D.A.R. Museum here:
Another from Dr. Dunton

See another post about Baltimore quilts


Many of Fanny Garrison's letters are in at Wichita State University. See a short biography here:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mosaic Patchwork

Hexagon patchwork
about 1830

Detail of a mosaic top by Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur,
collection of the James Monroe Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur's unfinished top is one of the few 19th-century Presidential family quilts that survive. She pieced hexagons over paper in the fashionable style of the early 1830s. She probably made this quilt at her home in New York City. She was married to Samuel Gouverneur who was postmaster of the city from 1828 to 1836 when this quilt top was likely made.
See more about the museum here:

The hexagon pattern was so popular at the time that it was published in at least two magazines under names Hexagon, Mosaic and Honeycomb patchwork. First published in 1831 in The American Girl's Book, the design and instructions were copied in 1835 in Godey's Lady's Book.

In 19th-century versions, the hexagons are pieced over paper templates, a technique Americans tend to call English paper piecing.

Hexagon quilt date-inscribed 1807 by Abigail Hunt,
Rhode Island Quilt Project
Although published in the 1830s, the pattern was popular earlier. Several surviving American  examples echo Abigail Hunt's dated version.

This  quilt date-inscribed 1808 by Phebe Windsor of Rhode Island shows similar dark and light patterning and chintz-scale border. It was exhibited at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts last year. Read more here:

Collection: Historic Huguenot Street,
New Paltz, New York.

Here a smaller quilt similar to the full-size quilts above with a label indicating a date  of 1824.
See details here:
And more pictures on Bonnie Hunter's blogpost

The design seems to have been almost as popular in the 1810-1840 period as it was again in the 1930-1950 period when people called it "Grandmother's Flower Garden."

Hexagons large and small in quilts large and small.

From the Museum of Florida History.

This one from Patricia Smith Melton 's collection in the Smithsonian includes diamonds among the hexagons.

The Smithsonian also owns this paper-pieced spread,
made in the West Indies.

The hexagons are longer and Chinoiserie
is a feature in the prints.

Unquilted, it has a note with it: “Lappendehen Mtn West Indies familie Huh Taunay” and, “Taunay family heirloom.”
Click here for more:

One could go in for complex designs

Collection: Missouri Historical Society
These mosaics might take years to finish. This one is probably mid-century rather than early.

The pattern was of course quite popular with English piecers, as in this table cover.

Here's one dated 1803 at last year's Winter Antiques Show in New York. I'd be inclined to guess it was English rather than American.

"Large hexagons, lots of chintz border" may be the way to go if one is reproducing this style in early reproduction fabrics.
Read more about paper piecing here

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Washington Society: The First First Family

Chintz Quilts Unfading Glory by
Lacy Folmar Bullard & Betty Jo Shiell, 1983.
Quilt descended in the family of Martha Custis (Patsy) Peter,
Martha Washington's granddaughter.
Collection of the Shelburne Museum.

If you have a good collection of books on early quilts you may have these featuring chintz cover quilts. On the left Chintz Quilts Unfading Glory and on the right First Flowerings: Early Virginia Quilts from the DAR Museum. The chintz quilts using the same fabric are both by members of the aristocratic Custis family of Virginia. The one at right, in the collection of the Museum of the  Daughters of the American Revolution, bears the initials of Catherine Custis whose husband was a distant cousin of Martha Dandridge's first husband, Patsy Peter's grandfather.
See a photo of the quilt with the triangles in the border here:

Several quilts survive from the extended family of  Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, the first President's wife. Martha never lived in the capitol city of Washington. When her husband was President the capitol was New York and then Philadelphia, but her home was the Mount Vernon plantation in Virginia.

The bed in which Martha Washington died.
Mid-20th-century postcard from Mt. Vernon.
Other objects, such as braided rugs, come and go as fashion dictates. 

Anything associated with the Washingtons has been revered and a whole mythology built around them. The foremost repository for objects associated with the family is the Washington home at Mount Vernon.

The first President's bedroom
from a postcard

The collection there, managed by the Ladies' Mount Vernon Association, includes several quilts. 

Quilt top attributed
 to Frances Washington Ball
about 55" x 55"
from the collection of the Ladies' Mount Vernon Association,
 pictured in First Flowerings.

The medallion top above has been in the collection for a long time. An 1899 Guide to Washington and Mount Vernon lists " A quilt and a piece of knitting... made by Washington's niece, Frances W. Ball" on display in the upper hall at Mount Vernon.

Quilt descending in the Dandridge Family,
from the collection of the Ladies' Mount Vernon Association,
pictured in First Flowerings.

The fringed quilt above was donated by a descendant of Martha's sister who implied Martha had made it but, as the curators who wrote First Flowerings note that quilt looks nothing like the others attributed to Martha

such as this top in the collection of the Smithsonian,
 begun by Martha and finished
 by Patsy Peter's sister Eliza Custis Law.

The Dandridge quilt looks much like other Virginia quilts of the late 18th/early 19th centuries, so it's  from Martha's time period (1731-1802).

The swag and bowknot border is similar to this early medallion by an unknown maker in the collection of the Shelburne Museum.

Jane Gatewood quilt
From the Quilt Index

This medallion dated 1795 by Jane Gatewood also has an appliqued swag border among the rather methodical ordered borders.  See the picture at the Quilt Index to see the swag border better.

Association with the Washington family has caused several early quilts to be carefully saved. Some of them have little tangible evidence they were actually from the family or the early period.

In the 1960s Woman's Day needlework editor Rose Wilder Lane wrote a book about the history of needlework, including several Washington-related quilts.

This feather applique with a fringed edge is from the collection of the Ladies's Mount Vernon Association. It became known as Washington's Plume. It's hard to date from the photo but all that conventional applique indicates it may be after 1830 or '40.

Washington's Plume
By Mary Schafer
Collection: Museum at Michigan State University

The Woman's Day pattern inspired Mary Schafer and a few other ambitious applique artists to make an interpretation.See Mary's quilt here:

The Washington Guest Quilt
About 1932

This 1930s medallion with an embroidered sailboat also has a relationship to Mount Vernon's quilts. In 1932 a writer for the farm newspaper The Oklahoma Farmer Stockman wrote a short article in the Good Cheer section of the paper for Washington's 200th Birthday

A photocopy of the pattern
February 15, 1932

"The Washington Guest Quilt"
"The last time that I was at Mt. Vernon, home of Martha and George Washington, I was so attracted by a quilt on the bed in one of the guest rooms that I sketched it for readers of Good Cheer. The center is a square of old-fashioned print showing a ship sailing. It measures about 15 inches each way. Around this is a border about two inches wide.... (she gave measurements for the borders.)We do not have a pattern for this quilt but anyone desiring to do so can easily make the quilt using the picture as a guide---L.C.P."

Her inspiration was likely this quilt attributed to Martha Washington, The Penn Treaty Quilt. Is that a ship behind the treaty signers in the Delaware River?

Her sketch looked very much like the pink version above

And here's another interpretation,
done in black and white,
 just like the illustration in the newspaper.
This unknown maker followed her own plan
 in the outer borders.

For other posts on the Washington/Custis family quilts click here:

 Read about a piece of Martha Washington's dress here

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Society Quilts, Shopping & Anna Maria Thornton

This chintz quilt came to the Museum at Michigan State University
with the story that it was made by Abigail Adams,
 although there is little evidence.
Read more here:

“Sat 26th Fine day – Mrs. Seaton sent us some fine pears in return for some figs – I went to see Mrs. Tayloe, Custis, Rush, - & Adams. Mrs. [Louisa Catherine] Adams showed me how to do the border of the Quilt....” (possibly in the 1840s) Dairy of Anna Maria Brodeau Thornton (1775?-1865)

In the 1840s everybody was making quilts including Washington's society ladies. We also have a few surviving early quilts from the upper class. Anna Maria Thornton's diary mentions quilting help from her neighbor Mrs. John Quincy Adams, but we have no record of any surviving quilts from any of the ladies Anna Maria mentioned above.

Maria Hester Monroe,
 daughter of President James Monroe is supposed to have stopped
adding to this hexagon mosaic in the early 1830s
when her father was dying. It's now in the
 collection of the James Monroe Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Anna Maria kept a diary from 1798 to 1865.  Published entries from 1800 give us a picture of life in brand new Washington City. She wrote of an unsuccessful shopping trip in the nation's capitol:

"—Went to a shop in New Jersey avenue, to look for some black Chintz.—A poor little Store—there are too few inhabitants for any business to be carried on extensively.—"

An optimistic view of Washington in 1800

Only the entries for 1800 have been published, although you might find the microfilms of the diaries in your library. It's a shame all her entries are not available in print or on line. One reason may be that official summaries of her papers at the Library of Congress tend to be dismissive:
"Wife of architect William Thornton. Diaries and notebooks primarily describing social life in Washington, D.C., with extensive detail about housekeeping and expense matters."

Anna Maria, watercolor by her husband

But her life and records reveal more than the surface. We view the Federal period and England's corresponding Regency era backwards through a Victorian lens, which often renders real life invisible. The story of Anna Maria and her mother is rather long, so to entertain you while you read it I've inserted some shopping tips--- new reproduction prints for period quilts.

Shopping: Kaye England has a 2012 botanical chintz
& coordinating stripe.

Nothing is quite what it seems, beginning with a mysterious birthdate and birthplace. The 1860 census lists Anna Maria's birthplace as "unknown", but she is presumed to have been born in England in 1775. Her mother showed up with a French name in Philadelphia in the 1770s, possibly with this infant in utero or in hand. The American Revolution was just beginning and the first few years of Madame Brodeau's residence were under British military occupation, an exellent place to reinvent oneself.

In late 1775 Robert Morris and Benjamin Franklin placed a public notice in the Pennyslvania Gazette: "Mrs. Brodeau, from England, Takes this Method of acquainting her Friends and the Public in general, that she has opened a Boarding School, in Walnut-street, near the Corner of Fourth-street, where young Ladies will be genteely boarded, and taught to read and speak the French and English Language, the Tambour, Embroidery, and every Kind of useful and ornamental Needle-Work..."

Shopping: Metropolitan Fair, my latest Moda
collection is Civil War era,
but these scribble prints, also called seaweed
 or coral prints were classic in the early 19th century too.

According to her daughter's obituary Madame brought letters of introduction "to the first people of that city from persons of the highest distinction in England, [Her school] was liberally patronized as she was a very accomplished woman, of elegant manners, and a perfect encyclopedia in all that pertained to English life and society." According to newspaperman Benjamin Perley Poore, Mrs. Brodeau "displayed great ability as a teacher." Betty Ring in her study of schoolgirl samplers noted the "well-established boarding school for girls kept by Ann Brodeau," who had 27 females living in her household on Laurell Court listed in the 1790 census.  That year George Washington considered sending his niece Harriott Washington to Mrs. Brodeau's but thought the terms, "(especially the Board) appear to be high. ...Mrs Brodeau was I understand once of Mr. Morris's family; this may occasion a prediliction in that quarter." Washington was making a little joke about Morris's wealth and inability to hold on to it.

Dr. William Thornton 1759-1828
Portrait by Gilbert Stuart 1804

On October 13, 1790 Dr. William Thornton, about 30 years old, married the younger Anna Brodeau, then fifteen. Thornton was also an emigrant, born in the West Indies of a Quaker family, with a medical education from Scotland and England. He did not care for doctoring and found his calling in architectural design, winning a competition to design the Philadelphia Library Company's new hall in 1789.

Thornton's first building The Philadelphia Library Company
 shows the classical look he was known for.

After their marriage the Thorntons spent two years in Tortola visiting his family. Like most well-to-do Barbadians, the Thornton's money was based on slavery and sugar, a Quaker contradiction. Thornton's sympathy lay with the slaves but his ideas for manumission and transportation back to Africa excited no interest in the West Indies. The couple returned to the United States in late 1792.

In 1793 George Washington accepted Thornton's design for the nation's new capitol building and the following year the Doctor moved to Washington taking Anna and her mother. Anna's diaries record her husband's architectural career, designing homes for the elite. Among his commissions: John Tayloe's Octagon House and Thomas and Martha Custis Peter's Tudor Place. Yet he never made a living from architecture, an economic need President Jefferson addressed by appointing him superintendent of the Patent Office in 1802.

Benjamin Latrobe's plan for the Capitol
superseded Thornton's design,
causing bad blood between them.
The dome, rotunda and two wings were
Thornton's ideas, however.

Anna Maria's diaries also record her unofficial work as the architect's assistant. She was his draftsman translating ideas into drawings and maps.

 "I was employed in altering & making circles on a map to shew the distances from the Capitol and President's House after one which Dr T— had done at the Office—In the evening I was netting on a Shawl. —Mr Middleton brought home a little table & Dr T's rulers.—"

 Anna Maria's painting of the Madison's Montpelier in Virginia

"I began to copy on a larger Scale the elevation & ground plan of the House.—Mr Middleton sent home a Ruler, Frames for the Window blinds—and a thread winder.—"

The Thorntons lively social life included friends and neighbors among the wealthy and the influential, entertained with flair in their home at 1331 F Street NW. The house next door was home to Dolley and James Madison and later John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams. Anna Maria's musical talents were in demand at the President's House and elsewhere. Diarist William Dunlap summarized their charms, " His company was a complete antidote to dullness....The Doctor draws very well but he writes abominably. His lady paints very prettily & is an accomplished woman." (Dunlap must have read the Doctor's unpublished romance novels.)

Shopping: Most of Jo Morton's repros are Civil-War era or
 later but these foulards with seaweed details
 are enough like early
 Indiennes to be quite useful.

The Doctor bred race horses on their Maryland farm and experimented with steam ships.  His reputation as a temperamental eccentric explains feuds with capitol co-designer Benjamin Henry Latrobe and fellow engineer Robert Fulton. He was also remembered as bad with money (no bar to social status at the time.) Despite Tortola plantation income and a federal salary he was always in debt with preferred investments in thoroughbreds, local race tracks and North Carolina gold mines.

Anna and William had no children and shared their home with Mrs. Brodeau and several slaves. In the 1800 census three are listed. Thornton's Quaker upbringing did not prohibit him from keeping slaves and spending the money from slavery's sugar plantations. But he remained interested in the slave's welfare, working for colonization societies that advocated relocation back to Africa.

After William Thornton died in 1828 at about 70 years of age, Anna Marie was shocked to find he had willed his house [legally not their house] to the American Colonization Society. (There is some diagreement as to whether this is true.) While she might live there until her death she could not sell it to pay his debts. During particularly difficult financial stretches she and her mother rented smaller quarters and leased the house or parts of it. At some point she sold it to Dr. Thomas Miller who permitted her to board there.

In 1865 the Sanitary Commission offices were at 1333 F St. NW.
The house to the right may be the Thorntons.

In summer 1835, Anna Maria, her 88-year-old mother, slaves Maria Bowen and 18-year-old John Arthur were among those living at the F Street house. One hot night a drunken Arthur broke into Anna Maria's bedroom with an ax. His mother stopped the attack. Arthur ran away but was soon captured. The assault was national news, exactly the kind of retribution every slave owner feared. A  civil disturbance targeted free blacks. Arthur Bowen, sentenced to hang, was spared by Anna Maria Thornton's pleas to President Andrew Jackson. Instead of being imprisoned he was sold in 1836.

News in the Salem Massachusetts Gazette, 1835

Ann Brodeau (?-1836)
"A perfect encyclopedia in all that
pertained to English life and society"

Shopping: Quilting Treasures has a chintz
with a fancy machine ground
& a coordinating panel print.

The elder Anna Brodeau died in 1836, leaving Anna Maria without family. She lived in Washington until her death at 90 after the Civil War. Virginia Miller who lived with her as a child wrote a memoir in 1914:

"I would say she was quite small, whether that was due to her being an old lady or not I do not know, but as I remember her she was very short. She always wore dainty white caps and the hair which showed in front was brown. She had beautiful big brown eyes, keen yet soft, wore a simple black dress with a little white shawl thrown round her shoulders. Her hearing, eyesight, mind and memory were good to the very last and she was always alive and interested in whatever concerned her friends and in the current news of the day... Many times I had heard Mrs. Thornton speak of her husband having invented the first steamboat and her grief over the little recognition his talents and services had ever obtained...."
Anna Maria died in August, 1865, remembered well enough that her obituary was reprinted nationwide, although she would not have been pleased and might very well have been surprised to read it. Beginning with the erroneous assertion that she died at 100, it goes on to say:
"A correspondent of the New York Express says: Mrs. Thornton was a daughter of the unfortunate Dr. William Dodd (a Chaplain of George the Third,) who was executed for forgery, in London, in 1777. His widow and daughter emigrated to Philadelphia soon after that sad event, under the feigned name of Brodeau...It is believed that Mrs Thornton never knew that she was the daughter of Dr. Dodd. Dr. Thornton was, however, aware of the fact, having, probably, been Informed of it by her mother before his marriage. He disclosed it some years afterward to Col. Bomford, with whom he was very Intimate, and through Col. Bomford it became known to other friends of the Thorntons."
What a blabbermouth! George Bomford (1780–1848) was indeed good friends with the Doctor. 
In 1865 Americans would have recalled England's Reverend Dodd and his hanging. His poetry books were sold into the 19th century. Described by a contemporary as "a voluminous writer, and possessed considerable abilities, with little judgment and much vanity," Dodd was badly in debt in the 1770s. Rather than ignoring red ink as the rest of Georgian London did, he forged a bond to pay off his creditors. The penalty was execution. Friend Samuel Johnson defended Dodd, taking his pleas of innocence as gospel with the famous line: "Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

One of Dodd's minor crimes was marriage to "the daughter of a servant woman, which was not considered a good match by his friends," according to a biography. Another says, "He hastily united himself on the 15th of April, 1751, with Miss Mary Perkins, daughter of one of the domestics of Sir John Dolben." Friends attributed Dodd's downfall to Mary Perkins Dodd's luxurious tastes but they remained married until his death. At his trial he pleaded for mercy not for himself but for his future widow.
"I have a wife, my Lords, who for 27 years has lived an unparalleled example of conjugal attachment and fidelity, and whose behaviour during this trying scene would draw tears of approbation, I am sure, from even the most inhuman." He made no mention of future orphans.

Was Ann Boudreau this same Mary Perkins Dodd? Unlikely, as contemporary biographies say that "Dodd was buried at Cowley, Middlesex. His widow lived in great misery at Ilford in Essex, and died on 24 July 1784."
Perhaps Anna Maria was, as they used to say, a natural daughter of William Dodd.

Shopping: French General's Chateau Rouge from Moda
has a bird print in madder-like reds and browns.

Gordon S. Brown has used Anna Maria's papers and her husband's to create a portrait of early Washington in Incidental Architect: William Thornton and the Cultural Life of Early Washignton D.C. 1794-1828. See a Google preview here:

Washington's historian Allen C. Clark used the same papers to write a biography of the couple in 1914. Read it here:

Read a biography of William Dodd here

Shopping: The elusive swag print
 from Blue Hill Fabrics. It's the perfect border.