Jun 5, 2012

Twelve Old Quilt Blocks

Last year I attended a small local quilt show and bought some wonderful old quilt blocks from one of the vendors. I love old quilts. I always wonder about who made them, where they were made, if they were made to celebrate a special occasion, who has slept under them, etc. I long to know the story behind the quilt. 

I have to admit that what drew me to these blocks was that all but three of them were paper pieced on newspapers. I stood in the vendor booth and perused some of the news articles and looked with amusement at the ads. I found dates in May, October and December, 1941 on various papers. Several papers had Atlanta Journal or Atlanta Constitution on them and other papers had ads for local businesses or articles about Atlanta area events. The blocks also have the names of the makers embroidered on the front. I knew I had to have this slice of history!!

I have now put my detective daughter, Melissa, on the case. She has a membership to Ancestry.com and is doing some research on our family and so I gave her the names of the women on these quilt blocks. She is trying to find out whatever she can about them. I would love to be able to locate one of these quilters (or one of their family members) and find out the story behind the blocks-why were they made, why were they never put together into a quilt, how these women knew each other? So many unanswered questions! So far, Melissa has found out some information on one of the ladies-Mrs JC Chapman-from the 1930 census. She discovered that her first name was Grace, she was 38 and had four children. Her husband, JC, was a mail carrier. They lived on Atlanta Street in Marietta, (Cobb County) GA. That would mean that in 1941, when she made her block, she was 49 years old. It's a start!
I have plans for these blocks-I want to find out what I can about each quilter, then frame each block with glass on both sides (so that the newspaper can be read on the back-it is half the charm of the block!) and then gift them to my quilt friends and include the history that I have been able to learn with each. I would never consider removing the newspaper and assembling the quilt, so I think this is a great way to preserve the blocks and share them with others who will appreciate them. I will also include a photo of all the blocks with each gift.

The advertisements were both educational and entertaining! I thought I would share a few with you.

To prolong the life of your stockings, a nightly "luxing" with Lux will help prevent runs and even makes your stockings fit better. 

New and improved Ovaltine-"a scientific food-concentrate", promoted good health if you drank a cup each night and morning.

Crisco-fried foods are "so digestible, even children can eat 'em!"

I learned in another ad that the Dionne quintuplets have their chests and throats rubbed with Musterole at the first sign of a cold. And since the quints have always had the best of care, you can be assured of using the best product when you are using Musterole. :)

In an ad for Lane Drug Store, Doan's Kidney Pills, Sal Hepatica, and Vitalis Hair Tonic were all on sale. At Big Star Supermarket, a dozen eggs were 43 cents, a #2 can of tomatoes  were a nickel and a 1-lb can of fruit cocktail was on sale for 10 cents. In a May, 1941, Sears advertisement, boy's sports shirts were 59 cents and drop curtains for your porch, just $1.35. Murder Over New York starring Charlie Chan and Girls of the Road, starring Ann Dvorak and Helen Mack were playing at local theaters. 


  1. I gasped when I read this--what a creative way to cherish and preserve history! I absolutely love reading about these women's lives, and your artistry with the quilt blocks is beautiful : )

  2. This project is so lovely, I had to tweet about it : )