Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Pan-American Exposition Quilts


Of all the redwork motifs that were sold in the late 19th and early 20th century, my favorite have always been the designs that celebrated the Pan-American Exposition.

Held in 1901 in Buffalo NY, penny squares were sold at the event and later marketed in stores throughout the country.  

What I found so charming about the Pan-American Expo blocks were the architectural renderings of different buildings that were featured at the fair.

One of the funniest buildings was the "Upside Down House" the house was supported on the chimneys and was a "fun house" experience.

It is depicted in redwork on this blog.

I never really thought I would be able to own one of these beauties and years ago, I even bought the redwork patterns (now available at Amazon here if you're interested).  But then... I found this coverlet with many of the motifs on it:

It's a coverlet, with a pretty crocheted edging.  I think it was embroidered by children:

Usually all these quilts and coverlets include President McKinley.
He was shot and later died from the wounds.
After the assasination, the phrase "our martyred President" was added to this block.

Of course there was his successor:
President Roosevelt

Another historic block was the building that commemorated the Johnston Flood:

One aspect that I want to point out is the women's building at this fair.  Although a building was designated for women, it was quite different from other fairs.  The building did not exhibit any achievements of women but was a place where women could rest and socialize.  This is quite a contrast to other fairs.  At these fairs' women's inventions and other accomplishments were featured.  Examples include the 1876 Centennial in Philadelphia and the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.  The Columbian Expo even had a woman architect design the building.

Celebrating a world's fair with redwork appeared to be a popular trend for a short time.  In 1915, the Panama-Pacific Exposition was celebrated with redwork blocks.  I found this is a box of quilt patterns I got a local auction:

This transfer didn't require an iron but came with a wooden instrument that one used to rub the motif on to the fabric.

The Panama-Pacific Expo did not have a women's building either.  Instead,  the women worked side by side with the men.  Of note is that the first "Woman's Voters' Convention" was held at the fair.  Of course, women in California already had won suffrage in that state in 1911.  

Have a happy and safe day!

No comments:

Post a Comment