Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Sanitary Commission

A replica of my Sanitary Commission Stamp

United States Sanitary Commission

 Shortly after the beginning of the War, the attack on Fort Sumter April, 12, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln signed the legislation for the United States Sanitary Commission. The purpose was to work for better field and hospital conditions for the soldiers. A call for quilts or comforts was issued in 1861. The size requested was “8 feet long, 4 feet wide”.

America’s ‘industrial war complex’ of the mid 19 the Century was primitive and unprepared for the rapid call up of fighting men. In especially short supply were articles of clothing and bedding.

Northern women staged Sanitary Fairs to raise funds for the cause. They also quickly formed numerous Soldiers’ Aid Societies to supply shirts, socks and bedding for the war effort. Most of these items were distributed through the Sanitary Commission. Frequently the back of these donated quilts was stamped....Sanitary Commission.

An estimated 250,00 quilts were turned in but there are only a few known survivors. 

This overall print is part of my A Solider's Quilt line from Washington Street Studio. Shipping early Nov '18

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The brown 'floral' in A Soldier's Quilt is the document color....but the scale has been shrunk and the 'floating' green leaf is an addition to eliminate blank space of a solid color.  See my Instagram (margo_krager) for comparison to the original in my antique fabric sample book.  Two other color variations will be available when goods arrive late October. See a red and a blue version at bottom of post. Margo


Browns were the most common coloration for quilts during the last half of the 19th century. It was an easy color to achieve with both natural and synthetic dyes and was fashionable for clothing. Sometimes the brown fabrics in the Civil War era quilts we see today were originally other fugitive shades that have turned brownish due to washing and light fading.

Various browns were popular home dyes and were often used for yarns that were woven into plaids.  Many of the Log Cabin quilts made in the years after the War have numerous browns prints and plaids.

It was not until the 1890s when a strong synthetic black textile dye was finally developed that you see a shift away from browns to the newly fashionable black prints

Historic background      Between 1820 and 1860, American society experienced major changes as it added industry and technology sectors to its traditional agriculture base. The economy was expanding but unstable. A period of business downturns (1837-1843) was followed by dramatic spurts of economic prosperity from the mid 1840s through the 1850s. In the early 1840s wood was still the main source of this country’s fuel. The discovery of vast coalfields in Pennsylvania
coupled with the high price of wood caused a shift to coal as a major source of power. Steam engines and heating stoves alike poured our fumes and soot that clouded the skies. Air pollution came from factories, refineries and private homes.