On this day sometime in the early 1940’s, the tradition of “Devil’s Night” began in the Detroit, Michigan. Similar to “Mischief Night” practiced in other parts of the U.S. and the world, the night was marked by vandalism including arson, especially from 1970’s to the 1990’s. Community activists have attempted to tame the cultural phenomenon by renaming it “Angel’s Night” and organizing volunteer neighborhood patrols to keep the peace and prevent crime.
Jane Burch Cochran of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky made this 65” x 54” quilt, titled “Deviled and Angel,” in 2003. It is part of the Founders Collection at the National Quilt Museum.
Another Betty, Betty Hobbs, a housewife and seamstress from Perquimans County, North Carolina, made this “Texas Star with Nine Patch Corners” quilt in the early 1900’s for her granddaughter. Hobb’s hand quilting is recorded as 12 stitches per inch and the quilt is 73.25” square. Hobbs’ quilt was documented as part of the North Carolina Quilt Project in 1986.
On this day in 1886, U.S. President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. The 151 foot tall sculpture was a gift from the citizens of France to the American citizens in honor of the two countries allegiance during the American Revolutionary War (1775-83).
This quilt titled “Freedom to Dream” was made in 1985 by Marie Anita Wingate Murphy of Kountze, Texas. From this quilt record: “This original design was made by Anita Murphy as her entry for the Great American Quilt Contest Honoring the 100th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. The pictorial design depicts her idea of “The Freedom to Dream.” It contains an airplane as a reminder of the first time she saw the Statue of Liberty (she was an airline hostess and had earned travel miles for a trip to New York; the pilot tipped the plane just so Mrs. Murphy could see the Statue of Liberty). This quilt was reviewed and documented during the Texas Sesquicentennial Quilt Association’s Phase II of the Texas Quilt Search, 1986-1989. Karey Bresenhan served as quilt historian.
On this day in 1901, the New York City Subway opened with a 9.1 mile route. The subway route now spans 32 miles and carries 4.5 million passengers per day, running 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
This original quilt titled “Trackwork” was made by Vikki Berman Chenette in 1992 when she lived in New York City. The quilt was inspired by stories told by Chenette’s husband, a subway employee who worked on the complicated, intertwining system of underground tracks. The quilt includes a vintage subway token, which was given to Chenette by a fellow member of the Manhattan Quilter’s Guild. The Wyoming Quilt Project documented the quilt in 2002 (Chenette and her husband moved to Buffalo, WY in 1995).
On this day in 1989, San Francisco suffered the deadliest earthquake since 1906. The quake struck at 5:04 pm, lasted 15 seconds and registered a 7.1 on the Richter scale. The quake was witnessed on live television by fans watching the World Series baseball game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
This cheerful quilt titled “Bel peyizan lakay” was made by Haitian quiltmaker Denise Estava, whose partially constructed home was destroyed in the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Estava was one of the founders a cooperative called PeaceQuilts set up to raise money for relief assistance through the sale of quilts like this one. You can purchase quilts from this group at their website: http://www.haitipeacequilts.org. This quilt is part of the of the Michigan State University Museum Collection.
On this day in 1984, Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as a civil rights activist. The Nobel Committee cited his “role as a unifying leader figure in the campaign to resolve the problem of apartheid in South Africa.”
This quilt, titled “Mandela Long Walk to Freedom” was made by Melzina Mazibuko of Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in 2010. The quilt was documented for the South Africa Quilt History Project and is now in the Michigan State University Museum collection. From this Quilt Index record: “Signed on the bottom front by the artist : “Melzina M.” Memory cloth made by Melzina M. in South Africa. Small colorful wallhanging on black cotton ground. Embroidery and applique on the cloth depict a scene in the Robben Island Prison of Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Tutu and Tamba breaking rocks, doing manual labor. There are prison buildings in the background. The cloth is embellished with beads.”
On this day in 1895, the American novel The Red Badge of Courage written by 24-year-old Stephen Crane is published in book form. The Civil War tale from a soldier’s perspective first appeared as a syndicated newspaper series. Crane was the youngest of 14 children, born in 1871 and raised in New York and New Jersey. Crane self-published his first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Street, about a poor girl’s decline, based on a woman his lower-class New York neighborhood.
J. B. Roberson of Cleburne Texas made this Family Tree Quilt in 1893. From this Quilt Index record: “The December 20th date suggests that J. B. Roberson made this quilt for his wife as a Christmas gift. At the bottom of the quilt he credits his brother-in-law J.W. Mills, who held the bulk of the quilt for him while he guided it under the needle of the treadle sewing machine. One of the quilt maker’s sons remembers his father as selling and demonstrating sewing machines, among other jobs.”
The quilt was documented during the Texas Quilt Search Project and is included in the book Lone Stars: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, Vol. I, 1836-1936, by Karoline Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes (Austin: University of Texas Press,1986.) It was included in an exhibition by the same name at the Texas State Capitol Rotunda, in Austin, Texas April 19-21, 1986.
On this day in 1935, John Royce Mathis was born in Gilmer, Texas to Clem and Mildred Mathis. The family moved to San Francisco when Johnny was a young boy his father, recognizing his son’s musical potential, bought him a piano for $25 and traded odd jobs for voice lessons. Mathis excelled at sports too—competing as a star athlete in track and field and basketball in high school. Mathis’s recording career highlights includes an unprecedented 480 continuous weeks on the Billboard Top Albums Chart for his Greatest Hits record, released in 1958.
Donoene McKay of Gilmer, Texas machine pieced and hand quilted this Yellow Rose of Texas quilt in 1983, using more than 5,000 pieces to create the pictorial motif. This quilt was reviewed and documented during the Texas Sesquicentennial Quilt Association’s Phase II of the Texas Quilt Search, 1986-1989, and contributed to The Quilt Index by the Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
From this record:
Quiltmaker states: I always wanted to do something in mosaic and did not know how. Had always done my own needlepoint designs and realized one day that each stitch could be used as a square. I worked out a needlepoint rose from [the Jackson & Perkins] catalog–then painted it in oils, then marked a grid. The Olfa cutter was new and gave me trouble to learn to use, but what a godsend for cutting out 5000+ little squares. I sewed on 4 machines with different colors thread, having filed the presser feet to one eighth in width. I made a mock-up with muslin background and began again with the green background. Both quilts were finished in one year.”
On this day in 1988, Stacy Allison of Portland, Oregon, became the first American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on earth. Allison is now an author and motivational speaker.
Jan Magee of Denver, Colorado machine pieced and embroidered and machine and hand quilted this 22” x 29” wall piece, titled “Spears, Globes, Carpets, and Climbers” in 2004. From this Quilt Index record:
This quilt is one of 64 art quilts that make up the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum‘s Rooted in Tradition Collection, which is on traveling exhibit throughout the USA through 2008. Featured in the book “Rooted in Tradition: Art Quilts from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.” … Donated to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum by the maker, Jan Magee of Denver, CO.
On this day in 1953, Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, a photographer for the Washington Times-Herald, at St. Mary’s church in Newport, Rhode Island. Wedding guests numbered over 750 and another 3,000 onlookers waited outside the church. Kennedy was elected U.S. President seven years later, the youngest man to ever take this office.
This Kaleidoscope quilt top was made around 1919 in Newport, Rhode Island. The owner discovered the quilt and others in an old sea chest in his family home, and documented in the Rhode Island Quilt Documentation Project in 1992. From this record: “Owner is unsure of who made this and other quilts found with it, but believes it to be one of three women: Pamela Albro-owner’s great grandmother, Fanny Albro Barker-owner’s grandmother, or Rebecca Barker Dennis-owner’s aunt.”