The First White House of the Confederacy
1861 Hatter Gunboat Quilt
In 1861, Southern women quickly began supporting Southern Independence using their sewing needles. Elaborate quilts were created and auctioned off to raise funds for medical supplies and gunboats.
In 1861, Mrs. Martha Jane Dickson Hatter of Greensboro, Alabama made this quilt for a local auction. It raised $1,000.00 for the Selma Hospital to acquire medical supplies. Also, in 1862 she completed the one hanging in the Upstairs Hall.
Originating from Wales, wholecloths were made by weaving intricate designed fabric strips that were sewed together to create coverlets. These early examples were made on a homemade loom from either cotton, flax, or wool.
Displayed on the Guest Bed is a white linen wholecloth that is older than Alabama. This rare example was completed prior to 1819 and has intricate woven raised stripes and a border of tassels and lattice work. It was woven on a narrow loom and the strips were sewed together to make this coverlet.
1860's Pieced Quilt Top
By the 1840's, printed fabrics became readily available and made quilt making less laborious. Spinning wheels and looms were replaced with sewing needles and store bought thread. Star motifs of various sizes and complexity were popular throughout the nineteenth century.
Displayed in the crib is a 1860's quilt top made by Mrs. Lela Tate Hood of Talladega, Alabama from commercial fabrics popular at that time. She created 196 four-inch 8 pointed stars evenly spaced on a white ground. It is a great snapshot of the fabrics that were popular and available at the local stores.
1860's Crochet Blanket
Since the late eighteenth century, crochet blankets have continued to remain popular. Commonly referred to as "Afghans", this term was used since the beginning due to their similarity in colors used in eighteenth century Afghan rugs. Many of these blankets were made from unraveled sweaters or pieces of leftover yarn.
Displayed on the rocking chair is a mid nineteenth century Afghan that was made in Montgomery.
Christening gowns, since the eighteenth century, were worn by infants that were baptized into the Christian faith. These small gowns were created after the latest women's fashions and were not gender specific. The mid nineteenth century Christening gowns, items in the display case and the quilted silk infants blanket were used by members of the Davis family. This photo shows a paisley border along the bottom of one of the Christening gowns.
New York Bedroom
1890's Crocheted Coverlet
The origins of crochet is still unknown but the popularity of this technique grew in 1828 when at the age of 18 Mile Riego de la Branchardiere published her first book about crochet. This was the first written record of Irish crochet techniques and designs. Until her death in 1887, Branchardiere published 72 books about crochet and tatting. Crochet would continue in popularity for another century after Branchardiere's death.
The 1890's crocheted coverlet that is displayed on Mrs. Davis' bed was made in Alabama. It is an example of a popular design consisting of crochet squares connected with openwork and a tassel border on all four sides.