Saturday, November 24, 2012

13. Everybody's Favorite: Universal Suffrage

Everybody's Favorite by Becky Brown

This block with an X in the center is a variation of one published in Hearth and Home magazine in the early 20th century. Everybody's Favorite is a good block to represent universal suffrage, the idea that in a democracy all adults have a right to vote and hold office.

Most of us reading this blog take ideas of democracy and equality for granted, but philosophies evolved as nations experimented in extending voting rights, ideas that continue to evolve. Most recently in the United States we have lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

When considering history one must remember that people were bigoted, class-conscious, racist and sexist, and inclined to ethnic stereotyping as in this cartoon.

Cartoon in Puck by C.J. Taylor, 1889
The melting pot is full of ethnic stereotypes
with the Irish here ridiculed as impossible to assimilate.

Those we view as victims of these beliefs usually accepted their place in the great hierarchal scheme. Voting was based on race, class, age, gender and ethnicity with transients, native peoples, foreigners, servants, paupers, criminals and mental incompetents outside the eligibility requirements. (Some ineligibles remain ineligible.)

As concepts of democracy developed, voting was one more privilege (not a right) for the upper classes, particularly in the requirement that voters own property. Religious limitations were also considered fair. In the United Kingdom Catholics and Protestants such as Methodists and Presbyterians were denied the right to vote until 1793 and the right to be elected to Parliament until 1829. American states such as Georgia and South Carolina excluded non-Protestants.
With its 1777 constitution Vermont was an early egalitarian example, permitting voting by men who neither owned property nor paid taxes. By the 1820s universal male suffrage was the American standard although property requirements were not eliminated until the 1850s.

Demanding women's right to vote (rather than asking for the privilege) was part of the evolution of universal suffrage, one reason that legislation took so long to pass.
The original pattern Everybody's Favorite has different proportions---a little awkward at 8".

(BlockBase # 2112)

Everybody's Favorite by Georgann Eglinski

Cutting an 8" Finished Block
A - Cut 12 squares 2" x 2"
B - Cut 4 rectangles 2" x 2-1/2"
C - Cut 4 rectangles 2-5/8" x 3-1/8". You'll trim these later.
D - Cut 1 square 3-1/4".

Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles. You need 4 triangles.
E -  Cut 1 square 2-5/8"

Cutting a 12" Finished Block
A - Cut 12 squares 2-3/4" x 2-3/4"
B - Cut 4 rectangles 2-3/4" x 3-1/2"
C - Cut 4 rectangles 3-3/4" x 4-1/2". You'll trim these later.
D - Cut 1 square 4-1/4". Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles. You need 4 triangles.
E -  Cut 1 square 3-3/4".

Everybody's Favorite by Becky Brown

The ideal of universal suffrage, France,
 1848, by Frederic Sorrieu.
Women seem to be missing from the picture (aside from the allegorical figure of France) as they remained for another century.
Read more about the evolution of universal suffrage in the U.S. in Alexander Keyssar's book The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States
La Suffrage Universel

Everybody's Favorite
By Dustin Cecil

Saturday, November 17, 2012

12. Little Boy's Breeches: Dress Reform

Little Boy's Breeches
By Becky Brown

"Little Boy's Breeches" can remind us of the fight for dress reform. The pattern was given that name in the Kansas City Star by someone who saw a pair of pants in the corners.

Mid-19th century-women carried their own cages with them. Corsets, petticoats and cage crinolines or hoop skirts impeded any movement, exercise or work. Fashion was a pretty prison.

Elizabeth Smith Miller,
Portrait from the Seneca Falls Historical Society.
I've lightened it to show the dress.
It's hard to say if reformers actually wore gathered hems---
Turkish trousers.

In 1851 Elizabeth Smith Miller designed a costume she considered more rational, a short dress over trousers with a gathered hem. Also important---no confining corsets and expansive petticoats. Friends in the reform movement adopted this rational dress--- the bifurcated garment.

Lucy Stone often wore rational dress
 for lectures on the abolition of
slavery and women's rights.

Amelia Jenks Bloomer advocated trousers for women in her magazine The Lily, a position that invited ridicule and a rush of subscribers. Soon the Bloomer Costume became a stereotype and the name Bloomers was irrevocably attached to women's pants.

Amelia Bloomer in the early 1850s

Fashion plates romanticized the
realities of bloomer costume.

From The Lily 1852
An accurate depiction of Amelia Bloomer's outfit.

Opponents of change were incensed by women in pants. Hooligans saw reform dress as a call for rotten eggs and verbal abuse. By the end of the 1850s most public speakers had abandoned trousers as so distracting that their major message, whether abolition, temperance or votes for women, was forgotten.

A new confining fashion in the 1870s

As silhouettes changed through the 19th century, dress reform advocates continued to preach rationality while press and pulpit decried the idea of women in pants as unnatural.

It wasn't until the 20th century that women in pants became socially acceptable.

The Block

Little Boy's Breeches
By Becky Brown

Little Boy's Breeches
By Georgann Eglinski
Georgann, a rational woman herself,
appliqued those britches.

(BlockBase #2961)
I changed the proportions a bit.

Cutting an 8" Finished Block

A - Cut 4 squares 2-1/2"
B & C - Use the templates.
D - Cut 1 square 2-3/8"

Cutting a 12" Finished Block
A - Cut 4 squares 3-1/2"
B& C - Use the templates
D - Cut 1 square 3-5/16"
Here's how Becky pieced the block. Make four of those corner units.Add them to the center. Y Seams.
Little Boy's Breeches
By Dustin Cecil
Katherine Hepburn in the early 1940s

Read the National Park Service biography of Amelia Bloomer here:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

11. Little Red Schoolhouse: Lucy Stone

Little Red Schoolhouse
By Georgann Eglinski

In the 1820s Lucy Stone (1818-1893) of Massachusetts had hopes of the same higher education her four older brothers had earned. While brother Bowman was preparing for college at a nearby academy, Lucy's mother informed her father that Lucy wanted to go to college too. His reply: "Is the child crazy?" To his daughter he said, "Your mother only learned to read, write, and cipher: if that was enough for her, it should be enough for you." But good enough was never enough for Lucy Stone.

Lucy's problems went beyond a stubborn father. Had she been able to persuade him that she was just as smart as (in fact, smarter than) her brothers, she'd have had trouble finding a challenging school  that would accept a girl. 

Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary in 1845,
 6 years after Lucy Stone enrolled.

But by the time she was 21 her plan came together. She had saved enough from teaching school to enroll in the new Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary where she could receive an education equal to her brothers'. It took her until she was 29 but she graduated from Ohio's Oberlin College, the first college to offer degrees to women.

Lucy graduated from Oberlin in 1847.
This photograph from the Library of Congress
probably dates to the 1850s.

Little Red Schoolhouse
By Becky Brown

The Little Red Schoolhouse is adapted from Ruth Finley's pattern in her 1929 book Old Quilts and the Women Who Made Them. We can use it to remember the educational policies of Lucy Stone's and her mother's day. Girls living in post-Revolutionary-War Boston could enroll in the public schools in the summer for two hours of afternoon classes
---if no boy wanted the seat.

Girls in the Boston public schools, 1909
Library of Congress.

Cutting an 8" Finished Block

 A, J, L and K - See the templates for the 8" block. 

B - Cut 3 rectangles (2 chimneys, 1 window) 2-1/4" x 1-3/8"

C - Cut 1 rectangle (sky) 2-1/4" x 4"

E - Cut 2 rectangles (siding) 1-7/8" x 5"

F - Cut 2 squares (siding) 2-1/4" x 2-1/4"

G - Cut 1 rectangle 1-3/8" x 5"

H -Cut 3 rectangles (1 door, 2 siding) 1-3/8" x 3-5/8"

I - Cut 1 rectangle (siding) 1-7/8" x 3-1/8"

The pattern is constructed in two parts:
The roof
The walls
Join the roof to the walls.

Cutting a 12" Block

See the templates on this sheet.
B - 3 Rectangles 3-3/16" x 1-13/16"
C - 1 Rectangle 5-13/16" x 3-3/16"
E - 1 Rectangle 7-3/16" x 3-3/16"
F - 2 Squares 3-3/16"
G - 2 Rectangles 7-3/16" x 1 13/16"
H - 2 Rectangles 5-3/16" 1-1/2"
I - 1 Rectangle 5-3/16" x 2-1/2"
J - 1 Rectangle 4-1/2" x 2-1/2" 

I adapted BlockBase #865, changing the proportions.
If you want some other choices look at the categories in BlockBase (Open the BlockBase tab at the bottom) and click on Pattern Categories: Realistic: 11 Houses etc).

Oberlin's 1855 class of women

Little Red Schoolhouse
By Becky Brown

Read a preview of Lucy's biography by her daughter here:
Alice Stone Blackwell, Lucy Stone: Pioneer of Women's Rights, 1930.

Oberlin College
My First House
By Dustin Cecil
Dustin says the block has structural problems similar to the first house he bought.
See a post with another 12" schoolhouse pattern at Yankee Notions BOM.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

10. New York: Susan B. Anthony Breaks the Law

New York
By Becky Brown

In this election week in the U.S. we can remember a few unruly women in Rochester in 1872 with a block named New York, published in Hearth and Home magazine about 1910.

Susan Brownell Anthony (1820-1906)
About the time she voted

Susan B. Anthony and 13 other women voted in the Presidential election in Rochester, New York. Under the terms of the 14th Amendment, passed four years earlier, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States..." The Grant/Greeley election was the first national election to be held after its passage.  Susan and her sisters were among those who read the words "all persons" as meaning women too.
She went home and wrote to Elizabeth Cady Stanton:

 "Well I have been & gone & done it!!--positively voted the Republican ticket--strait this a.m. at 7 Oclock--& swore my vote in at that--was registered on Friday...."

The Vote and her Trial Received Much Press

Three of the four election inspectors accepted their votes, but one saw the importance of their symbolic action and created a counter action with a formal complaint. Fourteen women were arrested and charged with the offense of "knowingly voting without having a lawful right to vote." The cooperative inspectors were also arrested.

The trial was moved from Rochester to
 Canandaigua's Ontario County Courthouse
Susan Anthony was the only one who actually went to trial where (to the surprise of few) she was convicted. She refused to pay the fine but did not go to jail. The men in charge wanted to avoid any appeals which would legally test the meaning of the words "All persons."

A caricature of "The Woman Who Dared"
 during her trial
Susan B. Anthony realized that another Constitutional amendment with more specific wording would be necessary. Six years after her vote Anthony and Stanton introduced the amendment with the words: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." Forty-one years later it became the law.

Grant Campaign Calico
Susan voted for President U.S. Grant's second term. She might have voted for Victoria Woodhull, who had declared herself a candidate in the Equal Rights Party, but Woodhull's name didn't appear on ballots in New York or any place else.  The 1872 election was the only time Susan voted in a Presidential election. She died before her amendment passed in 1920.

New York
By Georgann Eglinski
Dots make a good substitute for stars.

 (BlockBase #1383)
The Hearth & Home pattern featured a pieced star in the corner. Here we are using star fabric for the field for an 8" block and the lower stripes are long pieces.

New York
By Dustin Cecil


Cutting an 8" Finished Block
The red numbers, more generous measurements, derived from EQ set to 1/16th" default. The black numbers are a 1/8" inch default.
A - From a star print cut a square 4-1/2", focusing on a single large star if you like. (4-1/2")
B - Cut 2 light and 1 dark rectangles 1-7/8" x 4-1/2" (1-13/16" x 4-1/2")
C - Cut 1 light and 2 dark rectangles 1-7/8" x 8-1/2" (1-13/16" x 8-1/2")

Cutting a 12" Finished Block

A 1 square 6-1/2"
B - 3 Rectangles 2-1/2" x 6-1/2"
C - 3 Rectangles 2-1/2" x 12-1/2"
Watch a film by Ken Burns and Paul Barnes, "Not For Ourselves Alone, The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony."

Read a period account of the trial here:

And a summary of the Famous Trial here:

New York
By Becky Brown