Now a thing of the past, women’s pages appeared in newspapers across the country for much of the 20th century. These early Style sections featured articles about society happenings, food, fashion, weddings and women’s clubs, and as quilting grew into an increasingly popular pastime in the 1920s and ’30s, quilting patterns also became a women’s page fixture.
One of the most popular quilting columns was the Nancy Page Tuesday Quilt Club by Florence LaGanke, a home economist and nutritionist who had been publishing the Nancy Page Daily Household column for five years. In the Nancy Page original column, a fictional “attractive young married woman” (Nancy Page) solved “the pressing problems of the home.” The Quilt Club appeared five years later to much author-invented fanfare. “Nancy Page Starts a Mid-Week Pieced Quilt Club” the column headline announced on May 17, 1932, and the story that followed was nothing less than a celebration:
Nancy Page’s quilt club members were jubilant. She had promised to give them patterns for pieced quilts as well as appliqued ones. And better still, she said she would open her house one day a week, Tuesday, for the club meeting. Imagine the excitement when the club met for the first time. . . .
And thus a fictional quilting bee was born. Sound familiar?
As Friendship Album, 1933 continues, we’ll be hearing more of Florence’s columns. They’re not exactly the same as Florence LaGanke’s Nancy Page columns, which are written in the third person, but I’ve taken a few stylistic tips from LaGanke. Too tempting not to!
In this episode, we meet Eula’s niece, Maisie. One thing you may wonder as you listen to me read Eula’s section is why she and her family members sound vaguely southern. During the 1920s and ’30s, Ohio’s factories drew people from the southern Appalachians in desperate need of work. What we learn in this episode is that both Eula and Dan’s family roots are in West Virginia. The fact is, I can do a southern accent, but not a Ohio one, so this is a matter of convenience as much as anything!
For the last eighteen years, I’ve made my living as a children’s book author (my first book, Dovey Coe, was published in May of 2000). I’m used to writing about adults from a child’s point of view. In Chapter Sixteen, it was fun to write about a child from an adult’s point of view for a change!
I just finished a quilt and wanted to share it with you. It’s a Melon Patch quilt, and though the quilt that inspired me was made in 1912, this was still a popular pattern twenty years later–and today as well!
See you next week!