Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Quilt Arrived

Dear Paula,

It arrived FedEx late yesterday afternoon. I laid it out on our quilt easel last night and it is every bit as fabulous as I had hoped. Thank you so much for letting us show it.

I just looked through the packet of information and photographs you sent with the quilt. This is really wonderful--you've done a terrific job of researching the background of the quilt. There are several Roblees around--and in fact one works at our store.

Who are the three children in the picture (Alice, Richard, and
Archie)? Did Joseph ever marry? It seems like the older woman in two of the pictures is the same one, which would make her Martha Maynard Bruno, according to the note on the back. She looks too old to be his wife--is she his mother? Do you know his birth and death dates? It seems as if I've asked you before (If so, I apologize), but I can't find them in my notes. I
also have a note that when he left the North River Hotel in 1894 he moved to Warrensburgh. What did he do then? I love all the pictures, but will probably use the one of him in his apron because it relates better to the quilt.

The studio photos are great, though....he'd probably rather I used one of them. I particularly like the hand-tinted tintype.

The "heavenly twins" certainly are black women, and it looks like
they have turbans on their heads. Where did you find that they were maids at the hotel? It does seem likely, but it doesn't relate much to the book.  My guess would be that the hotel folk nicknamed the two "heavenly twins" in reference to the book....but it was probably an inside joke we'll really
never know about.

Thanks again--it will have its portrait taken--in detail--today.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Adirondack Museum - Heavenly Twins Block

The museum curator Hallie Bond sent me the most interesting e-mail yesterday.  It's intriguing in that she found a book entitled "The Heavenly Twins" ... apparently, a very early feminist book...and there is one block on the quilt also titled "The Heavenly Twins".  History may be revealing itself and this quilt certainly is speaking to us!

> From:
> Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 17:09:50 -0500
> Subject: RE: Bruno quilt
Dear Paula,

I'm really looking forward to seeing the quilt in person at
last--thank you so much for lending it to us, and for including all that extra material--that will make a wonderful story. I just got a copy of a book published the year before your quilt was made called "The Heavenly Twins--" it's an early feminist novel (!!). I'll let you know if it has any clues about the quilt and the reading public of North River.

Dear Hallie,

I was so excited to find the picture of my great uncle Joseph in his chef's apron that was just the icing on the cake, at least for me; I found that one late last night.  The people, in the picture(s), names are on the backs of the pictures.  I've included pictures of my great uncle in his Odd Fellows Uniform, a studio 'tin-type' picture of my great uncle, as well as a few other family pictures.  Doris was kind enough to send me copies of pictures of the original Hotel showing the stagecoach parked in front, just like the oil painting of the stagecoach on the quilt and I am enclosing those as well.

My heart jumped when I read of the book you found "The Heavenly Twins".  How odd everything is seemingly "piecing together", just like a quilt, in more ways than I imagined (if the book has any relative information). As I sit here shaking my head .. who would imagine that title for a book and hand written on one of the quilt blocks "Heavenly Twins"...eerie I say...LOL

This quilt seems to hold more historical value than I ever imagined (at least to me) one quilt could.  But they say 'quilts talk' and this quilt truly is telling us a story of the early days in the Adirondack mountains from a logging camp to Hotel (pre Saratoga Springs according to my father, but...).  I'd like to know if it truly was a "Resort" which is probably something I could ask Doris not sure I have anything in my notes relative to that I'd have to re-read them, but right now I need to go to bed.


Adirondack Museum

This is the e-mail I initially received from the Curator at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Lake Mountain, NY.  The quilt is finally on it's way to the museum, left yesterday afternoon (11-10-08).

Dear Ms. Zidel,

Doris Patton, Town of Johnsburg historian, gave me your name
yesterday when I visited her to learn more about the Johnsburg calico mill.

I'm the curator of an upcoming exhibit at the Adirondack Museum entitled "Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters." She thought I might be interested in the appliqued summer spread you own. I certainly was!

I have never seen anything like it in this region, and very few even similar pieces in my researches in other areas. Would it be possible for you to send me a set of the photos you sent Doris so I could print them out on photo paper and add them to my files? You and Doris have done an admirable job of researching the background, and she shared that with me.

Would you consider loaning the spread to the Adirondack Museum for the exhibit, which will run from next May through October? I realize that it is extremely valuable, both in monetary terms and in historical value to your family, and I assure you we would take good care of it. We have a conservator on staff who will be helping mount the exhibit. I can send you a copy of our facility report that we send to other museums when we borrow objects for display, which we do periodically--from Hudson River School paintings to boats.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely yours,
Hallie E. Bond, Curator
Adirondack Museum

Friday, October 17, 2008

Joseph Bruno 1894 Quilt

This quilt was made for my great uncle, Joseph Bruno, upon his retirement from North Creek Hotel in 1894. The quilt will be hung in the Adirondack Museum, New York for an upcoming temporary exhibit "Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters." starting December 2008 through November 2009. I am so proud to be the owner of this wonderful quilt and even happier I am now able to share it's beauty with others!

The blocks of the Heavenly Twins was made by the Twins and their faces are made of leather and the sleeve tops actually 'puff' out.

Stagecoach is appliqued and the horses are actually oil paintings of depicting the actual horses that drew the stagecoach.