Red and White Album

May, 2021

Red and White Album

Unidentified Maker

Circa 1919
70 x 75 inches
IQM 2021.021.0001, Sue Reich Collection

This recent acquisition is part of the Sue Reich Collection at the International Quilt Museum. The collection includes more than 40 quilts and related ephemera made during World War I. Some of the quilts in the collection were made as a direct result of the World War I, like this turkey ted and white quilt made to promote hygiene at the end of the war. Other pieces were made during the era.

The white blocks on this quilt are embroidered with red thread and offer various pieces of advice on hygiene and sanitation. This was particularly applicable at the time as the influenza epidemic of 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people and infected one-fifth of the world’s population, according to the National Archives and Records Administration.

The text on the block reads as follows, from left to right:

Row 1 

  • Use Hot Borax Soap-suds for Soothing Antiseptic Regular Foot Baths. 
  • Clean Glossy Hair Truly Is A Thing of Health And Beauty.
  • Avoid Soft Drinks.

Row 2

  • Erect Posture Promotes Health.
  • I Stand Erect Why Don’t You?
  • Help the Red Cross And Comfort Broken Humanity

Row 3

  • A Good American Strives To Gain And Maintain Vigorous Health.
  • Dirty Hands Carry Disease Germs.
  • Before Meals and After Toilet W-a-s-h Your [hands]

Row 4

  • Germ Disease Filth
  • Keep Your Body Clean
  • B-R-U-S-H Your Teeth A-F-T-E-R Every Meal.

Row 5

  • A Tomato A Day May Keep Scurvy Away.
  • Keep Your Feet Dry And Warm.
  • Cold Fresh Air Promotes - Health

Row 6

  • Even A Goose Keeps Clean Feet Do You?
  • All Children Should Play In Fresh Air and Sunshine
  • Wash Your Hands After Handling Any Pet

Sue Reich began her interest in the study of quilt history with the Connecticut Quilt Search Project in 1991. A quiltmaker since childhood, she lectures widely on many aspects of quilt history, and is a certified AQS quilt appraiser. She co-authored “Quilts and Quiltmakers Covering Connecticut,” and authored “Quilting News of Yesteryear: One Thousand Pieces” and “Counting and Quilting News of Yesteryear: Crazy as a Bed-Quilt.” She has been guest curator at the New England Quilt Museum, the Museum of the American Quilter, the Litchfield Historical Society, the Mattatuck Museum and the Gunn Museum.