Blanket Backdrop

Blanket Backdrop

Last time, we used the stamp box on the back of this photo postcard to establish a date. Now let's look at the beautiful backdrop.I've seen ancestors posed in front of all sorts of painted backdrops and even a few wrinkled sheets, but this gorgeous bed covering adds texture...

Last time, we used the stamp box on the back of this photo postcard to establish a date. Now let’s look at the beautiful backdrop.

I’ve seen ancestors posed in front of all sorts of painted backdrops and even a few wrinkled sheets, but this gorgeous bed covering adds texture to a simple portrait. Georgia women such as these ladies have a long tradition of producing beautiful quilts and blankets. The online New Georgia Encyclopedia contains a description of this history. On this Web page, you can see a photo of several members of another family, the Wheelers, in front of a quilt they made. This makes me wonder if the backdrop in Armstrong’s photo is part of the story.

Armstrong believes whole-heartedly the older, seated woman in this photo is her great-grandmother Margaret E. Jordan Stephens, because she owns identified pictures of her. The picture dates from about 1910 based on the length of the young women’s dresses, as well as the shape of the collar on the dress of the woman on the left. According to information from census records, Margaret would’ve been about 77 years old at this time.

There are a couple of possible IDs for the two younger women: They may be Margaret’s daughters, hard to find in censuses because they went by nicknames or middle names. Margaret had sons, so the women could be daughters-in-law. Or they may be ladies who helped with the quilt in the background, posing to commemorate the completion of their work just as the women in the New Georgia Encyclopedia photo did.

I’m still working on the bedcovering facts. I’ll let you know about new information in the Photo Detective Forum. Or if you can identify the pattern, please add your own thoughts to the forum.

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  1. 4 June 2007

    After the storm, my mind cleared.

    And a high wind arose and blew the tropics north.

    running quartz crystals through a blender.

    sand through your engines.

    bubbles in your bays.

    estuaries reaching out toward forbidden seas…

    sand through your eyes.

    5 June 2007

    Calm as baby’s breath

    as peaceful as the storm’s eye

    Clouds spread and drawn with rough strokes of stratospheric winds

    a warm and windy tropical day.

    7 June 2007

    Black water at dusk.

    Lighting on the horizon.

    Warm winds coming in across the darkening waters.

    A flash of white wings as an egret takes flight.

    And Thunder like God clearing his throat.

    8 June 2007

    Morning star in the still of the clear, dark waters.

    a sky as clear eyed as a young girl.

    bruised and tattered storm remnants limp off in the gathering light.

    9 June 2007

    Tickled her fancy.

    giggling all the day long.

    pretty good for a Saturday.

    Clouds on the lake floating aimlessly by.

    She smiled big–grinned really.