Lydia Le Baron Walker and Mary Evangeline Walker

Syndicated by Bell Syndicate in newspapers across the United States from about January 1926 through the end of 1941 (according to search results at NewspaperArchive.com), this feature was primarily a general household column, but occasionally offered a quilt pattern.

Although I knew about the Walker column from Barbara Brackman's "References" section in Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, I had not seen an example until November 2010.  The clipping is not dated but the text suggests its from late 1931 or early 1932 when the country was preparing for a nationwide bicentennial celebration of George Washington's birth during which time the cherry tree myth was widely circulated.  The text says in part:  "In the Tree and Truth design the name is self explanatory of the famous episode of Washington's boyhood.  The units combined are the sturdy little tree and the hatchet with which he cut it down, as instanced in the homely little incident, in itself something which could happen in the lives of many a youngster.  It is the imprint of truth which the little lad, George, left on the family, and the nation afterwards, that lends character to the tale and also the quilt made of Tree and Truth patchwork."

Two quilt patterns are mentioned in the text:  "Among the modern quilts there are some worthy of mention, for they have historic significance and the necessary excellence of design to be peers of the handsome old ones.  The Tree and Truth, and the Cherry Tree are two patterns (10 cents each).  Both of these are linked with the name and character of George Washington."

The text ends:  "Color schemes are suggested, and many uses for the designs are given on pattern sheets.  Each one is 10 cents with self-addressed and stamped (3-cent) envelope.  Requests should be sent to Lydia Le Baron Walker care of this paper."  Mary Evangeline Walker's signature appears in a narrow strip across the bottom of the engraving.

The next image is from The Daily Messenger in Canandaigua, New York, June 6, 1927.  It illustrates the Washington Pavement pattern with the headline, "Some Quaint Quilt Patterns and Theories About Their Names."  The pattern for an 8-inch block was supplied free of charge by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the newspaper.  Retrieved from Ancestry.com, much of the text is not readable due to their poor quality image reader, its jpeg format, and the inability to manipulate the newspaper page and save only a single article.

The third image illustrates American Loghouse Quilting.  It's from the Cuba (KS) Tribune in Republic County east of Belleville in north-central Kansas.  Published October 29, 1936, Mary Evangeline Walker's signature does not appear in the engraving.  This is the only Walker quilt design I was able to locate in NewspaperArchive.com search results.

Who were Lydia and Mary Walker?

Lydia Le Baron Holmes was born March 3, 1869, in New Bedford, Bristol County, Massacusetts, daughter of Josiah and Sarah A. Holmes, and married William H. P. Walker September 15, 1892.  They had two daughters, Mary E. born February 1894, and Lydia born September 1895.  Mrs. Walker was a widow by 1930 and identified as a newspaper writer in the 1930 census for Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massacusetts.  Daughter Mary was an artist and daughter Lydia a free lance writer.

Mrs. Lydia Le Baron Walker wrote Homecraft Rugs; Their Historic Background, Romance of Stitchery and Method of Making (New York:  Frederick A. Stokes, 1929), illustrated by Mary Evangeline Walker.

Articles under Mrs. Walker's name were published in House and Garden (December 1911), Woman's Home Companion (November 1912), Ladies' Home Journal (March 1923), and probably others.

Mrs. Walker's daughter, Mary Evangeline Walker, received her art training at the Boston Museum School of Fine Art, Columbia University, and the New York School of Art (Chase).  She was an educator, teacher, and lecturer, married Harold A. Landy sometime after 1930, and died in 1957 in Arlington, Massachusetts.  She was described as "one of Boston's top [fine arts] teachers" in the Lowell (MA) Sun, January 8, 1950.

© Wilene Smith, November 18, 2010, all rights reserved

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