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, this feature was primarily a general household column, but occasionally offered a quilt pattern.

Although I had known 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 celebration of George Washington's birth 200 years earlier 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."

The text also mentions a second quilt pattern:  "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 next image illustrating American Loghouse Quilting is from the Cuba (KS) Tribune in Republic County southeast of Belleville in north-central Kansas.  Published October 29, 1936, it does not mention Mary Evangeline Walker.  This is the only Walker quilt design I was able to locate in 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.

Mary Evangeline Walker received her 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.  A reference to the Mary Evangeline Walker School of Fine Arts in Boston was found in an Internet search, but nothing further was discovered about this school.  She married Harold A. Landy sometime after 1930, and died in 1957 in Arlington, Massachusetts.

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

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