Scioto Imhoff Danner and Mrs. Danner's Quilts

Scioto Imhoff was born June 16, 1891, in Bosworth, Carroll County, Missouri, daughter of Robert Imhoff and his second wife, Rhoda Ellen Rice.  She taught school in Hawaii for several years returning to San Francisco, June 3, 1919.  (Ancestry.com)  She was marrried, then divorced in the 1920s but details are not known.

Mrs. Danner explained in her fourth quilt book published in 1958 that the Double Wedding Ring "was the first quilt I made and the one that started me in the quilt business."  After making and selling three quilts, she displayed several others in a Wichita, Kansas, department store in March 1930.  She soon discovered that visitors preferred buying her patterns instead of her quilts, so took orders, made the patterns when she returned home which launched her pattern business.

Scioto Imhoff had a half-sister, Della, nine years her senior. Della married William S. Barr in 1902, had one son, Harold, and lived in Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri, where Scioto visited often. Moberly's newspaper, the Monitor-Index, published the following article with the above photograph, August 6, 1955:

Quilt Patterns Bring Profits To Kansan Well Known Here
  An Eldorado, Kan., woman, well-known to many Moberlyans, has been engaged for the past two decades in an unusual and lucrative business, although her Moberly friends probably have not been aware of it.
  She is Mrs. Scioto Imhoff Danner, aunt of Harold Barr, 314 East Rollins street, and her business -- the selling of her own quilt patterns -- has become international in scope.
  Late in the 1920s Mrs. Danner found the family income needed to be increased, so she decided to put to work a skill she learned as a child -- the making of quilts. And she would sell them, she thought. She got out the patterns handed down to her from her mother and grandmothers and began her new venture. But she found little market for the finished product.
Sells Patterns Instead
  However, she did begin to receive inquiries about the unusual and lovely designs she used and she thought, "Why not try to sell the patterns?"
  Mrs. Danner found the cost of packaging the patterns was small and she also soon found out that the patterns were proving popular in many states and also in Canada.
  She learned several interesting things, too. She found that women living in New York didn't have an idea what a quilt looked like. They asked if quilts were padding for tables and if they could be bought by the yard. She learned that New Englanders preferred pieced quilts and that women in the West liked the elegant appliqued ones.

From Many Sources
  Mrs. Danner's designs come from many sources. A tulip geometrical pattern was put together from a childhood remembrance of a neighbor's quilt at Bosworth [where she was born in Carroll County, Missouri]. Another, Prince's Feather, came from a cover carried in a bride's chest by an ox team from Kentucky to California during the gold rush days. Mrs. Danner says her mother and grandmother handed down many quilt patterns which have become favorites with women throughout the nation.
  One of Mrs. Danner's favorites, Golden Splendor, is made from a block design she bought from a woman in the Kentucky mountains. Wedgewood, which features white grapes and leaves on a blue background, is one of her original designs. Another, Field of Daisies, has white flowers on a medium blue background.
Wins Honors at Fairs
  Mrs. Danner has entered quilts in many fairs and expositions and always earned honors. For three years she won top honors at the Canadian National Exposition in Toronto.
  Two of her quilts, Ladies' Dream and the Rose Bud, have been sent to Europe. In 1937 the Department of Agriculture asked for two of her quilts for a display at the Women's Congress of the World, held in London. Handiwork from every country was given recognition there and Mrs. Danner's quilts were chosen to represent the work done by the women of this country.
 
(NewspaperArchive.com)

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Mrs. Danner traveled extensively displaying her quilts and selling her patterns.  Through the newspapers currently available at Ancestry.com and NewspaperArchive.com, department store ads announcing Mrs. Danner's appearances have been located in Hutchinson, Kansas (November 14, 1931), Fresno, California (February 11, 1934), Oakland, California (March 9, 1934), Fresno, California (September 30, 1934), Lowell, Massachusetts (March 18, 1935), and Bakersfield, California (November 9, 1936).

Several women were employed to make appearances in Mrs. Danner's name, among them a Miss McKee in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the week of March 24, 1935, and Mrs. Danner's sister, Della Barr.  The following was in the Moberly (MO) Monitor-Index, September 25, 1933:

To Demonstrate Quilts Made By Sister
  Mrs. Della Barr, 116 South Sixth street, will leave Oct. 1 for Reading, Pa., to demonstrate quilts made by her sister, Mrs. S. I. Danner, of Eldorado, Kas.  The more than 100 quilts in Mrs. Danner's collection are now on display at a quilt show at Famous-Barr Store in St. Louis.  Mrs. Danner showed her quilts last year at Macy's Store in New York City and last year and this at Marshall Field Store, Chicago. 
(NewspaperArchive.com)

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Mrs. Danner died March 6, 1974, in Newton, Harvey County, Kansas.  The Moberly (MO) Monitor-Index, announced the news of Mrs. Danner's death, March 12, 1974:

Harold Barr's Aunt Dies
  Funeral services were held Friday in Kansas for Mrs. Scioto Danner, an aunt of Harold Barr, and a cousin of Mrs. Alla Lee Waddle, both of Moberly.  Burial was in Kansas.
  Mrs. Scioto Imhoff Danner, 82, formerly of El Dorado, died Wednesday at Presbyterian Manor in Newton, Kan.  She had been in failing health several years.
  Born June 16, 1891, at Bosworth, she moved to Plattsburg, Mo., with her parents and attended grade school and high school.  She began teaching in Missouri schools in 1910.  Mrs. Danner taught eight years after attending Central Missouri State University at Warrensburg.  Among her teaching positions were two years at Maunaola Seminary for Girls at Pala, Maui, Hawaii.
  Mrs. Danner moved with her parents to El Dorado in 1926 and was the founder of the Cape Cod Flower Shop in 1945 and operated it until 1953.  She was talented in the field of quilt making and developed an extensive mail order business in quilt books and patterns, having customers on every continent.  She was a member of First United Presbyterian Church, El Dorado.  Mrs. Danner had visited in Moberly many times with her relatives and had many friends in the area.
 
(NewspaperArchive.com)

Also see Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, 44 (June 1973).

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She is buried next to her parents in Sunset Lawns Cemetery, El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas.  Unfortunately, their FindAGrave memorials have been removed. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=21046290

Helen Ericson, Emporia, Kansas, has continued Mrs. Danner's quilt pattern business since 1970.  http://mrsdannersquilts.com/index.html

© Wilene Smith, September 7, 2010, all rights reserved

Where is El Dorado, Kansas?

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