Tuesday, September 23, 2008
1925 Anne Orr Design Studio Sampler
1925 Anne Champe Orr Design Studio Employee
Nashville, Davidson Co.
22 1/2"V x 17"H © TSS 213
Janet and I documented this intriguing motif sampler during our last foray into Brentwood. Although our cut-off date is 1900, we completed a thorough analysis of this piece because of the signature.
Anne Champe Orr (1869-1946), a native of Nashville, was a well-known quilt and needlework designer. She was needlework columnist for Good Housekeeping in the 1930s. She was an entrepreneur, ultimately employing dozens of women to produce her designs and directing a successful mail order business from her home in present-day Hillsboro Village (21st and Belcourt, today the site of another Nashville institution, the Pancake Pantry).
This sampler was probably not worked by Anne Orr herself, as she held a noted antipathy towards the needle. In her book Hard Covers for Soft Times, Merikay Waldvogel quotes Orr's neighbor, Andrena Phillips, "I don't think Anne Orr knew anything about a needle…I thought it was strange that someone could do all those needlework patterns without knowing a bit about the needle."
We believe that this sampler was a product of Orr's "needlework cabinet," the model stitchers who crafted her patterns in embroidery.
Merikay Waldvogel will be presenting her most recent (quilt-related) research on Anne Orr at the 2008 seminar of the American Quilt Study Group, to be held October 2-6 in Columbus, OH.
Waldvogel, Merikay. "Refining the Tradition: Anne Champe Orr, 1875-1946." Soft Covers for Hard Times: Quiltmaking and the Great Depression. Nashville,TN: Rutledge Hill Press, 1990, pp. 24-37.