I had an interesting estate sale find recently. The card above was only one of about one hundred cards with fabric samples. What makes these so interesting is that these were part of the coursework at George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee. The cards were completed in 1915 by student Mamie Newman.
The cards were designed by Blanche E. Hyde. The only information I’ve been able to gather about Ms. Hyde is that she was a teacher at Peabody. My guess is that she was in the department of home economics.
In addition to Miss Newman’s notes, some of the cards have corrections written in by the instructor. Ms. Hyde, perhaps? Miss Newman misidentified the chambray, and noted that it was of average quality. The teacher’s opinion was that this fabric was below average in quality. I just know I’d love to find a chambray of this quality today.
The cards with their little textile swatches are delightful, and give a great view of the types of fabrics available in 1915. Is cotton crepe even manufactured today?
Some of the card describe weave patterns, like this plaid. Today we think of gingham as a two color, or most often white with a color, check. Once upon a time gingham was a stripe, but gradually plaids were woven, and today, the fabric is primarily made as a check.
I wish I could say that I brought home all the cards, but that was not meant to be. The estate company had priced these individually, and to have bought them all would have been around $300! Still, I did think it was worth purchasing a few as great examples of the type of work young women in home economics were required to do. I can just picture the girls in the local dry goods store, driving the proprietor crazy with their swatch collecting.