1875 - 1878 Amelia Johnson's Prize Parlor Throw

A “First Premium” blue ribbon is attached to Amelia Johnson’s silk parlor throw. It was awarded in 1878 at the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association Fair in Missouri. Fairs were particularly popular events in the nineteenth century. They provided amusements, celebrated achievements, and promoted new ideas. After the Civil War, much money was spent to expand the St. Louis fairgrounds and add buildings. By the late 1870s, its annual agricultural, industrial, and metropolitan displays were worthy of international attention. This parlor throw won a prize at one of the decorative arts exhibitions.
Approximately 500 three-inch “Log Cabin” blocks made of silk were stitched on a muslin foundation to complete the top of this parlor throw. Plain-weave and ribbed solid-colored silks were used to create a mosaic of color. The lining is constructed of red silk fabric quilted 10 stitches per inch to a piece of white cotton fabric. Pink silk thread is used for the quilted trapezoid pattern on the lining. The “Log Cabin” top and quilted lining are joined together and edged with a heavy twisted cord composed of white, pink, green, and black silk cords. This parlor throw is a prize-winning example of the fancy needlework that was so fashionable in the Victorian period. The donor, J. A. Goodall, provided little information about his Aunt Amelia when the parlor throw was added to the Collection in 1940.
Currently not on view
date made
Johnson, Amelia
place made
United States: Missouri, Saint Louis
Physical Description
fabric, silk (overall material)
thread, cotton, silk (overall material)
overall: 72 in x 64 in; 184 cm x 163 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. J.A. Goodall
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Add a comment about this object