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Red Cross Signature Quilt

Curated Submission
Floral, Saskatchewan, and area
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
220 x 160
Materials & techniques
Cotton fabric, embroidery thread; Hand-embroidered, pieced, quilted
Made by Ladies Aid of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
Saskatchewan Western Development Museum WDM-1979-S-259
In 1916 war raged in Europe while those on the home front pitched in to help. Saskatchewan women raised money for a variety of organizations. The Public Service Monthly reported in the fall of 1918 that the Saskatchewan Branch of the Red Cross Society had collected $1,457,000 and sent 4,800 cases of goods overseas. The Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE) in Saskatchewan raised $357,000 for war and relief work and sent socks and shirts valued at $30,000 each year from Saskatchewan to England.
Like many others in small towns, the Ladies Aid of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Floral, Saskatchewan, contributed to the war effort with their own special project – an autograph, or signature, quilt. Ladies Aid volunteers each embroidered one block for the quilt. On the quilt top, the ladies stitched 20 large stars, each embroidered with the name of a member. Surrounding the stars were the embroidered names of local residents who had each paid 10 cents for the honour. The church’s organist, Mrs. J.S. Aitkin, was given the task of stitching the names, a “who’s who” of the Floral district, including politicians, pioneers, and even the grandparents of hockey great Gordie Howe.
When the quilt was complete the ladies set to work selling raffle tickets, with the quilt as the grand prize. Charles Agar, a future Member of Parliament, drew the winning ticket. The lucky winner was Anne Whitmore (née MacLean), who had also paid to have her name embroidered on the quilt. The Ladies Aid raised over $600, which, as Whitmore later noted, “was a goodly sum at the time.” Both Whitmore and the Red Cross benefited from the generosity and hard work of the residents of Floral and the surrounding area. Whitmore treasured the quilt for 63 years, donating it to the Western Development Museum in 1979.
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