Staged Faints and Fire Drills.

On this day in 1863, Winifred Sweet Black Bonfils, an American journalist and reporter, was born in Chilton, Wisconsin. She famously staged a fainting on the street in San Francisco to test the city’s emergency response. Ambulance services proved to be wanting and this caused a major scandal. She dressed as a boy and was the first reporter on the line to cover the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, and in 1906, she covered the San Francisco earthquake. At her death in 1936, her body lay in state at the San Francisco city hall.

Violet Christopherson of Marinette, Wisconsin, made this String quilt using parts of her mother’s and father’s wedding clothes as well as other family members’ garments. The owner inherited the quilt from his mother, Violet’s sister, and documented the quilt during the Wisconsin Quilt History Project.  Violet’s family was one of the few who survived the Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin in 1871. Her grandmother, the family matriarch, knew a great fire was coming and she had the children go through a firedrill every day. Read how they were able to survive this historic fire, which killed between 1,500-2,500 people, in this Quilt Index record.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.


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Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance

This entry was posted in On this Day in History Quilts series and tagged , , , by quiltalliance. Bookmark the permalink.

About quiltalliance

The Quilt Alliance is a nonprofit 501c3 organization established in 1993 whose mission is to document, preserve, and share our International quilt heritage by collecting the rich stories that historic and contemporary quilts, and their makers, tell about our nation's diverse peoples and their communities. In support of this mission, the Alliance brings together quilt makers and designers, the quilt industry, quilt scholars and teachers, and quilt collectors to further the following goals: To promote the understanding of the quilt as an important grassroots art form. To make information about quilts available to a broad public. To educate the public about the importance of documenting quilts and quiltmakers so that their stories will not be lost.

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