Jacquard Coverlet made for “Manasa Wareheim” of Carroll County, Maryland. Unknown Attr. Carroll County, Maryland or York County, Pennsylvania. (ST2907)
Warp-cotton (bleached, white); Weft-wool (blue, red, natural, and green). 1845-1855. 91 ¼” x 82 ¾” (exclusive of fringe)
This fine southern coverlet bears the name “Manasas Warhime” in the corner block, signifying that it was specifically woven for Manassa Warehime (27 July 1823-8 July 1871). Public records indicate that Warehime was a resident of the Westminster, Carroll County, Maryland and that he wed Elizabeth Lanyor Warehime (d. November 1893). They are interred in the Jerusalem Lutheran Cemetery in that town. The 1850 Federal Census enumerates Warhime as living before the marriage with his father, Conrad, and identifies both as farmers. An advertisement that appeared in the February 22nd, 1866 issue of in the Democratic Advocate [Westminster], announced an auction of his livestock, farm equipment, and “many other articles too numerous to mention”. The advertisement notes that Warehime “Intending to declining farming”. This indicating that he was unlikely to have previously been a commercial weaver who owned a weaving mill capable of producing the coverlet.
The coverlet’s decorative border consists of a frieze of leaf and floral decoration, and corner blocks with stars, that are virtually identical to those on an unsigned example illustrated in John W. Heisey, A Checklist of American Coverlet Weavers, p. 43. Heisey suggested that the blue wool and white cotton, Beiderwand-weave coverlet had a Pennsylvania or Ohio origin, and assigned it a date circa 1850. At the time of the book, it was in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Foster McCarl , Jr. Other coverlets reflecting the same design choices appear in the northern Maryland counties, and also in York, Pennsylvania. Whether or not the unknown artisan, or the manufactory that he owned, was in Maryland or Pennsylvania remains open to conjecture, as none are identified as to the maker.
This coverlet is woven in the Biederwand weave structure, popular among German immigrants in coverlet weaving. The structure creates a ridged look to the textile, and is a reversible variation of the lampas weave constructed of two plain weave sets of elements with warps in a 4:1 ratio. Biederwand structure is stronger than the alternative, double weave, because the two sets of elements are interwoven. The coverlet also lacks a center seam, indicating that it was woven on a broad loom in a coverlet and carpet manufactory.
The patterning found on the borders, center field, and corner blocks clearly indicates the use of a Jacquard mechanism attachment on the broad loom. The center field depicts a repeating pattern of vases of flowers atop a lace-covered table. The border and geometric star found in the corner block is the same as that found on p. 43 of A Checklist of American Coverlet Weavers. Although sets of punch cards needed to create these patterns were sold, traded, and shared among weavers, the uncommon nature of this border suggests that both coverlets were woven at the same manufactory.
M.A. candidate Matthew Monk, a student in Decorative Arts and Design History in the GW Corcoran-Smithsonian program, contributed to the writing of this essay. His thesis focuses on the emerging industrialization of coverlet weaving in American 1825-1860.
The coverlet survives in a remarkable state of preservation in excellent condition without flaws and in clear, remarkable colors.