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[Textileworking Tools and Equipment]

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Accession Number: 1986.39.1

Physical Description: Bobbin lace making set includes pillow, cardboard pattern, 28 bobbins, pins, and short length of handmade lace. Bolster style pillow is tubular in shape, stuffed with sawdust, and covered in a modern dark brown sprigged cotton print. The cover is machine-stitched and gathered at both ends of pillow; visible through the openings at these ends is the pillow’s original cotton ticking fabric. A narrow brown cardboard pattern, pricked with pinholes, is wrapped around the pillow’s midsection and pinned into place on the underside. Cluster of steel straight pins protrudes from pillow’s top through the cardboard pattern, holding in place a short piece of white linen lace (issuing from the back) and threads tied to bobbins (on the front). 28 turned wooden bobbins with long shafts and bulbous egg-shaped handles. Top of each bobbin has a narrow spool wrapped with white linen thread. Black cotton bias tape is pinned across the bobbin shafts to hold the spools in place. Rectangular piece of modern brown cotton print (.2) with machine-stitched hems on all edges, designed to cover lace and bobbins when not in use. Rectangular cardboard box (.3) covered in brown wrapping paper and stuffed with folded paper, designed to hold the pillow while user is making lace.

History of Object: According to donor?s notes in accession file, this set was passed down in her family and some parts may have been made in Czechoslovakia. The wooden bobbins belonged to the donor?s great-grandmother, Mary Dostal Beck, a widow who emigrated to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia in 1894 with her three children and brother. The family settled first in Perry, Oklahoma, then after two years moved to Atwood, Kansas. The donor claims the pillow was made by her great-aunt, Anna Beck, who learned lace making from her mother, Mary. After Mary died, Anna lived with her sister, Agnes Beck Birrer (the donor?s grandmother) in Atwood and worked as a seamstress and lace maker. The donor claims the pattern pinned to the pillow is for lace Anna made to sew onto linen handkerchiefs that she sold for $2.00. Anna started teaching the donor lace making using this pattern when the latter was just four years old (ca. 1930). The donor, Sonia Domsch, is a respected lace maker who was the first Kansan to receive the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. The fellowship program honors outstanding traditional artists.

Date: Between 1890 and 1920

Dimensions (in cm): 23.00 (H) 24.00 (W) 20.00 (D) .1) Pillow H: 23 cm W: 24 cm D: 20 cm Pattern L: 71 cm W: 5.5 cm Bobbins (each) L: 10.5 cm Diam: 2 cm .2) Cover L: 30 cm W: 24.5 cm .3) Box H: 11.5 cm L: 27 cm W: 21 cm

Index Terms

Associations and Subjects

    Origin, Place of: Atwood (Kan.)
    Theme/topic: Czech Americans
    Individual: Beck, Anna, 1883-1972
    Origin, Place of: Bohemia (Czech Republic)
    Origin, Place of: Rawlins County (Kan.)
    Individual: Domsch, Sonia Cloe, 1934-
    Individual: Beck, Mary Dostal, 1861-1927
    Origin, Place of: Czechoslovakia
    Activity / Occupation: Lace and lace making

Creators and Contributors

    Beck, Anna

Status: Cataloged

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