Charlotte Allen Williams in her book "Florida Quilts" wrote, "A unique
pictorial quilt known as the "Miracle Quilt of Democracy" (Plate 73) was
made by Catherine Elizabeth (Kate) Waldron McClenny (c. 1870-1952 in
1932 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Kate was married to Carr
Bowers McClenny and lived in the Jacksonville area all her life.
She taught piano and violin and was always interested in politics.
Although this quilt was a totally original design and does not contain
any of the traditional design elements popular with quilters of her day,
Kate did use the pastel colors in her appliqué and embroidery that were
so widely used during this period.
In a note written by Kate, the following is stated, "Prophetic
Rose Field Miracle Quilt A banner of love and True Democracy"
Made by the Mother of the "Plant a Rose" though directed by a still
small voice guided by an unseen hand.
Each symbol depicted, has a Biblical, a Political, and a Prophetic
significance. Colors: field green, leaf green, emerald green.
Characteristics: simplicity, harmony, economy.
Material: cotton and wool.
Pleading for co-operating, good will and moral support in spreading the
gospel of love and true democracy.
I am sincerely...
The seal of good will is quilted into the roof and was ---- and seal of
Florida will be added as soon as it goes to Tallahassee, the capitol of
McClenny, Fla. home -----
Mrs. Carr Bowers McClenny, age 79"
Kate had no previous experience
in quilting but managed to complete this quilt in less than a year.
While the central theme of the quilt is democracy, symbolized by
Franklin D. Roosevelt's Little White House, it also incorporates
biblical symbols and other facets of life in America. The quilt
was presented before the 1938 Florida legislature and was later
exhibited in Jacksonville's Roosevelt and George Washington hotels.
Then Senator Claude Pepper liked the quilt so much that he had it
displayed at several Florida Democratic party meetings. The mayor
and city council of Jacksonville Beach adopted a resolution in 1945
commending Kate for the vision and artistry she employed in the
conception and execution of the "Banner of Democracy." Kate
dedicated the quilt to the young men who gave their lives in World War
II, and it now belongs to the Beaches Area Historical Society in
Jacksonville Beach, Florida." The quilt, which is 66" x 84", consists of
a cotton top that was appliquéd and embroidered by hand. Kate used
cotton batting and hand quilted using both outline and parallel patterns
on a light green backing.
The quilt is believed to have been stolen
from the family by the
Beaches Area Historical Society.