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Quatrefoils

Quatrefoils

Nancy Cabot designed this block for her Chicago Tribune column, in which it appeared in 1936.


The Cornerstone
The Cornerstone

The Kansas City Star published this block 2 days before Christmas in 1942, when the United States was 1 year into World War II. Is it any wonder that the Star chose a name from Christian theology? In the New Testament, Jesus quotes a prophesy from an Old Testament psalm: "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." He was referring to Himself, and this block name refers to Him.
Mrs. Bryan's Choice, Mrs Bryans Choice
Mrs. Bryan's Choice



Mrs. Bryan's Choice (original, colors reversed)

Mrs. Bryan's Choice

When Mrs. Bryan's Choice appeared in 1906, Clara Stone showed it with extra seams (lower left) that made almost every patch into a triangle. She was the only designer who did. The block at upper left has been the standard ever since.

The block is named for Mary Baird Bryan, wife of the Nebraska congressman William Jennings Bryan. Bryan was a farmer's hero. A Democrat, a populist, and a brilliant speaker, he stood for working people against the wealthy east-coast establishment. In 1906, Bryan had run unsuccessfully for President twice and was poised to try (and lose) once more.

Nowadays, Bryan is best known because of the 1950s-era play and movie Inherit the Wind: He argued for the prosecution in the Scopes "Monkey" trial, in which a teacher was tried for breaking Tennessee law by teaching evolution. Bryan won. In the play, he dies on the spot. In fact, Bryan died in his sleep, exhausted, 5 days later, and the verdict was later overturned.

Mary outlived her husband. Their daughter Ruth Bryan Owen became a congresswoman.