This beautiful raw silk coat was custom made in Japan, 1960 for Charlestonian Margarette deSaussure Black (1913-1997). The all-over printed design is a lovely paisley in red, black, gray, mustard and metallic gold. It is long, with long sleeves and opens in front with fabric rosette and frog closures. It is fully lined and meticulously tailored; the label, inside the clever interior pocket reads: “William D. Wong Ltd. / Tailored Expressly For / Mrs. M. deS. Black / No. Wo-438 / Date 15th July 1960 / Place Iwakuni, Japan.” The pocket is edged with tiny finished prairie points, a nice detail. I have been unable to find any information on William D. Wong, but one would surmise that his shop was a highlight while on duty in Iwakuni.

Iwakuni, Japan is approximately 600 southwest of Tokyo in the Nishiki River delta. It has been home to a United State Marine Corps air facility since 1958. Margarette’s husband, Robert Atticks Black, Sr. was a Silver Star recipient for his World War II service in the Pacific and served as Wing Inspector 1st MAW at Iwakuni.

The coat was given to the Museum in 2004 by Margarette’s sons, Robert A. Black, Jr., Henry William deSaussure Black & William Peronneau Black in 2004, in memory of Dr. Henry William deSaussure & Margarette Whitaker deSaussure Black.

This coat is on exhibit in Positively Paisley from September 11, 2013 to January 5, 2014.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Powder Horn
Unmarked
American (attributed)
1851-1861

Made from cow horn, this piece bears the carved insignia of Charleston’s own Palmetto Guard. Before the advent of self-contained metallic cartridges, powder, shot, wadding and primers were individually loaded through a long arm’s muzzle. Hence, soldiers carried separate containers of loose gunpowder they could use either in battle or, in their spare time, make smaller paper cartridges.

Although most manufacturers by this time had switched to cheaper and stronger metal flasks with adjustable chargers (which could pour a set measure of gunpowder into a cylinder before being loaded into a gun), many militia units like the Palmetto Guard preferred the elegance of traditional horn for formal occasions. Horn owners could personalize them with custom engravings, and to accommodate this, manufacturers occasionally boiled then compressed their powder horns to produce flatter, more workable and readable surfaces. Like scrimshaw, an artist (or sometimes the soldier himself) engraved an insignia or some other image or pattern onto the horn before covering it with dye. While still wet, the dye was wiped off the flat surface of the horn, leaving only the engraved lines filled in.

A volunteer infantry company, the Palmetto Guard was founded in Charleston on June 28, 1851 - the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Sullivan (or “Carolina Day”).  After secession, the Guard took positions on James Island, Morris Island, and Mount Pleasant. Members of the Palmetto Guard positioned at Steven’s Battery attributed with firing the initial shots at Fort Sumter on the morning of April 12, 1861. After the Fort’s surrender by Federal troops on April 14, the Palmetto Guard raised their flag over Fort Sumter making it the first Confederate Flag to fly over captured U.S. territory.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

These stylish dark brown suede platform sandals, 1940s were made by and marked DeLiso Debs / Designed by Palter DeLiso. These high fashion shoes were worn in Charleston by, Mrs. T. W. Bennett.

Palter DeLiso was an American shoe design company, founded in 1927 by American businessman Daniel Palter and Italian-immigrant footwear designer, Vincent DeLiso.  In 1938, they invented the peep-toe slingback pump, shocking the public by offering such scandalous open-toed shoes. Their shoes were especially popular during and after the war. The brand was influenced by haute couture, but marketed to the upper middle-class, selling in high end shoe boutiques and department stores. They won the inaugural Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion.
A 1944 advertisement for Palter DeLiso in the Ottawa Citizen was entitled “Artistry in Shoes.” It read: “To wear Palter DeLiso’s Shoe is to experience the result of a master shoe designer’s art. This season they’re probably smarter than ever – simpler – in good taste.”

Another pair of platform sandals, these silver leather studded shoes, also from the 1940s, are labeled Ferralli of Hollywood.  They show their glamour with the “silver” studded platform soles. This nail head embellishment was popular throughout the 1940s, on shoes, trousers and dresses. Evening shoes and summer sandals with nail head embellishment across the vamp and along the ankle straps were widely advertised in the early 1940s. This pair was worn by Francys M. Kasdorf of Charleston in 1944. We have been unable to obtain information on Ferralli of Hollywood and the Museum would welcome any help.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

These images are part of a photograph album kept by Chrisenberry Alexander Ritchie (1879-1962). He was born in Salisbury, North Carolina and he came to the Lowcountry to attend the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, which was then located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. This was circa 1901, and his images corroborate this as he captured the construction of the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, as well as the event itself, held in Charleston from December 1901 through May 1902. Ritchie also photographed a number of other “everyday” Charleston scenes - fortunately for us as many of these scenes no longer exist. Ritchie went on to become the Pastor of the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Binghamton, New York, from 1905 through 1949, marrying and raising his family there.

  1. The Sappho - ferry that ran between Mount Pleasant and Charleston, circa 1901
  2. Custom House, 200 East Bay Street, circa 1901
  3. Cotton Palace and Sunken Gardens at the Exposition, taken at night showing the electric lights, circa 1901
  4. Aerial view of Colonial Lake from the vicinity of the intersection of Rutledge and Beaufain, circa 1901
  5. The Liberty Bell while on loan from Philadelphia for the Exposition, 1902.
  6. Steeplechase at the Isle of Palms, circa 1901


EPHEMERA FRIDAY: Each Friday we post a selection or small collection from the Charleston Museum Archives. Some items may be on exhibit, some may be too fragile to display and some may be too unusual to fit into our typical Lowcountry exhibit themes. We will occasionally ask for help identifying people or places in photographs that have come to us with little or no information. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on EPHEMERA FRIDAY.

Revolving pistol
Phillipe Selier Desellier
Belgium
1710-1720

Not only among the earliest small arms in The Charleston Museum’s weaponry collection, this flintlock pistol is also one of its more remarkable. Besides its decorative coin-silver furniture and detailed engravings, this weapon exhibits an early revolver-type mechanism. Equipped with a pivoting forward stock, tandem barrels, frizzens and flash pans, the shooter can, after firing a first shot, depress the spur on the outer side of the trigger guard and with the other hand, turn the barrels over to ready another round.

Although popular versions of revolving firearms emerge in earnest in the 1830s, inventors had been tinkering with rotating barrel concepts since the 17th century striving to move past the drawback of single-shot firearms (meaning shooters had to stop and reload their gun after each individual shot). Although adding extra barrels seemed logical, it made for heavy weapons, and no matter the number of barrels on gun, its user was still going to have to load each barrel individually gaining no real measureable firing efficiency. Only after innovations in self-contained cartridge technology did revolving and rotating guns come into their own as efficient and reliable weapons.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

Trophy of Arms chintz appliqué quilt top, c. 1830, made by Hannah Noland Henderson
The center medallion for this quilt, also referred to as Hunt Cornucopia, was a popular motif in the South Carolina Lowcountry. This museum has three with this same center. This unfinished top has no batting, backing or binding. Hannah (1816-1890) was the daughter of William Noland; she married Thomas Harden Henderson. The piece descended through her daughter to her great-great-great grandsons, the donors. It is a new acquisition for the museum and was donated earlier this year by William Rutherford Trumble & Fitz Trumble.

It relates to two other quilts in the collection, both with this same center medallion. It is interesting to see how the same fabric was used in different ways by earlier Charleston quilters. In the quilt from Joseph D. Aiken in 1994, the Trophy of Arms medallion is surrounded by an array of game birds and two floral borders. It has thin cotton batting, muslin backing and woven tape binding and dates to about 1825.

This third quilt descended in the Vaux-Read family of Charleston and perhaps tells us the most about the original chintz fabric. In this quilt, the maker did not cut out and appliqué the individual motifs, but cut and reorganized the original fabric. You can see the original format of the center medallion (the same as Hannah Henderson’s) and you can see that the scroll encircling the Aiken medallion originally encircled a huge bouquet of flowers which was cut in two in the Read quilt. The borders are all different. Chintz was extremely popular here; quiltmakers apparently had lots of examples to use. The fabulous Read quilt was given to the Museum in 1988 by Benjamin Huger Read and Anne K. Read on behalf of the family of William Bond Read and Rachel Biddle Wood Read.

The first two quilts are on exhibit in Quintessential Quilts until October 13, 2013.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

The daguerreotypes and carte-de-viste of the Manigault Family were given to the Charleston Museum by Miss Joanna Stewart Jenkins, a great-great granddaughter of Charles Manigault through his son Louis. Charles Izard Manigault (1795-1874) married Elizabeth Heyward (1808-1877), daughter of Nathaniel Heyward, on April 7, 1825 and together had seven children. They owned several rice plantations including Gowrie and East Hermitage on Argyle Island in Georgia, Marshlands on the Cooper River, near Charleston and Silk Hope in Berkeley County, South Carolina.

  1. Charles Heyward Manigault (1826-1856) firstborn child of Charles and Elizabeth Heyward Manigault. Image was taken in 1853 at the request of his brother, Louis. MS. note included with image: A very good likeness of my Brother Who had it taken for me in Charleston on the 31st October 1853. – L.M.
  2. Louis Manigault (1828-1899) at age 22.  The carte de visite was taken at the studio of F.A. Nowell located at 263 King Street, Charleston, South Carolina.
  3. Nathaniel Heyward (1766-1851) father of Elizabeth Heyward Manigault. Image was taken in 1845 at the request of his son-in-law, Charles. MS. note included with image: Nathaniel Heyward Esqre, father of Mrs. Charles Manigault.  Died 10th of April 1851, Aged 85 years
  4. Charles Izard Manigault (1795-1874).  Image was taken in 1856.
  5. Louis Manigault’s son, Louis (1858-1906) with Captain.  Image was taken in 1860. MS. note included with image: Taken in Charleston, 16th July 1860.  Louis & Captain, his servant
  6. Captain Hector, a favorite slave of Louis Manigault, worked on the Gowrie Plantation located on Argyle Island in Georgia.  Image taken in 1861 at the request of Louis with the particular items to represent Hector’s job as the plantation’s chief boat hand and mail carrier. MS. label on image: From being of a most happy and cheerful disposition, prior to the war, this man became dull and low spirited when freedom came, and finding himself no longer with a master to care for him.  Though alive, in 1880, yet his existence appears to be a wretched one.  In this picture I had him taken with his paddle in one hand, and a newspaper in the other, with the Gowrie plantation mailbag over his shoulder.  [At bottom] “Hector,” Gowrie post boy.  Taken in Savannah, Ga. April 23, 1861.

Click to see Charles Izard Manigault’s vests from a previous posting. Gabriel Manigault, father of Charles Izard Manigault (image #4), designed the Museum’s Joseph Manigault House (1803).

EPHEMERA FRIDAY: Each Friday we post a selection or small collection from the Charleston Museum Archives. Some items may be on exhibit, some may be too fragile to display and some may be too unusual to fit into our typical Lowcountry exhibit themes. We will occasionally ask for help identifying people or places in photographs that have come to us with little or no information. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on EPHEMERA FRIDAY.

Tusk–handled swords
Unmarked
Siam (now Thailand)
1870-1890

Although a horrific looking pair, these notably large swords are completely impractical for combat. Likely they were used instead as ceremonial, presentation or perhaps decorative weaponry within the royal palace in Bangkok.  Each weighing in at a burdensome 22 pounds and measuring over 6 feet long, they are unwieldy as they are heavy and bulky. The lower half of an elephant’s tusk makes up the handle, its girth too large to grip effectively by an average sized person. Furthermore, unsharpened blades and lack of personalization on each one indicate some sort of ornamental decoration.

Born in Charleston on September 21, 1854, Dr. Thomas Heyward Hays was chief of Bangkok’s Royal Thai Navy Hospital beginning in 1886 and eventually served as the consulting physician to Siam’s Royal Court. These edged weapons are but a small part of his extensive collecting in Southeast Asia, most of which he donated to the Charleston Museum in 1924. He died on February 2, 1954, at age 99, and is buried in the Bangkok Protestant Cemetery.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

These two “paisley” vests belonged to Charles Manigault (1795-1874), probably c. 1840. One shows a fairly traditional boteh pattern and is printed while the other is woven with an elaborate repetition of “exotic” temples. The paisley one has corded edging and pocket openings; the temple vest has a woven tape binding on the edges and pockets. The paisley example has covered buttons, the temple one has 8 small brass buttons.

Manigault was a wealthy land owner, rice planter and merchant. He traveled widely, especially in France and was very cosmopolitan. He even spoke French at home on occasion. In 1825 he married Elizabeth Manigault Heyward. One of his sons, Gabriel Edward (1833-1899), was curator of the Charleston Museum in the 1870s. Both of these vests came to the museum from direct descendants. The paisley one from Emma Manigault Jenkins Gribbin (a great-granddaughter through Charles’ son, Louis) in 1945. The temple one from Joanna Stewart Jenkins (a great-great granddaughter also through Louis) in 1982.

Manigault’s printed paisley vest is currently on exhibit in Positively Paisley in our Historic Textiles Gallery, now through January 5, 2014.

Throughout the 19th century, the boteh motif (now known as paisley) was extremely popular. The earliest shawls were brought back from Kashmir and India, but were soon copied and expanded upon in France, England and Scotland. It seems that everyone had to have something “paisley.” After 1805, the weavers in Paisley, Scotland essentially took over shawl weaving, hence the wonderful Middle Eastern patterns became known as paisley.

Islamic designs were traditionally non-representational, but in the West the aesthetic demand was for exoticism. In addition to the boteh or pine motif, imaginative designs included temples, animals and people.

Shawl printing was an art form in Norwich, England. They usually used block prints for shawls, and roller prints for dress and clothing fabrics from the 1830s.  Paisley designs were printed to imitate the woven goods. In 1858 it took a week to weave a shawl; 20-30 shawls could be printed in one week.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

All of these images are identified on the reverse as being of the Schutzenfest (Marksman’s Festival) in 1903.  The photographer is believed to be M.B. Paine.  Originally identified as various locations (Hampton Park, The Oaks in Berkeley County, etc.), on-going research seems to confirm that this is Belvidere Plantation on the “neck” in Charleston County.  The Country Club of Charleston purchased the property in 1901, and developed a 9-hole golf course there, refurbishing the house as their Clubhouse.  The golf images we also have in the collection were very helpful in determining that these images matched those (existing structures, topography, etc.).  In 1926, the Country Club moved from Belvidere to McLeod Plantation (on James Island) and Standard Oil purchased this property.  The house sat untouched and deteriorated until 1941 when it was torn down.   Unfortunately, there is not much information about the Schutzenfest in general or, more specifically, the Charleston Schutzenfest.  We know it was a Marksman’s Festival, held annually in the Spring.  While it is no longer held here in Charleston, or the Lowcountry, it is still held every summer in Erhardt, South Carolina.  

Click to view a hat and belt from Schutzenfest, as well as a target rifle made for the event.

EPHEMERA FRIDAY: Each Friday we post a selection or small collection from our Archives. Some items may be on exhibit, some may be too fragile to display and some may be too unusual to fit into our typical Lowcountry exhibit themes. We will occasionally ask for help identifying people or places in photographs that have come to us with little or no information. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on EPHEMERA FRIDAY.