The Settling of the West

A work made of appliquéd and embroidered quilt; dyed cotton plain weave fabrics; cotton embroidery threads.

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  • A work made of appliquéd and embroidered quilt; dyed cotton plain weave fabrics; cotton embroidery threads.

Date:

March 1931/September 1932

Artist:

Designed and executed by Mildred Jacobs Chappell
American, active c. 1931–1932

About this artwork

In her representation of the settling of the American West, Mildred Jacobs Chappell depicted European American settlers on foot, on horseback, and in covered wagons, as well as explorers and Native Americans. This peaceful and picturesque vision gives no indication of the conflict, violence, and grievous misdeeds, such as the Indian REmoval Act and Trail of Tears, that characterized the United State’s westward expansion. In an inscription on the reverse, Chappell nostalgically wrote, "My only regret is that I could not have lived one hundred years earlier to experience those stirring times." She thus acknowledges her historical remove from the events depicted; indeed, earlier in the inscription she admits that her love for the Old West came from history and books, which at the time would have offered an idealized narrative. The stylized forms and orderly composition, in which white settlers take center stage, reinforce the simplified and romanticized narrative presented in the quilt.

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Textiles

Artist

Mildred Jacobs Chappell

Title

The Settling of the West

Origin

Colorado

Date

1931–1932

Medium

Appliquéd and embroidered quilt; dyed cotton plain weave fabrics; cotton embroidery threads

Inscriptions

Inscriptions (at bottom): SETTLING OF THE WEST; (in center): TO THE PIONEER: "VIRILE TO RISK AND FIND, KINDLY WITHAL AND A READY HELP FACING THE BRUNT OF FATE; INDOMITABLE, - UNAFRAID." DONNER LAKE, CALIFORNIA; (at corners): 1738 / 1869 / 1849 / 1834; (around wide border): SKIN TIPIS OF THE INDIANS SETTLERS OF THE WEST BEFORE THE WHITE MAN / THE INDIAN HE LEFT THE TREES IN THE FOREST. THE FISH IN THE RIVERS. THE WILDLIFE ON THE PLAINS. ALL THESE AS GOD MADE THEM / SACAJAWEA BLACK HAWK SITTING BULL / COMPLETION OF THE FIRST RAILROAD ACROSS THE UNITED STATES PROMONTORY POINT, UTAH / THE PONY EXPRESS / STAGECOACH DAYS / OH, THEN, SUSANNAH, DON'T YOU CRY FOR ME! I'M GOIN OUT TO OREGON WITH MY BANJO ON MY KNEE! / PIONEERING ALONG THE OREGON TRAIL / THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN WHO HAD THREE SONS... JOSHUA, JAMES AND JOHN! JOSH GOT SHOT, AND JIM GOT DROWNED, AND JOHN GOT LOST AND NEVER WAS FOUND, AND THAT WAS THE END OF THE WOMAN'S THREE SONS, JOSHUA, JAMES AND JOHN. / FUR STOCKADE ON THE COLUMBIA RIVER / THE LEWIS AND CLARK PARTY AT THE THREE FORKS / LA VERENDRYE, SIGHTING THE NORTHERN ROCKIES / SHOHALLA TECUMSEH GERONIMO; (two labels and three ribbons sewn on reverse)

Dimensions

259.4 × 215.4 cm (102 1/8 × 84 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of Mrs. David W. Grainger

Reference Number

1999.508

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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