Student’s Museum ‘Musings’ – Shawn

Authored by Shawn, Returning Summer Student, 2013

The skies have not seemed entirely welcoming as we have jumped into this first week of June. In fact I think the temperature has been growing more miserable as we approach summer! However, this has not impeded the Oshawa Museum. On Thursday afternoon Lisa and I managed to brave the rain in Downtown Oshawa as we practiced for the Downtown Walking Tour to be held this Sunday. The windy weather has also been unable to prevent some amazing visitors such as George Gordon who came to explore our Railway Exhibit and told us much of his own personal experiences working on the Oshawa Railway.

The inside of Guy House has also been anything but dreary. It now seems a bustling full house with the other new summer students – especially with the recent and excitingly large donation of documents relating to Thomas Henry. It has also been pleasant to catch up with the full-time staff – I had almost forgotten the unfamiliar healthy foods these ladies have exposed to me. Jenn Weymark makes the topic seem an entirely different language.

Shawn at the research station in the Oshawa Archives!  Welcome back Shawn!
Shawn at the research station in the Oshawa Archives! Welcome back Shawn!

 

Primarily, I have been busying myself with research for the Guy House book. This means taking on the intimidating records of plot sales and learning of Thomas Guy Jr.’s ‘active’ marriage life. It is certainly intriguing to handle and learn from the documents themselves and I hope than I can be of some use putting the story of the house in perspective. While looking into the Guy House history I also accidentally stumbled upon an informative collection of papers of Philips Jesse Phillips compiled by his grandson, Alan Philip Dickson. This was quite interesting because I had been recently collecting and organizing some information on World War One Veterans from Oshawa. It so happens that this Philip Phillips, which has been staring at me through a portrait for some years now in the Archive Office, was born in 1875 and actually enlisted in the army in 1915 – fighting in the 18th Battalion until he was killed at Vimy Ridge. He also worked for the Williams Piano Company in Oshawa and had at one point been asked to make a piano for the King of Siam! I was surprised to learn so much history behind this man on the wall. So, despite the cloudy weather it has been an en’light’ening (I’m so sorry) week!

The Oshawa Archives; the oval framed photo on the left is Philip Jesse Phillips
The Oshawa Archives; the oval framed photo on the left is Philip Jesse Phillips

 

Quilting Stories: An Epilogue

With our newest exhibition, Common Threads: Stories from our Quilt Collection, opening soon, we thought it would be timely to follow up with one last quilting blog post.  One challenge with digitizing and cataloging the quilts was identifying the patterns.  The repeating patterns on our quilts are beautiful, and every square is unique; however, each one has an underlying pattern, some common with quilts, while some were more unique.

While digitizing the quilt collection, we kept our own reference to the different patterns which appeared in our quilts, and we thought we would share them here.

To see more quilts, and to learn the stories behind them, be sure to visit the Oshawa Museum and take in our newest exhibit, Common Threads: Stories from our Quilt Collection, opening in June.

Blazing Star Pattern
Blazing Star Pattern
'Broken Dish' (Variation) / 'Hourglass'
‘Broken Dish’ (Variation) / ‘Hourglass’
Carolina Lily Pattern
Carolina Lily Pattern
Churn & Dash Pattern
Churn & Dash Pattern
Crazy quilt – this quilting ‘pattern’ was popular in the Victorian Era.  There is no structured pattern to it, but, in keeping with the Victorian ‘Waste not, want not’ philosophy, it was an ideal quilting method to use up scrap fabrics.
Crazy quilt – this quilting ‘pattern’ was popular in the Victorian Era. There is no structured pattern to it, but, in keeping with the Victorian ‘Waste not, want not’ philosophy, it was an ideal quilting method to use up scrap fabrics.
Crosses & Losses Pattern
Crosses & Losses Pattern
Friendship block – this example in particular features a signature in the centre
Friendship block – this example in particular features a signature in the centre
Irish Chain Pattern
Irish Chain Pattern
Lemoyne Star Pattern
Lemoyne Star Pattern
Log Cabin Pattern – easily recognizable – we have several in this pattern in our collection
Log Cabin Pattern – easily recognizable – we have several in this pattern in our collection
Maple Leaf Traditional Quilt (a very popular pattern in the 1920s.  It resembles star patterns)
Maple Leaf Traditional Quilt (a very popular pattern in the 1920s. It resembles star patterns)
Orange Peel Pattern
Orange Peel Pattern
Pinwheel Pattern
Pinwheel Pattern
Baby Block Pattern
Baby Block Pattern

Digitizing Henry House – Our Shirley Temple Doll

In 2009, as part of a larger donation, we received a Shirley Temple Doll. She dates from the 1930s, when Shirley Temple’s popularity was high.

While Shirley Temple is part of pop-culture vernacular, here is a little background information for those who want it:  born in 1928, she was an American film and television actress, singer, dancer, and former U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. Her film career began at the age of three and, found international fame after the release of Bright Eyes in 1934.  Her box office popularity waned as she reached adolescence; she retired from films in 1950 and from acting altogether by 1961.  Shirley has to her credit 14 short films, 43 feature films and over 25 storybook movies.   She is still alive today. (Information from Wikipedia and http://www.shirleytemple.com/bio)

009.9.3a-j - Shirley Temple Doll, made by Ideal Novelty and Toy Company
009.9.3a-j – Shirley Temple Doll, made by Ideal Novelty and Toy Company

During her height of popularity, the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company negotiated a license for dolls, and several ‘composition’ dolls (made from wood and sawdust) were manufactured.  It is likely that our doll was made c.1935, based on the ‘COP’ marking found on the back of her head; this mark appeared after the Christmas of 1934 and indicated ‘Copyright Pending.’

Detail of the markings on our Shirley Temple doll
Detail of the markings on our Shirley Temple doll

The clothing on our doll does not appear to be original, but was likely hand made for her.  She is on display in the Henry House Parlour.

Inside the Henry House Parlour
Inside the Henry House Parlour

Thanks to http://www.shirleytempledolls.com for the information you have available!

Downtown Oshawa: Our Hidden Heritage

Oshawa’s downtown core is centred around King and Simcoe Streets, or, as many locals call it, the Four Corners.  This area was first settled by a man named John Kerr who purchased 200 acres at the northwest corner of King and Simcoe Streets in 1816.  For many years, the settlement was called Kerr’s Creek.

In the 1830s, local merchant, Edward Skae opened a popular general store at the corner of Simcoe and King Streets and the hamlet soon became known as Skae’s Corners.  In 1842, Edward Skae made application to the legislature for a post office.  He received a reply that a name other than “Corners” must be chosen for the post office as there were already too many place names containing ‘Corners.’  The name Oshawa was chosen and translates from the native dialect to mean ‘that point at the crossing of the stream where the canoe was exchanged for the trail.

Edward Skae's checkered store
Edward Skae’s checkered General Store

Oshawa’s downtown has seen several changes since it was settled almost 200 years ago.  Some of the heritage buildings are lost, some still stand, although they would be unrecognizable to early settlers, while a few buildings have remained steadfast through the years, as beloved as they were when they were first constructed.

On June 9, 2013, the Oshawa Museum is excited to host the return of the Downtown Walking Tour, highlighting the heritage than can be found around the Four Corners.  The tour will depart from the Oshawa Public Library, McLaughlin Branch (65 Bagot Street), at 12PM.

This walking tour is expected to take 1.5-2 hours in length.  The cost is $3 per person or FREE for members of the Oshawa Historical Society.

Please be sure to join us for a stroll through our Downtown Heritage!

Month That Was … May 1929

Saturday May 4, 1929

Family is Saved as Child Coughs

Guelph, May 4 – Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Johnston, 14th concession of Peel, and their three children narrowly escaped being burned to death in a fire that destroyed their home and all its contents. Mrs. Johnston found the house on fire and aroused her husband. Wrapping the children in comforters, they climbed out a back window onto a kitchen roof and making their way to a woodshed below, dropped to the ground.

 

Human Chess

Ramsgate – Human chess was played here recently as a feature of the Kent Country Chess association meet.

The players sat on top of lawn tennis umpire seats.

Fifty boys, all masters of chess themselves, were used as “pieces” in three great games of chess in which mighty mean of this “moving” pastime took part. One of these players was the world-famous champion, Capablanca himself.

Capablanca on a stool calling out his moves to the living boy pawns and kings and bishops was a sight to which all chess-loving Ramsgate flocked.

The mayor gave a reception to the chess association members, by way of start-off for a week’s congress and living chess was the feature of the meeting.

 

Thursday May 9, 1929

Helped Boy on Way

Kingston, May 9 – Just out in this country six months and suffering from lonesomeness, Frederick George Edwards, aged 15, a bright looking chap, wandered into the office of Mayor W.H. Craig at the City Hall at noon today, and bursting into tears, stated that he wanted to go home to his mother in Liverpool. After making inquiries regarding the lad, Mayor Craig gave him a railway pass as far as Montreal, and upon arrival there the youngster will report at the immigration office and ask to be sent home.

 

Friday May 10, 1929

Chilly Rescue by Girl Swimmer

Ottawa, May 10 – Without so much as removing her gloves or overcoat, Miss Gladys Smirle dived into the chilly waters of the Rideau Canal to save 5-year-old Jack Macdonnell from drowning yesterday. Miss Smirle formerly was a star member of the Ottawa Collegiate Aquatic Team. It took her less than a minute to dive from the Bronson Bridge, clutch the child as he was sinking and safely bring him home to shore.

The boy fell into the water from a pier of the bridge on which he was playing.

 

Saturday May 11, 1929

Kitten shows its Liking for the Prince

London – A kitten Saturday selected, of all the gathering of the “Toch H” was veterans society in Church House, Westminster, the Prince of Wales with which to make friends. Delegates from all Britain present to see the Prince light the lamps of maintenance for new branches let their attention wander when the animal jumped on the arm of the chair of the Prince, and showed lively pleasure at his stroking its head.

Once the Kitten deserted the Prince for a caress from Field Marshal Lord Plumer, but soon returned to the heir to the throne, and slept in his chair for the remainder of the meeting.

 

Monday May 13, 1929

Editor’s Comments:

The Younger Generation

It is odd that of all the critics of youth who go on earning their weekly guineas by tapping out on their typewriters the old tale of cocktails late nights, immodest speech and scanty clothing not one, so far as I am aware, her pointed out the one fundamental failing of the whole of the younger generation – that is their almost complete lack of any qualitative standards. They spend half their lives learning which side of their bread is buttered when they cannot tell the difference between butter and margarine.

 

Monday May 13, 1929

Girl Meets Wolf

Apsley – Miss Amy Lean filled the role of a modern Red Riding Hood on Tuesday afternoon when walking through a fellow close to the house, she came face to face with a large wolf. Only a few yards separated them, but owing probably to the fact that the lady was accompanied by her dog, unlike the wolf of the fairy tale, it evinced no interest for a closer acquaintanceship, but retreated to the woods, much to her relief.