“Cathedral Window” Quilt

Quilt detail

Donated by Mary Jo Myers

This circa 1970 “Cathedral Window” quilt was made by Charlotte Shepard (1890–1977) of Fayetteville.

“Cathedral Window” became a popular quilt pattern in the mid-1900s. A Library of Congress article on Virginia quilter Ila Patton notes, “Unlike typical quilts in which the top is constructed and then joined with two other layers to form the finished quilt, the “Cathedral Window” is formed by folding and sewing squares of fabric together. Contrasting squares of fabric are inserted across the seams, producing an interlocking curved design. A “Cathedral Window” does not require quilting, which is considered an advantage by many quilters, particularly those with poor eyesight or limited mobility.” From Blue Ridge Quilters: Ila Patton

Donated by Mary Jo Myers

This circa 1970 “Cathedral Window” quilt was made by Charlotte Shepard (1890–1977) of Fayetteville.

Cathedral Window became a popular quilt pattern in the mid-1900s. A Library of Congress article on Virginia quilter Ila Patton notes, “Unlike typical quilts in which the top is constructed and then joined with two other layers to form the finished quilt, the “Cathedral Window” is formed by folding and sewing squares of fabric together. Contrasting squares of fabric are inserted across the seams, producing an interlocking curved design. A “Cathedral Window” does not require quilting, which is considered an advantage by many quilters, particularly those with poor eyesight or limited mobility.” From Blue Ridge Quilters: Ila Patton

Quilt detail

Pocket Watch

Waltham pocket watchDonated by Opal Jones

This 1897 pocket watch made by the American Waltham Watch Company. When A. L. “Lee” Gregg asked Elizabeth “Betty” Jones to marry him in the late 1890s, she asked for a pocket watch instead of a wedding ring. The couple, both from Springdale, married on November 30, 1897.

Betty Jones Gregg was aunt to Harvey Jones (founder of Springdale-based Jones Truck Lines) and his sister, Opal.

Waltham pocket watch

Donated by Opal Jones

This 1897 pocket watch made by the American Waltham Watch Company. When A. L. “Lee” Gregg asked Elizabeth “Betty” Jones to marry him in the late 1890s, she asked for a pocket watch instead of a wedding ring. The couple, both from Springdale, married on November 30, 1897.

Betty Jones Gregg was aunt to Harvey Jones (founder of Springdale-based Jones Truck Lines) and his sister, Opal.

Red, White, and Blue Dress

Red, white, and blue dress, circa 1910Donated by Mary Brashears Mullen

Jessie Stewart (1892-1980) showed her patriotic spirit when she wore this dress to the annual reunion at St. Paul (Madison County). The dress dates to about 1901, so Jessie would have been about  ten years old when she wore it.

Jessie was born in Hazard, Kentucky, to James M. and Margaret Elizabeth Brashears Stewart. In 1895, the family moved to St. Paul where James ran a mercantile. Jessie attended school in St. Paul, then studied music at the University of Arkansas. Following graduation from college, she taught school in Oklahoma and in the Northwest Arkansas communities of Bentonville and Cave Springs. In 1925 she married Thomas Jacob “Jake” Gilstrap, a lumber yard operator she first met in St. Paul. Jake opened his first lumber yard in Combs (Madison County) in 1915 and went on to own lumber yards in Texas, Kansas, and Northwest Arkansas.

When Jake died in 1946, Jessie moved to Bentonville to run the family lumber business there. She became a successful businesswoman, well-known in the retail lumber trade as “Lumber Lou,” whose columns appeared regularly in trade publications for over thirty years.

Red, white, and blue dress, circa 1910

Donated by Mary Brashears Mullen

Jessie Stewart (1892-1980) showed her patriotic spirit when she wore this dress to the annual reunion at St. Paul (Madison County). The dress dates to about 1901, so Jessie would have been about  ten years old when she wore it.

Jessie was born in Hazard, Kentucky, to James M. and Margaret Elizabeth Brashears Stewart. In 1895, the family moved to St. Paul where James ran a mercantile. Jessie attended school in St. Paul, then studied music at the University of Arkansas. Following graduation from college, she taught school in Oklahoma and in the Northwest Arkansas communities of Bentonville and Cave Springs. In 1925 she married Thomas Jacob “Jake” Gilstrap, a lumber yard operator she first met in St. Paul. Jake opened his first lumber yard in Combs (Madison County) in 1915 and went on to own lumber yards in Texas, Kansas, and Northwest Arkansas.

When Jake died in 1946, Jessie moved to Bentonville to run the family lumber business there. She became a successful businesswoman, well-known in the retail lumber trade as “Lumber Lou,” whose columns appeared regularly in trade publications for over thirty years.

Ozark Nuthead Dolls

Ozark nuthead dolls“Hillbilly Wedding,” a hickory nut doll diorama, was made by Ben Smith and his wife, Ethel. The Smiths, who lived in the Fayetteville/Springdale area, made dolls and other souvenir items in the late 1940s which were sold locally and by mail order. The Smiths’ son Lavon helped with the souvenir business while attending the University of Arkansas, where he studied art.

The Shiloh Museum purchased “Hillbilly Wedding” from doll collector Hilda Geuther of Eureka Springs.

Ozark nuthead dolls

“Hillbilly Wedding,” a hickory nut doll diorama, was made by Ben Smith and his wife, Ethel. The Smiths, who lived in the Fayetteville/Springdale area, made dolls and other souvenir items in the late 1940s which were sold locally and by mail order. The Smiths’ son Lavon helped with the souvenir business while attending the University of Arkansas, where he studied art.

The Shiloh Museum purchased “Hillbilly Wedding” from doll collector Hilda Geuther of Eureka Springs.

Jigsaw Puzzle

Donated by Robert Winn

1939 Worlds' Fair jigsaw puzzleThis jigsaw puzzle was a souvenir of the 1939 New York’s World’s Fair held at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York. With a slogan of “Dawn of a New Day,”  the fair opened on April 30, 1939, the anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. At cost of $160 million, the 1939 World’s Fair’s price tag was second only to the St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. 

As part of the fair’s festivities, Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company prepared a time capsule that was buried in 1938 and sealed in 1939. Among its contents are copies of Life magazine, a kewpie doll, a pack of cigarettes, a hat made by famed designer Lilly Daché, microfilmed copies of an almanac, a dictionary, and a Sears Roebuck catalog, and an RKO newsreel. The time capsule is scheduled to be reopened 5000 years after it was sealed, in 6939.

The 1939 World’s Fair ran through the fall of 1940 and attracted more than 44 million visitors.

1939 World's Fair, showing the Perisphere, Trylon, and Four Victories of Peace sculpture.

1939 World’s Fair, showing the Theme Center (No. 1 on the jigsaw puzzle) and Four Victories of Peace sculpture. Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographer. Courtesy Library of Congress


About the donor: Robert Winn (1903–1996) was a teacher, World War II veteran, local historian, and author. Born and raised near Winslow (Washington County), he graduated from Asbury College in Kentucky and received a master’s degree from the University of Florida.

After spending much of his career as an educator in California, Winn returned home to Northwest Arkansas in 1970 where he established himself as a tireless chronicler of local history. He wrote seven books and countless articles for the Washington County Observer, the Northwest Arkansas Times, and Washington County Historical Society’s quarterly Flashback. Longtime Morning News of Northwest Arkansas journalist Kay Hall once wrote that Robert Winn “had more knowledge of state history and background information ‘in his head’ than many libraries have on their shelves.” 

Robert Winn was also a tireless supporter of the Shiloh Museum. Over the years, he donated hundreds of artifacts to the museum, including his diaries which contain daily entries spanning 70 years.

1939 Worlds' Fair jigsaw puzzle

Donated by Robert Winn

This jigsaw puzzle was a souvenir of the 1939 New York’s World’s Fair held at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York. With a slogan of “Dawn of a New Day,”  the fair opened on April 30, 1939, the anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. At cost of $160 million, the 1939 World’s Fair’s price tag was second only to the St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. 

As part of the fair’s festivities, Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company prepared a time capsule that was buried in 1938 and sealed in 1939. Among its contents are copies of Life magazine, a kewpie doll, a pack of cigarettes, a hat made by famed designer Lilly Daché, microfilmed copies of an almanac, a dictionary, and a Sears Roebuck catalog, and an RKO newsreel. The time capsule is scheduled to be reopened 5000 years after it was sealed, in 6939.

The 1939 World’s Fair ran through the fall of 1940 and attracted more than 44 million visitors.

1939 World's Fair, showing the Perisphere, Trylon, and Four Victories of Peace sculpture.

1939 World’s Fair, showing the Theme Center (No. 1 on the jigsaw puzzle) and Four Victories of Peace sculpture. Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographer. Courtesy Library of Congress


About the donor: Robert Winn (1903–1996) was a teacher, World War II veteran, local historian, and author. Born and raised near Winslow (Washington County), he graduated from Asbury College in Kentucky and received a master’s degree from the University of Florida.

After spending much of his career as an educator in California, Winn returned home to Northwest Arkansas in 1970 where he established himself as a tireless chronicler of local history. He wrote seven books and countless articles for the Washington County Observer, the Northwest Arkansas Times, and Washington County Historical Society’s quarterly Flashback. Longtime Morning News of Northwest Arkansas journalist Kay Hall once wrote that Robert Winn “had more knowledge of state history and background information ‘in his head’ than many libraries have on their shelves.” 

Robert Winn was also a tireless supporter of the Shiloh Museum. Over the years, he donated hundreds of artifacts to the museum, including his diaries which contain daily entries spanning 70 years.

Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic SP

Pentax Spotmatic SP cameraDonated by Mike Donat

This camera saw quite a bit of Northwest Arkansas history. It once belonged to longtime photojournalist Charles Bickford who worked for the Springdale News for almost 40 years. During that time he was one of the best-known photographers in Arkansas. Bickford’s subjects varied from Arkansas football, basketball, and baseball games to politicians speaking from the end of a pickup truck to everyday life events. Many of his photographs and negatives live on in Shiloh Museum’s photo archives as part of the Springdale News Collection.

Later in his career, Charles Bickford sold this Pentax camera to Mike Donat, also a photographer who, amongst a varied career, worked for the Northwest Arkansas Times, shot game and practice footage for the University of Arkansas Athletic Department, worked in Collier Drugstore’s photo department, and in 2006–2007, was the Shiloh Museum’s photographer and darkroom technician. Donat donated this camera, an iconic piece of local photojournalism history, to the Shiloh Museum in 2005.


Bo Williams, the Shiloh Museum’s current photographer/digitization project manager, shares his insight on this Pentax camera:

CAMERA INFO
– Pentax Spotmatic SP in black paint

– Originally released in 1964 but produced until 1976. However, this was likely manufactured pre-1970 due to the lens provided with it (Pentax was not very diligent with correlating their cameras’ serial numbers to specific production dates).
– Manufactured by Asahi Optical Co. in Japan but distributed by Honeywell in the United States

Pentax cameras were, and continue to be, the underdogs of the photographic world. Despite world-renowned quality and innovation, they just never seemed to find the fame that they deserved. Even the Spotmatic SP as seen above was one of the first SLR cameras to include a through-the-lens light meter, a feature that would be considered a given by today’s standards but would have been unheard of sixty years ago. As far as quality is concerned, their lenses are still considered some of the best ever produced, even when compared to contemporary offerings, while many of the camera bodies themselves are still very functional despite being 50+ years old. In fact, I use a Pentax film camera of a similar vintage myself for my own personal work and it has never let me down. Despite all of this, I would imagine that very few readers today will even recognize the Pentax name as they have always lived in the shadow of the likes of the more prevalent Canon and Nikon. This is why, when I was asked to select an artifact from our collection to be highlighted for the Artifact of the Month, I knew immediately what had to be done.

Now for a bit of camera history. Back in the day, photojournalists, press photographers, and war photographers often found themselves in precarious situations while being paid very little to do so. At the same time, budding camera manufacturers such as Pentax usually produced their cameras in two finishes; the cheaper, less durable and inherently more subtle black paint and the now infamous hallmark of any “vintage” camera, silver chrome. The aforementioned working photographers, needing to keep a low profile and some cash in their pockets to buy more film, tended to opt for the cheaper and stealthier black-paint cameras. This was all well and good for a while but then something interesting happened. These photographers found themselves at the precipice of history, quite fortuitously, with a camera in their hand. Their work went on to capture and define world history. The more notoriety the photographers gained, the more attention their cameras received. They became the rock stars of the photographic world and their cameras the equivalent of Fenders and Gibsons. These cameras that were once produced as a cost-saving measure have survived through history to become some of the most sought after and collectible pieces of photographic equipment today. A black-paint camera alone is enough to draw the eye of any photographer, but one worn down to the brass like this humble Japanese Pentax SP, proudly brandishing dents and scratches as testaments to surviving through history, is certainly worthy of attention in 2020. It might be a bit cliché, but the question has to be asked: can you imagine what this camera must have seen?

Pentax Spotmatic SP camera

Donated by Mike Donat

This camera has seen quite a bit of Northwest Arkansas history. It once belonged to longtime photojournalist Charles Bickford who worked for the Springdale News for almost 40 years. During that time he was one of the best-known photographers in Arkansas. Bickford’s subjects varied from Arkansas football, basketball, and baseball games to politicians speaking from the end of a pickup truck to everyday life events. Many of his photographs and negatives live on in Shiloh Museum’s photo archives as part of the Springdale News Collection.

Later in his career, Charles Bickford sold this Pentax camera to Mike Donat, also a photographer who, amongst a varied career, worked for the Northwest Arkansas Times, shot game and practice footage for the University of Arkansas Athletic Department, worked in Collier Drugstore’s photo department, and in 2006–2007, was the Shiloh Museum’s photographer and darkroom technician. Donat donated this camera, an iconic piece of local photojournalism history, to the Shiloh Museum in 2005.


Bo Williams, the Shiloh Museum’s photographer/digitization project manager, shares his insight on this Pentax camera:

CAMERA INFO
– Pentax Spotmatic SP in black paint

– Originally released in 1964 but produced until 1976. However, this was likely manufactured pre-1970 due to the lens provided with it (Pentax was not very diligent with correlating their cameras’ serial numbers to specific production dates).
– Manufactured by Asahi Optical Co. in Japan but distributed by Honeywell in the United States

Pentax cameras were, and continue to be, the underdogs of the photographic world. Despite world-renowned quality and innovation, they just never seemed to find the fame that they deserved. Even the Spotmatic SP as seen above was one of the first SLR cameras to include a through-the-lens light meter, a feature that would be considered a given by today’s standards but would have been unheard of sixty years ago. As far as quality is concerned, their lenses are still considered some of the best ever produced, even when compared to contemporary offerings, while many of the camera bodies themselves are still very functional despite being 50+ years old. In fact, I use a Pentax film camera of a similar vintage myself for my own personal work and it has never let me down. Despite all of this, I would imagine that very few readers today will even recognize the Pentax name as they have always lived in the shadow of the likes of the more prevalent Canon and Nikon. This is why, when I was asked to select an artifact from our collection to be highlighted for the Artifact of the Month, I knew immediately what had to be done.

Now for a bit of camera history. Back in the day, photojournalists, press photographers, and war photographers often found themselves in precarious situations while being paid very little to do so. At the same time, budding camera manufacturers such as Pentax usually produced their cameras in two finishes; the cheaper, less durable and inherently more subtle black paint and the now infamous hallmark of any “vintage” camera, silver chrome. The aforementioned working photographers, needing to keep a low profile and some cash in their pockets to buy more film, tended to opt for the cheaper and stealthier black-paint cameras. This was all well and good for a while but then something interesting happened. These photographers found themselves at the precipice of history, quite fortuitously, with a camera in their hand. Their work went on to capture and define world history. The more notoriety the photographers gained, the more attention their cameras received. They became the rock stars of the photographic world and their cameras the equivalent of Fenders and Gibsons. These cameras that were once produced as a cost-saving measure have survived through history to become some of the most sought after and collectible pieces of photographic equipment today. A black-paint camera alone is enough to draw the eye of any photographer, but one worn down to the brass like this humble Japanese Pentax SP, proudly brandishing dents and scratches as testaments to surviving through history, is certainly worthy of attention in 2020. It might be a bit cliché, but the question has to be asked: can you imagine what this camera must have seen?