Hands to the Spindle: Texas Women and Home Textile Production, 1822-1880

Overview


It is said one piece of fabric can tell of the hardships, blessings, and realities of a woman’s life, as well as her community’s life.

In nineteenth-century Texas women’s hands created most of the clothes their families wore, the blankets used to cover their tired bodies, and the textiles that furnished their homes. Spinning, weaving, dyeing, and knitting of clothing and linens gave them the [palette] to display their abilities and their dreams of a better future. These ...

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Overview


It is said one piece of fabric can tell of the hardships, blessings, and realities of a woman’s life, as well as her community’s life.

In nineteenth-century Texas women’s hands created most of the clothes their families wore, the blankets used to cover their tired bodies, and the textiles that furnished their homes. Spinning, weaving, dyeing, and knitting of clothing and linens gave them the [palette] to display their abilities and their dreams of a better future. These day-to-day activities of Texas women spinners and weavers come to life in the award-winning author Paula Mitchell Marks’ Hands to the Spindle.

The hum of the spinning wheel and the clatter of the loom provided regular accompaniment to the lives of many Texas women and their families.

Producing much-needed garments and cloth also provided an escape from the worries and isolation of frontier life. One charming early chronicler, Mary Crownover Rabb, kept her spinning wheel whistling all day and most of the night because the spinning kept her “from hearing the Indians walking around hunting mischief.”

Through the stories of real women and an overview of their textile crafts, Paula Mitchell Marks introduces readers to a functional art rarely practiced in our more hurried times. Photographs of some of their actual handiwork and evocative pen sketches of women at work and the tools and dye plants they used, skillfully drawn by artist Walle Conoly, bring the words to life.

Written in an interesting and informative style, this study, the will be valuable for western history buffs, specialists in the field of spinning and weaving, and readers interested in adding another dimension to their knowledge of women’s studies.

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Editorial Reviews

Stephen L. Hardin)
"Like all truly great works, it transcends pat categories. Readers will find none of the trendy cant and rant one has come to expect from the sisterhood of gender feminists. Dr. Marks demonstrates a clear admiration for her subjects, but never allows that affection to compromise her objectivity. This book would be a wonderful present from a mother to her daughter, but perhaps an even better gift from a father to his son. . . . The book is a delight to read, comfortable to hold, and a treat for the eyes."—Stephen L. Hardin, rec’d 4/24/96
Stephen L. Hardin
“Like all truly great works, it transcends pat categories. Readers will find none of the trendy cant and rant one has come to expect from the sisterhood of gender feminists. Dr. Marks demonstrates a clear admiration for her subjects, but never allows that affection to compromise her objectivity. This book would be a wonderful present from a mother to her daughter, but perhaps an even better gift from a father to his son. . . . The book is a delight to read, comfortable to hold, and a treat for the eyes.”—Stephen L. Hardin, rec’d 4/24/96
Stephen L. Hardin (from pre-pub copy

“Like all truly great works, it transcends pat categories. Readers will find none of the trendy cant and rant one has come to expect from the sisterhood of gender feminists. Dr. Marks demonstrates a clear admiration for her subjects, but never allows that affection to compromise her objectivity. This book would be a wonderful present from a mother to her daughter, but perhaps an even better gift from a father to his son. . . . The book is a delight to read, comfortable to hold, and a treat for the eyes.”--Stephen L. Hardin (from pre-pub copy, rec’d 4/24/96
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780890966990
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/1996
  • Series: Clayton Wheat Williams Texas Life Series , #5
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author


Paula Mitchell Marks is a professor of history at Saint Edward’s University in Austin. She has written highly acclaimed books on western history, including Turn Your Eyes Toward Texas: Pioneers Sam and Mary Maverick, also published by Texas A&M University Press.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Legacy and Contexts 3
2 The Early Years, 1822-1836 26
3 The Republic and Early Statehood Years, 1836-1860 49
4 The Civil War and the West Texas Frontier, 1860-1880 74
Notes 107
Bibliography 121
Index 129
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