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Knitting with Conviction.


 G89F317_012F. New York Public Library
A view of San Quentin.

I've been reading World War I-era newspapers lately (using America's Historical Newspapers, a full-text database available at all four Research Libraries), in a search of mention of famous knitters on the home front whose flying fingers supported the war effort. And yesterday I found a small article from the Daily Alaska Dispatch that painted a vivid picture of such efforts. A report from San Francisco published Dec. 7, 1917, begins: "Knitting needles are flying in the cells and workshops at the San Quentin and Folsom state penitentiaries, and a big assortment of socks, sweaters and other sartorial comforts are being turned out for the American troops in France and in the domestic service." As the article goes on to explain, both men and women inmates knit their bit, via programs administered by the Red Cross.

I'll continue reading and with luck will report on other knitters of note in the future.


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I recently read the book

I recently read the book "Knitting America" by Susan Strawn. It discusses the role of knitters in supplying the troops in both World Wars. The military put out calls for sweaters, socks, etc. and the public really responded. It's fascinating stuff.

Thanks, Brea!

I've just gotten my hands on a copy of this book, and I am grateful to you for the suggestion. It has plenty of information and is also full of details and images that show knitting's enduring popularity and style. Thanks!

what a fabulous blog! So

what a fabulous blog! So many interesting historical tidbits you have here! My mom was telling me that she saw an old film recently of Eleanor Roosevelt addressing the UN during World War II. After she made her impressive speech, she sat down and resumed her knitting! I just love that image. Imagine if Hilary Clinton were to sit down and start knitting after making a speech like that!

Thanks, Johanna!

I have heard of that First Lady's devotion to wartime knitting but I'd never heard about the episode that you describe. Thanks so much! We'll have to see if there are any White House knitters! Thanks for reading! Jessica

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