Samuel Robert Bailey (1847-1906) Around 145 years ago, Bailey was the first African-American teacher and principal in the public schools of Lebanon, Ohio. Born a slave in northern Alabama, in 1863 during of the Civil War, he left the war torn South as a teenager and went to Sandusky, Ohio. Although illiterate, he saved enough money working to enter Wilberforce University. Seven years later he graduated. In 1876, He was hired to teach in the “colored” school, or African Union School, as it was sometimes called, in Lebanon. Paid as much or more than most of the district’s 9 teachers, around 1879, he was designated “principal of the colored school” and overlooked a staff of one other Black teacher. In 1883, he became the principal of the Lincoln “colored” School in Kansas City, Missouri. When he left Lebanon, The Western Star newspaper proclaimed, “Mr. Bailey is an intelligent colored gentleman, fully competent, to discharge the duties to the high position to which he has ascended. He was a good citizen and we wish him success in his home in the West.”
Written by John Zimkus
1800 Palampore, highlight of Genius of the Needle, Women's Creations in the Victorian Era (1830-1900)
Our extensive textile collection is normally packed away, in many hiding places, and only seen by its curators. However, the group decided the collection should have an art exhibition all its own, Genius of the Needle. The Palampore was voted unanimously as the star of the show!
From around 1800, this exquisite cloth was made in India, for the European Market, in the bed sizes of Europe. Woven from expensive India Cotton, these large and light bed clothes or wall hangings were decorated with exotic trees, curious flora and strange fauna, with elements of the orient in bright, vibrant colors. These cloths were dyed with a Mordant or dye fixative. Usually made from an acid or an alkaline chemical, the mordant helps the dye bite or fix to the fiber being used. This is why the colors are still so beautiful.
This particular cloth comes to us from a Ship’s captain, Captain Starbuck, in 1805. He more than likely brought it back to the United States as a present and it made its way to Ohio. It found its way to us when WCHS member, May Heary, picked it out of her mother’s trash! In 2009, an expert at the Dayton Art Institute verified its authenticity.
We hope you'll get a chance to view this amazing work of fabric art, as well as the rest of the amazing textile works currently on display in Harmon Museum. Genius of the Needle opens January 28 with a free Opening Reception and runs until March 12.
- Jeanne Doan, Assistant Director
Various staff and volunteer writers.