“A War for Liberty & Humanity”
These words in the quilt’s center block expressed Americans’ perceptions of the Spanish-American War (April 21 – August 12, 1898) as one to liberate Cubans and Filippinos from oppressive Spanish rule. The embroidered signatures of President William McKinley and others on this block continued the tradition of honoring high-ranking political and military officials. Other blocks honor Wisconsin’s enlisted soldiers and sailors (including those killed in the war), prisoners of war, and Navy Medal of Honor recipients. Four hundred Wisconsin civilians’ names also appear, suggesting the quilt was made as a fundraiser to assist the American Red Cross or another war-related relief organization.