Contribution of Women to Early Textile Economy Is Bandy Lecture Topic
Before the captains of our industry transformed northwest Georgia from bedspread hub to global carpet manufacturing center, there were the women. It was women like Catherine Evans Whitener and Addie Cavender Evans and Dicksie Bradley Bandy who pioneered the mass production and marketing of chenille bedspreads, robes and rugs.
Much of the labor behind the chenille wave that rolled through this region was provided by women. They hand stitched bedspreads on front porches and in living rooms of Northwest Georgia homes and cabins, making but a few pennies a piece that helped sustain their families during the dark days of the Great Depression.
Lydia Knight, director of the Roberts Library of Dalton State College, will present “Women’s Work: Chenille as an Economic Resource for Northwest Georgia during the Great Depression” in the next program of the Dicksie Bradley Bandy Memorial Lecture Series. The lecture, the last in this year’s series, will be Thursday, March 24, 7:30 p.m. in Room 105 of The James E. Brown Center at the north end of the Dalton State College campus.
The lecture series is offered by the Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia; the theme for this year’s series has been “Crafting a Culture: Women, Weaving, and Textiles in Northwest Georgia History.”
Knight’s interest in the evolution of the local economy began when she wrote an article on Catherine Evans Whitener who has been called the “Mother of the Carpet Industry.”
“I find it fascinating that one teenager and her ingenuity in figuring out how to tuft a bedspread created a cottage industry for women and eventually led to the carpet industry,” Knight said.
Knight has served the Roberts Library as director since 2007 having previously served as cataloging librarian since coming to Dalton State in 1997. Between 1997 and 2007 Knight twice served as interim librarian. An alumnus of Dalton Junior College, Knight earned the Associate of Arts in liberal arts in 1977 and the Bachelor of Arts in English and American Language and Literature from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1979. She earned her Master of Library Science degree from Georgia Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1981.The lecture is free and open to the public; seating is first-come, first-served. For more information about this lecture, or any of the programs of the Bandy Heritage Center, please contact Heather Shores at 706-272-4452.