Deep Dive: Exploring the Exhibits

Camel Brand Feed Sack Blanket

This is a feed sack blanket made of four Camel brand feed sacks, produced by the Excelsior Milling Company. These sacks once carried wheat mixed feed, manufactured and distributed in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Blankets that boast the labels suggest that the owner made it out of necessity (as seen during the Great Depression.) They could not afford to spend their time sewing and stitching a patterned quilt, and so they used the sack 'as is'.

These sacks primarily functioned to carry flour, sugar, and feed from the factories to the homes of Americans. But instead of being jettisoned after all the feed had been used, people would save the sacks for other uses, including clothing, towels, curtains, and blankets. Blankets were made by cutting open the bag to make it a rectangular swatch of fabric (as is the case with this object.) After doing this to all the sacks, one would stitch them together until an ideal size was reached, with the average being five to six sacks. It is said that one could remove the print by soaking them in kerosene or washing with soap and bleach.

On Long Island, the Great Depression impacted areas differently. Nassau County was known for being anti-Roosevelt (Franklin D. R) and anti-New Deal. Being closer to New York City, the county was densely populated and inhabited by businessmen, clerks (generally people who would commute to the city for work.) Suffolk County, unlike its counterpart, was rural, more sparsely populated with a smaller population spread over a greater area. It was largely agricultural: home to farmers, fishermen, etc. It was during this period that Long Island was subject to some of FDR's New Deal programs, with highway construction and public works projects being carried out.

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