Books and Magazine Articles · Fabulous Antiques

My Spun Cotton Library

1/24/10 I’ve received a couple of very nice notes from Connie Johnson, that  included two additional book titles and an excellent website address.  Thank you Connie for sharing!  I’ve added Connie’s information to this post and ordered both of the books that she recommended.


You have probably all noticed that there is very little information about spun cotton ornaments in print.  I have been hunting for books and magazine articles on the topic for many years.

Here is a list of the information and photographs that I have found.  I’ll be updating this post when I come across new material.  Almost all of the following books and magazines are out of print, but you may still be able to find copies with a little work.

In the Time-Life book there is a tantalizing mention of  “American ladies’ magazines of the period” that gave instructions for creating cotton ornaments.  I have yet to find any such instructions, but I haven’t given up the search!


American Country- A Country Christmas by Time-Life Books, pages 146 & 147.  Three paragraphs of information and two great photographs of antique people, animal, fruit and vegetable ornaments.

Country Home An Old-Fashioned Christmas by Meredith Corporation Books copyright 1992, pages 92 & 93.  Four paragraphs of information and two nice photographs of people, animal, fruit and vegetable ornaments.

Deck the Halls – Treasures of Christmas Past by Robert M Merck.   Six pages of spun cotton ornament photographs with captions.

Christmas Past by Robert Brenner.  Eleven pages of information and photographs.


Early American Life, December 2001, cover plus pages 34 & 35.  Article – A Spirit of Stewardship The Conant Tavern by Gladys Montgomery Jones, photographs by Craig Becker.  Cover photo, plus two additional photographs of people, vegetable and fruit ornaments.  If you happen to read my Izannah Walker blog too, you may recognize this same article listed there because there is a photograph of an Izannah Walker doll in it.  Obviously Dianne and Arnie Halpern, whose home is the focus of the article, are my kind of people! 🙂  They even have some of the original stencilling remaining on their walls.

Early American Life, Christmas 2005, pages 63, 64 & 65.  Photographs of new spun cotton ornaments in the Directory of Traditional American Crafts – Holiday.  My ornaments are the ones pictured on pages 64 & 65.

Early American Life, Christmas 2008, page 10.  Photographs of two spun cotton girls, along with many other antique ornaments.  Pages 52 & 67, photographs of several new spun cotton ornaments in the Directory of Traditional American Crafts – Holiday.

Early American Life, Christmas 2009, pages 7, 8 & 9, excellent close-up photos of  16 antique spun cotton ornaments.  Page 59, photo of five new spun cotton ornaments in the Directory of Traditional American Crafts – Holiday.  This is another magazine that may look familiar to followers of  It’s the same issue of Early American Life that my article on Common Linen Dolls appears in.


Vintage/ Antique/ Old Christmas Ornaments – Homepage of Barbara Romer

* A new website to check out .  Thank you Yvonne for recommending it!

4 thoughts on “My Spun Cotton Library

  1. Hi Paula.
    love your spun cotton blog. Here are a few books that I like and where I first found some spun cotton photos:

    Christmas Ornaments Lights & Decorations
    by George Johnson 1987 (white cover w/Santa & two ornaments) He describes the origin of the ornaments, the different types of cotton ornaments (at least three)and there are photos. This book also covers other Christmas

    Another of his books:
    Christmas Ornaments Lights And Decorations by George Johnson, 1997 (red cover with 2 Heubach spun cottons on top rigth cover). This one along with the white book are the best two volumes to have. The red book refrences the white one and has more photos and another well written description.

    The first book can be hard to find and both have the same title, there are more books in this series (thus the color/cover art description)

    George Johnson refrences the book:
    Holidays Victorian Women Celebrate in Pennsylvania by Nada Gray 1983
    this one features the home made ornaments of the sheet cotton style (remember there are 3 types of cottons) and those that use glanzbilders (known as scrap). This is a nice supplement to the spun cotton information in Johnson’s books.

    Thanks for providing this great resource and helping to bring back this lost craft.

    Maria Pahls

    1. Maria,

      How nice to hear from you. Thank you for adding these additional books, I’m going to start hunting for them right away. I also came across a couple of more books last week that I need to add to the list. It’s pretty difficult for people to find much in the way of reference material for spun cotton ornaments, so I thought if we all banded together and pooled information it would help.

      I’m glad you like the blog. I have a few time management issues, so I don’t get new posts up as frequently as I would like to, but I can always hope! Maybe I’ll get caught up on everything else at some point down the line and then my posts will get a bit more frequent. 🙂


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