Project: The Bed Heads of Treadwell, NY



This collection came from the local legend of “the Bed Heads,” a group of young ruffians who would terrorize adults in the town in the nights leading up to the great Harvest Ball. The Bed Heads would leave symbols made out of sticks or scrawl chalk-written messages on their doors, making wild noises at different times of night to disrupt peaceful sleepers.

The Bed Heads notoriously received their name after making cloaks and hoods from coverlets and the small tapestries brought back from Europe. The group consisted of two sisters, Ruth and Mabel Harper, and their friend Wattles Bradley. Both Ruth and Mabel were eventually tried--but not convicted--for killing a Mr. Sluman Burr, their math teacher. They would have never been found out, until one morning when Ruth decided to wear one of the cloaks to Sunday Mass. Some people said she acted out of jealousy and spite after Mabel became engaged to the young Mr. Bradley.

The coats and jackets in this small collection are made from Antique coverlets and vintage tapestries. They were cut from the cocoon coat and cropped cocoon jacket that I developed years ago. Seen here, Ruby Rose Hill and Coco Hill play Ruth and Mabel Harper.