Primary Source Description Two

About the Quilt

The Names Project was created by a small group of strangers who came together in San Francisco there mission was to document the lives of those would die from aids. They did this by creating a memorial “the quilt” so that they could be remembered. The quilt is a reminder of the AIDS epidemic in the 1960’s. In the quilt, a single block is composed of eight individual panels, and a panel is 3 by 6-foot, which is typically the size of a human grave.According to a coordinator of the NAMES Project, Roddy Williams there are currently 5959 blocks. This is a website where all 5959 panels can be found, the panels described here is 1333:

Photo taken by Cache’ Downer

Each block has a number located on the back top right of each block. Located in the first column and the second row is the panel decribed throughout this website. The subject of this quilt’s memorial is Bobby Orr is the name on quilt 1333.

Photo captured by: Cache’ Downer

The primary colors on this quilt are blue, white, and yellow. In this description, this panel will be described in its totality from top to bottom. In sections organized by a description of a specific section. Many objects on this panel have been stitched on with what appears to be a blue thin cotton material. Some photos, mostly letters have been laminated, probably so that the photos can be preserved. The others are of a cotton-like material. First I will start describing the bold text, the letters, and then significant photos with a description of each.

Bold Text

Photo taken by Cache’ Downer

The name “Bobby Orr” with placed on the top left side of the panel in a big white bold text. That was probably placed there to emphasize that is the name of the person who they lost. The question is who is “they”? That question would hopefully be answered later in this description. Underneth his name it has the numbers (4-59 and 1-89)  which states the month and year of his death which would be April 1959 – January 1989. I assumed the 20th century because most of the surrounding panels the years of the 1900’s and the aids epidemic as stated in this description occurred during the 1960’s.

Photo captured by Cache’ Downer

On the upper right side of the letter “R” is a photo of a gentleman who I assume is Bobby Orr. This photo was placed here by the people who created the panel to not only represent who Bobby Orr was but to also show us what he looks like. He appears to be on the edge of a pier of some type surrounded by water. The photo has a brown, grey like color scale scheme. This is a use of an aural multimodality because his photo is used to describe how old he would have been if he were still and how long ago it was. It would have been helpful if the year of the photo would have been on there to provide us with a better understanding. According to Ball’s “What Are Multimodal Projects?”, multimodal “describes how we combine multiple different ways of communicating in everyday life”. There are five different modes of communication: visual, linguistic, spatial, gestural, and aural. In this panel, aural, visual, and linguistic are used.


Photo by Cache’ Downer

The letters presented on this panel are a linguistic mode of communication, meaning that it is written. Located at the bottom of the panel are four letters. Some are from Bobby to others and the rest are of these letters are from the “they” stated previously. They were the love ones that that created the panel for to represent Bobby and what he stood for. The first letter is right underneath the photo of Bobby Orr, it is a letter from both Debbie and John: who are probably the people that created this panel for him. In this letter (linguistic mode of communication) both Debbie and John are wishing Bobby a fond farewell. They state how they created this panel to help represent him and what he stood for, and they say how they miss him and that where ever he is they how that he likes the panel that they have created for him.

Photo captured by Cache’ Downer

The next letter was written by Bobby which was sent to someone he was close to, John Kappers, who is obviously someone Bobby Orr was close to. The letter has a location on it which is San Francisco this is important because there are several connections to San Fransico on this panel, so San Francisco could have been a very important location for Bobby. He begins the letter by apologizing to John because he wasn’t able to make a call to John because of how busy he was. He continues to states how saw a counselor, and how this counselor gave him some positive advice and a positive outlook on something, I assume it has to be something about aids because this is obviously something he could have been struggling with. He also states how St. Francis Hospital offered him a job as an “Assistant Unit of Wester Psychiatric Center”, there he’ll be making $11/hr. He concludes this letter by saying he met a “hunk” and that he plans on seeing them again sometime, this statement resolves any further doubt I had about Bobby being gay.

Photo by Cache’ Downer

This letter was written by Bobby to Debbie, the main topic of this letters was about his travels. He was in St. Croix but then took a boat to St. Thomas and then sailed back to Parguern. He apologizes for not being able to see her, but that it’s okay because he’s excited about their trip to New York.

These letters help give us a better understanding of who Bobby Orr was as a person and what he stood for. They are many clues within this panel that state Bobby Orr is apart of the LGBT community and some more of this will be discussed in the next section.

Significance of Photos

The photo was taken by Cache’ Downer

All of the photos on this panel a visual mode of communication to help show us what Bobby Orr stood for. On this panel, there were four photos that had “New York” or “NYC” printed on it. All of them feel like it made from a cotton material. This photo has 5 taxi cabs and on each taxi cab, there’s a significant white and black checkered-like pattern which also appears at the bottom the line of the taxis and above the name “New York” which is highlighted with the same yellow color of the taxis.

Photo by Cache Downer

This has a similar checked like the pattern but instead, this one has a blue and black pattern. This patter could hep suggest that Bobby Orr was interested in checkers and also liked playing checkers. So I began to do research first I search “New York checker 1989” (year of his death), All that came up was information about taxi cabs.

Photo by Cache Downer

I added the word “gay”, because of this photo, and also because in one of the letters Bobby mentions how he meets a hunk”. So now it’s “New York gay checker 1989”.


Photo by Cache’ Downer

What pops up was interesting because under People also search for, “The Castro in the 1980’s” was there. This is interesting because one of the photos stitched onto this panel has the name Castro on it.

Photo by Cache’ Downer

In the letters before San Francisco was brought up, and having this photo here brings it to it. According to Huffington Post, the Castro was the located in San Francisco where “a group of people who for countless years had been marginalized, cast- out, even hated came to live in a neighborhood where they built their own vibrant culture.” Thus, creating the name of my website “The Castro”.



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