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L2010.42.15
L2010.42.15
Hannah Huxley
(American, 1804-1876)
Star of Bethlehem, 1832
Possibly Delaware
Hannah Huxley
(American, 1804-1876)
Star of Bethlehem, 1832
Cottons
Possibly Delaware
107 x 111 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.15

This quilt's exact origin remains uncertain, an issue often encountered with Kentucky-associated quilts (and with quilts made elsewhere). A label identified its maker as Hannah Huxley, wife of Elisha Huxley. By repute, the Huxleys lived in Covington, Kentucky, at the time of the quilt's creation. However, census, land, and tax records do not place any Huxleys in the area between 1800 and 1850, nor do any Huxleys appear in the Kentucky census through 1870. Confusing matters further, some features of the quilt's design are reminiscent of examples made in Delaware and Pennsylvania; an Elisha and Hannah Huxley who married in 1826 lived in Wilmington, Delaware (this Hannah Huxley's supposed life dates were 1805-1874).

Quilts like this with large, decorated central medallions began to be made in the late eighteenth century. Their vocabulary of forms and techniques greatly influenced the development of American quilting practices of the nineteenth century. This is an especially fine example of a center medallion quilt, using costly fabrics to create a vibrant, meticulously executed design.
Hannah Huxley
(American, 1804-1876)
Star of Bethlehem, 1832
Possibly Delaware
L2010.42.15
L2010.42.35
L2010.42.35
Rose Wreath, about 1850
Valley Station, Kentucky
Rose Wreath, about 1850
Cottons
Valley Station, Kentucky
101 x 95 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.35

Beginning in the 1840s, quilts that combined white backgrounds with designs (usually floral) in red and green became increasingly popular. The style seems to have originated in the Middle Atlantic states of Pennsylvania and Maryland before spreading westward. The color combination and patterns used for many red and green quilts relate to the decoration of other household objects of the time, including professionally woven coverlets, decorative floor and wall stenciling, and painted furniture and tinwork. This quilt's symmetrical combination of stylized wreaths and undulating border, for example, is especially reminiscent of woven coverlets and carpets.
Rose Wreath, about 1850
Valley Station, Kentucky
L2010.42.35
L2010.42.43
L2010.42.43
Susan Frances Poindexter Cooper
(American, born about 1827)
Whitework Quilt, about 1850
Logan County, Kentucky
Susan Frances Poindexter Cooper
(American, born about 1827)
Whitework Quilt, about 1850
Cotton
Logan County, Kentucky
94 x 91 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.43

Though we typically think of quilts as a combination of complex geometric patterns and colorful fabrics, some quilts from the late eighteenth century through the first half of nineteenth century looked like this one: starkly white. The decoration comes only from the quilting, which provides the outline for various patterns and images. These decorative elements were given shape by stuffing cotton batting through the weave of the quilt back. The whitework quilting tradition in America derived from professionally produced European white quilts.
Susan Frances Poindexter Cooper
(American, born about 1827)
Whitework Quilt, about 1850
Logan County, Kentucky
L2010.42.43
L2010.42.27
L2010.42.27
Flowers and House, 1851
Cottons
Probably Ohio
Flowers and House, 1851
Cottons
Probably Ohio
80 x 78 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.27

This quilt bears the initials "C.S.", presumably those of its maker. Did she depict the flowers in her household garden? Perhaps, since she shows us a wide variety of flowers rather than the single, stylized flower used for many appliquéd floral quilts of the period.
Flowers and House, 1851
Cottons
Probably Ohio
L2010.42.27
L2010.42.24
L2010.42.24
Flowers, 1853
Probably Ohio
Flowers, 1853
Cottons
Probably Ohio
91 x 91 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.24

"M.J.O.", the quilter who initialed this example, designed her quilt to be appreciated both at a distance and at close range. From a distance, her diagonal arrangement of appliquéd flowers and foliage moves the eye from corner to corner. Close inspection reveals a rich array of quilted imagery arranged across a textured surface. The quilted décor drew on the popular visual vocabulary of the period. Similar ornamental subjects could be found on everything from painted furniture to glass flasks.
Flowers, 1853
Probably Ohio
L2010.42.24
L2010.42.7
L2010.42.7
Rachel L. Sutherland, Isabella McCoy, and others
(American, dates unknown)
Album Quilt Top, 1859
Western Illinois, McDonough County area
Rachel L. Sutherland, Isabella McCoy, and others
(American, dates unknown)
Album Quilt Top, 1859
Cottons
Western Illinois, McDonough County area
67 x 67 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller


Album quilts like this illustrate the social role of quilts and quilt making. The quilt top, made around 1859, is appliquéd with thirty-six different images of stylized flowers and plants. Many are initialed and a few are signed, creating an album of autographed art work, hence the name "album" or "signature quilt." An album quilt physically embodied the web of friends and kin--the ones who made and/or signed the quilt blocks--that surrounded the quilt's recipient. As such, album quilts were often made as mementos for those about to be married, about to move away, or in honor of other major life events. The album quilt emerged in the Mid-Atlantic States and quickly migrated westward.
Rachel L. Sutherland, Isabella McCoy, and others
(American, dates unknown)
Album Quilt Top, 1859
Western Illinois, McDonough County area
L2010.42.7
L2010.42.26
L2010.42.26
Stars and Flowers, 1859
Probably Ohio
Stars and Flowers, 1859
Wool embroidery on cotton
Probably Ohio
93 x 76 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.26

Rather than appliquéd fabric, "E.F.," the anonymous maker of this quilt, used embroidery to create her pattern. Even so, she remained devoted to the norms of symmetry that marked most quilts of the period. Its mix of embroidery and quilting makes this example quite rare.
Stars and Flowers, 1859
Probably Ohio
L2010.42.26
1986.12
1986.12
Virginia Mason Ivey
(American, born 1828)
Figural and Floral Quilt, about 1860
Logan County, Kentucky
Virginia Mason Ivey
(American, born 1828)
Figural and Floral Quilt, about 1860
Cotton, wool
Logan County, Kentucky
102-1/4 x 85-1/2 in.

Purchased for the Museum through the efforts of the Kentucky Quilt Project, Shelly Zegart, Eleanor Bingham Miller and Jonathan Holstein, and through the generosity of the Bingham Enterprises Foundation of Kentucky, Incorporated, and several anonymous donors 1986.12

In describing her spinster aunt, one of Virginia Ivey's nieces wrote, "She never had any lessons in Art [sic], just her own intent and creative instinct." These qualities served Ivey well; this quilt, made in Logan County, Kentucky (along the Kentucky-Tennessee border in western Kentucky), and another surviving example by Ivey at the Smithsonian Institution reflect the hand of a gifted designer and technician. Ivey was particularly adept at using raised motifs, often of a documentary nature, to decorate her quilts' white grounds. Here, she included the figure of Kentucky statesman and three-time presidential candidate Henry Clay. She copied her heroic depiction from an engraving published in the April 28, 1860, Harper's Magazine that, in turn, reproduced Joel Tanner Hart's statue of Clay erected in New Orleans in 1859.

Though not technically part of the Bingham-Miller family collection, this quilt came to the Speed thanks to Eleanor Bingham Miller and Shelly Zegart, both of whom were leaders of the Kentucky Quilt Project. During the 1980s, the KQP organized a landmark effort to find and record nineteenth-century Kentucky quilts.
Virginia Mason Ivey
(American, born 1828)
Figural and Floral Quilt, about 1860
Logan County, Kentucky
1986.12
L2011.42.67
L2011.42.67
Attributed to Emma Bridges
(American, 1842-1888)
Cherry Trees, 1860-1870
Kentucky, probably Henderson County
Attributed to Emma Bridges
(American, 1842-1888)
Cherry Trees, 1860-1870
Cotton, silk, silk velvet
Kentucky, probably Henderson County
104 x 84 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2011.42.67

This quilt has a history of ownership in Jefferson County, Kentucky, where it once belonged to Charles (1839-1912) and Emma Bridges. The couple married in Henderson County, Kentucky (located in western Kentucky along the Kentucky-Indiana border), in 1866 and were soon living in Louisville. One thus assumes that Emma Bridges probably made the quilt, perhaps around the time of either her first wedding in 1860 (to Charles Littell in Henderson County) or her later wedding to Charles Bridges. Alternately, the quilt may have been a gift to Emma.

This quilt shares strikingly similar design features with another quilt in this exhibition. It was made around 1860 in Logan County, Kentucky, by Virginia Ivey. There doesn't seem to be any family connection between Virginia Ivey and Emma Bridges, but perhaps there is some yet-to-be-discovered connection between the two women and their quilts.
Attributed to Emma Bridges
(American, 1842-1888)
Cherry Trees, 1860-1870
Kentucky, probably Henderson County
L2011.42.67
L2010.42.22
L2010.42.22
Stars, about 1866
Probably Bowling Green, Kentucky
Stars, about 1866
Cottons
Probably Bowling Green, Kentucky
87 x 65 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.22

This quilt's maker emphasized the linear quality of the pattern by incorporating pinstriped fabric into the diagonals that divide the stars. Careful attention was paid to keeping the pattern precisely pieced and symmetrical. The same care was given to its quilting.
Stars, about 1866
Probably Bowling Green, Kentucky
L2010.42.22
L2010.42.37
L2010.42.37
Flying Geese with Star, about 1880
Probably Ohio
Flying Geese with Star, about 1880
Cottons
Probably Ohio
93 x 93 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.37

Two-color, blue and white quilts were popular from the earlier decades of the nineteenth century on into the twentieth. Like many earlier green, red, and white or blue and white quilts, this blue and white example uses printed fabric.
Flying Geese with Star, about 1880
Probably Ohio
L2010.42.37
L2010.42.5
L2010.42.5
Sampler Quilt, about 1885
Possibly New York
Sampler Quilt, about 1885
Cottons
Possibly New York
79 x 68 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.5

This quilt's blocks include both traditional patterns and unique creations. Several blocks consist of images cut from printed fabrics and stitched in place, a collage-like technique known as broderie perse. Several different quilters produced the blocks, adding a social dimension to the quilt's creation. Names or initials appear in a few blocks, including the name "Alfred Beauclere." Looking at census records from the period, the name "Beauclere" (also spelled "Beauclair") had strong connections to French Canada and often appeared in border areas like upstate New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
Sampler Quilt, about 1885
Possibly New York
L2010.42.5
L2010.42.18
L2010.42.18
Lady of the Lake, about 1885
Probably Ohio
Lady of the Lake, about 1885
Cottons
Probably Ohio
79 x 69 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.18

Amid the increasingly dense visual culture of the late nineteenth century (think, for example, of the cluttered Victorian parlors seen in many period photographs), red and white quilts provided an alternative to the increasing visual complexity of American quilting of the period. Popular from about 1880 until about 1920, red and white quilts came in a variety of patterns, some quite detailed and others quite simple. Most used plain red fabric.
Lady of the Lake, about 1885
Probably Ohio
L2010.42.18
L2010.42.2
L2010.42.2
Log Cabin--Pineapple Variation, about 1890
Pennsylvania, probably southeastern area
Log Cabin--Pineapple Variation, about 1890
Cottons
Pennsylvania, probably southeastern area
78 x 65 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.2

A bold variation on the Log Cabin formula (that is, square blocks pieced from rectilinear pieces of fabric). The pattern, color choices, binding, proportions, and quilting all suggest a Pennsylvania Mennonite origin.
Log Cabin--Pineapple Variation, about 1890
Pennsylvania, probably southeastern area
L2010.42.2
L2010.42.12
L2010.42.12
Strip Quilt, about 1890
Probably Pennsylvania
Strip Quilt, about 1890
Cottons
Probably Pennsylvania
76 x 80 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.12

Entirely pieced from strips and triangles, this quilt manages to be both precise and random at the same time. As such, it illustrates one of the fundamental principles of human material expression: the ability to innovate within the confines of established norms or traditions. Here, the quilter was limited by accepted practices of late nineteenth-century quilting including the use of a rectilinear format, the preference for a grid-like arrangement of elements, and the emphasis on symmetrical patterns. Though bound by these constraints, the quilt maker still avoided the use of a familiar pattern and, by using multiple fabrics, introduced an unpredictable vitality to her work.
Strip Quilt, about 1890
Probably Pennsylvania
L2010.42.12
L2010.42.23
L2010.42.23
Sampler Quilt, about 1890
Probably Pennsylvania
Sampler Quilt, about 1890
Cottons
Probably Pennsylvania
86 x 70 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.23

As the name implies, sampler quilts incorporate a variety of different patterns. This example mixes abstract, geometric blocks with pictorial elements. The latter includes the heart-in-hand at the center, a pair of coffin-shaped pieces with crosses, and an anchor. These may relate to one of the many fraternal societies popular during the late nineteenth century. The International Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), for example, used the heart-in-hand symbol on its ritual staffs and used the coffin as a symbol of universal equality (at death, all are equal). Though organized by and for men, fraternal societies developed women's auxiliaries beginning in the 1850s. As a result, the symbols of these groups, most often the Masons and the IOOF, found their way into quilts. Quilts associated with fraternal societies helped reinforce the social bonds that connected group members.
Sampler Quilt, about 1890
Probably Pennsylvania
L2010.42.23
L2010.42.29
L2010.42.29
Stars and Double Chain, about 1890
Cottons
Probably Kentucky
Stars and Double Chain, about 1890
Cottons
Probably Kentucky
70 x 59 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.29

During the late nineteenth century, many quilt designs became increasingly complex, whether in their patterns, in the number of fabric pieces required, or a combination of the two. The maker of this quilt used hundreds upon hundreds of postage-stamp sized pieces of fabric. As such, the quilt is not only a remarkable example of quilt making, but an interesting index of some of the printed cotton fabrics available at the end of the nineteenth century.
Stars and Double Chain, about 1890
Cottons
Probably Kentucky
L2010.42.29
L2010.42.39
L2010.42.39
Log Cabin--Barn Raising Variation, about 1890
Pennsylvania, probably southeastern area
Log Cabin--Barn Raising Variation, about 1890
Cottons
Pennsylvania, probably southeastern area
84 x 77 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.39

Like so many other American quilters, Mennonite makers in southeastern Pennsylvania fell for the Log Cabin pattern and its many optically dazzling variations. The region's Mennonite quilters also favored sawtooth effects like that on the quilt's inner border. By using plain cottons, the maker of this example brought some simplicity to the design.
Log Cabin--Barn Raising Variation, about 1890
Pennsylvania, probably southeastern area
L2010.42.39
L2010.42.40
L2010.42.40
Box, about 1890
Southeastern Pennsylvania
Box, about 1890
Cottons
Southeastern Pennsylvania
82 x 82 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.40

This quilt's bold design and colors connect it to southeastern Pennsylvania, where it could have been created by a Mennonite quilter.
Box, about 1890
Southeastern Pennsylvania
L2010.42.40
L2010.42.3
L2010.42.3
Bricks, about 1900
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Bricks, about 1900
Wools
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
84 x 85 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.3

During the late nineteenth century, some members of the Mennonite Church separated to establish more conservative communities. They became known as Old Order Mennonites and their beliefs aligned them fairly closely to the Old Order Amish.

This quilt likely came from an Old Order Mennonite community and is thus similar to Amish work from Lancaster County, notably in its use of wool, its subdued colors, and its wide border. The quilting, however, does not incorporate Lancaster Amish-associated patterns in the border or elsewhere. Nor does the quilt have the wide binding along its edges found on many Amish quilts from the area.
Bricks, about 1900
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
L2010.42.3
L2010.42.8
L2010.42.8
Cactus Basket, about 1900
Probably Ohio
Cactus Basket, about 1900
Cottons
Probably Ohio
35 x 34 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.8

Like so many quit patterns, Cactus Basket (a pattern name that dates to at least the late nineteenth or early twentieth century) reduces realistic subjects to geometric abstractions. Layers of geometric structure--from the grid that divides the surface to the forms that fill the grid--shaped the design and execution of many American quilts. The geometry of quilts provided a set of rules, whether spoken or unspoken, that allowed for innovation while maintaining a shared set of expectations.
Cactus Basket, about 1900
Probably Ohio
L2010.42.8
L2010.42.31
L2010.42.31
Mary Shrock
(American, dates unknown)
Tumbling Blocks, about 1910
Holmes County, Ohio
Mary Shrock
(American, dates unknown)
Tumbling Blocks, about 1910
Cottons
Holmes County, Ohio
78 x 85 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.31

The Old Order Amish of Holmes County, in east-central Ohio, followed their Pennsylvania counterparts by producing quilts that avoided representational designs and the use of printed fabrics. However, community norms among the Old Order Amish in Ohio allowed the use of a far wider range of patterns than prevailed in most Pennsylvania Amish communities. Thus one encounters vibrant patterns like this Tumbling Blocks quilt.
Mary Shrock
(American, dates unknown)
Tumbling Blocks, about 1910
Holmes County, Ohio
L2010.42.31
L2010.42.46
L2010.42.46
Flossie Sheriff McClure
(American, born 1892)
Log Cabin--Barn Raising Variation, 1910-1915
Lexington, Kentucky
Flossie Sheriff McClure
(American, born 1892)
Log Cabin--Barn Raising Variation, 1910-1915
Cottons, wools and silks
Lexington, Kentucky
75-1/2 x 74 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.46

This quilt's history indicates that it was made by Flossie (Florence) McClure and her mother, Sallie, between 1910 and 1915. They chose one of the many variations of the Log Cabin pattern. Log Cabin quilts consist of square blocks, each pieced together from rectilinear strips of fabric. Manipulating the strips' arrangement, their colors, their shades, or some combination of the three produces different optical effects. The exact origins of the Log Cabin concept remain uncertain. The United States? Britain? Whatever the source, Log Cabin patterns became popular in the United States during the late nineteenth century and remain popular among quilters still today.
Flossie Sheriff McClure
(American, born 1892)
Log Cabin--Barn Raising Variation, 1910-1915
Lexington, Kentucky
L2010.42.46
L2010.42.13
L2010.42.13
Flying Geese and Diamond in the Square, about 1915
Probably Ohio
Flying Geese and Diamond in the Square, about 1915
Cottons
Probably Ohio
74 x 74 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.13

Amid the increasingly dense visual culture of the late nineteenth century (think, for example, of the cluttered Victorian parlors seen in many period photographs), red and white quilts provided an alternative to the increasing visual complexity of American quilting of the period. Popular from about 1880 until about 1920, red and white quilts came in a variety of patterns, some quite detailed and others quite simple. Most used plain red fabric.
Flying Geese and Diamond in the Square, about 1915
Probably Ohio
L2010.42.13
L2010.42.41
L2010.42.41
Diamond in the Square, 1915-1925
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Diamond in the Square, 1915-1925
Wools
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
79 x 79 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.41


The Diamond in the Square pattern was among the earliest produced in the Old Order Amish community of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (located in the southeastern corner of the state). The pattern is also virtually unique to the Lancaster County Amish. The finest pieces, this quilt included, were made during the first few decades of the twentieth century. The Diamond in the Square design has come to epitomize Amish quilting traditions, although it was derived from non-Amish quilts that featured large, square center panels.

Along with its pattern, the quilt incorporates many other elements typical of Lancaster County Old Order work: its square format, its use of wool rather than cotton, its wide outside border and binding, and its extraordinary quilting.
Diamond in the Square, 1915-1925
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
L2010.42.41
L2010.42.9
L2010.42.9
Joseph's Coat, about 1920
Southeastern Pennsylvania, probably Lancaster County
Joseph's Coat, about 1920
Cottons
Southeastern Pennsylvania, probably Lancaster County
80 x 80 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.9

In the King James Version of the Bible, Genesis 37:3 reads, "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors." The colorful, strip pattern known as Joseph's Coat references this passage, one of many Biblical allusions associated with American quilts. The version of Joseph's Coat seen here was often used in southeastern Pennsylvania where it was made by both Mennonite and non-Mennonite quilter makers.
Joseph's Coat, about 1920
Southeastern Pennsylvania, probably Lancaster County
L2010.42.9
L2010.42.11
L2010.42.11
Delectable Mountains, about 1920
Kentucky
Delectable Mountains, about 1920
Cottons
Kentucky
81 x 69 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.11


Rather than dividing the quilt's surface into a flat-looking grid, patterns like Delectable Mountains use concentric rectangles to create three dimensional effects. The pattern's name comes from the English author John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, which was first published in 1678. Bunyan's religious allegory depicts the pilgrimage towards salvation. His "delectable mountains" offer refuge and refreshment to the pilgrims.
Delectable Mountains, about 1920
Kentucky
L2010.42.11
L2010.42.30
L2010.42.30
House or Schoolhouse, about 1920
Probably Kentucky
House or Schoolhouse, about 1920
Cottons
Probably Kentucky
78 x 71 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.30

The House or Schoolhouse pattern, popular beginning in the later nineteenth century, typically consisted of a grid of smaller, identical houses rather than the large, central image seen here. The quilt's subject evokes idealized memories: the old home place, school days. Quilts, from their design to their production to their veneration by later generations, are freighted with memories, both real and ideal.
House or Schoolhouse, about 1920
Probably Kentucky
L2010.42.30
L2010.42.21
L2010.42.21
Cats and Pumpkins, about 1930
Probably Eastern Pennsylvania
Cats and Pumpkins, about 1930
Cottons
Probably Eastern Pennsylvania
78 x 78 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.21

Like many twentieth-century pictorial quilts, this example possesses a playful sense of humor and was clearly made for seasonal decoration.
Cats and Pumpkins, about 1930
Probably Eastern Pennsylvania
L2010.42.21
L2010.42.32
L2010.42.32
Mary Miller
(American, dates unknown)
Triple Irish Chain, about 1930
Holmes County, Ohio
Mary Miller
(American, dates unknown)
Triple Irish Chain, about 1930
Cottons
Holmes County, Ohio
90 x 74 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.32

From the 1920s to the 1940s, black backgrounds became popular in some Midwestern Amish communities, most notably with the Old Order Amish of east-central Ohio. The contrast between black ground and brightly colored fabrics produced vibrant results.
Mary Miller
(American, dates unknown)
Triple Irish Chain, about 1930
Holmes County, Ohio
L2010.42.32
L2010.42.20
L2010.42.20
Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project
Horse, about 1939
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project
Horse, about 1939
Cottons
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
59 x 41 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.20

This appliquéd coverlet was one of several patterns produced during the Great Depression by Milwaukee's WPA Handicraft Project. The design, known as Horse, was produced in quantity and originally cost $1.25.

During the Depression, the Federal Works Progress Administration (known after 1939 as the Work Projects Administration) developed many programs aimed at providing employment. The WPA Handicraft Project in Milwaukee employed unskilled women (and some men) to make everything from toys to woven fabrics to appliquéd quilts and coverlets. The products were sold across the country to federal, state, and local government offices, hospitals, orphanages, and other agencies. The workforce in the Milwaukee project was racially integrated, perhaps the only WPA program in the country so organized.
Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project
Horse, about 1939
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
L2010.42.20
L2010.42.10
L2010.42.10
Burgoyne Surrounded, about 1940
Holmes County, Ohio
Burgoyne Surrounded, about 1940
Cottons
Holmes County, Ohio
87x 77 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.10

Though Old Order Amish seek to set themselves apart, they do adopt and modify practices from the world that surrounds them, quilting included. The pattern used here, for example, was popular with the "English" (as the Old Order Amish traditionally referred to outsiders), having been published in several sources from the 1890s through the 1930s. The quilt's execution, however, follows Ohio Amish practices of the 1940s including the use of pales blues, striking contrasts between light and dark fabrics, and the use of white thread for its quilting.
Burgoyne Surrounded, about 1940
Holmes County, Ohio
L2010.42.10
L2010.42.14
L2010.42.14
Nine Patch, about 1940
Taylor County, Wisconsin
Nine Patch, about 1940
Cottons
Taylor County, Wisconsin
90 x 73 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.14

In 1925, an Old Order Amish community was established in north-central Wisconsin. Many of those who moved to the new community came from other Amish settlements in the Midwest, bringing their quilting traditions along with them. This quilt shares features with other Amish quilts from the Midwest, including the use of a black ground and the separation of the patterned squares by intervening plain squares.
Nine Patch, about 1940
Taylor County, Wisconsin
L2010.42.14
L2010.42.16
L2010.42.16
New York Beauty, about 1940
Probably Louisville, Kentucky
New York Beauty, about 1940
Cottons
Probably Louisville, Kentucky
92 x 80 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.16

Known today as New York Beauty, this pattern went by the name Crown of Thorns (and others) during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Versions from the mid-nineteenth century often used a white ground. The anonymous maker of this example, however, embraced a bold color combination, one that echoes the popular tastes of the 1930s and early 1940s.
New York Beauty, about 1940
Probably Louisville, Kentucky
L2010.42.16
L2010.42.19
L2010.42.19
Chieftain, about 1940
Probably Kentucky
Chieftain, about 1940
Cottons
Probably Kentucky
78 x 82 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.19

As more and more tourists visited the American Southwest by rail, Native American arts from the region began to influence popular culture--quilts included. This quilt's aptly named Chieftain pattern, published in newspapers in the 1930s, combines motifs and colors reminiscent of Native American blankets from the Southwest even though it was probably made in Kentucky.
Chieftain, about 1940
Probably Kentucky
L2010.42.19
L2010.42.25
L2010.42.25
House and Flower Garden, about 1940
Ohio or Indiana
House and Flower Garden, about 1940
Cottons
Ohio or Indiana
90 x 76 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.25

Grandmother's Flower Garden, a floral pattern pieced from hexagons, became one of the most popular quilt patterns of the 1920s and 1930s. The pattern name reflects the sentimentality so often associated with quilts during the period. Variations of the pattern were widely published and one could even buy pre-cut kits. This quilt's maker used the hexagons of Grandmother's Flower Garden to create flowers as well as an elaborate and highly original pictorial composition; she literally shows us a house and its flower garden.
House and Flower Garden, about 1940
Ohio or Indiana
L2010.42.25
L2010.42.4
L2010.42.4
Lila A. Kelley and Lizzie Shavers
(American, dates unknown)
Garland High School Bears, 1948-1949
Garland, Texas
Lila A. Kelley and Lizzie Shavers
(American, dates unknown)
Garland High School Bears, 1948-1949
Cottons
Garland, Texas
77 x 63 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.4

While quilts often commemorate personal and family milestones, they sometimes immortalize public events. According to oral history, this quilt was made to commemorate the success of a high school basketball team from Garland High School. Garland, a segregated, African-American school that operated from 1875 until desegregation in 1955, was located in Bowie County in northeastern Texas.

The quilt includes the embroidered names of school staff members and officials. It also features the school's mascot, a bear, atop a map of Bowie County. Garland High School was located near Dekalb, one of the towns shown on the map. Another locale, inscribed as the "Defense area", refers to the Red River Army Depot.
Lila A. Kelley and Lizzie Shavers
(American, dates unknown)
Garland High School Bears, 1948-1949
Garland, Texas
L2010.42.4
L2010.42.49
L2010.42.49
Beatrice Pettway
(American, 1928-1988)
Strip Quilt, about 1975
Gee's Bend, Alabama
Beatrice Pettway
(American, 1928-1988)
Strip Quilt, about 1975
Cotton denim, corduroy
Gee's Bend, Alabama
77x 67 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.49

In the isolated, rural community of Gee's Bend, Alabama, quilt making runs through the community's history, from the nineteenth century through the present. Like many Gee's Bend quilts, this example combines practicality and sentiment. It uses recycled fabrics, a useful practice long associated with quilts, particularly those from rural areas. Some of the fabrics come from old work clothes and, as such, inject memory into the quilt: memories of those who wore them and the work that shaped their lives. The other face of the quilt was fashioned from strips of colorful corduroy.
Beatrice Pettway
(American, 1928-1988)
Strip Quilt, about 1975
Gee's Bend, Alabama
L2010.42.49
L2010.42.42
L2010.42.42
Adrienne Yorinks
(American, born 1956)
Sliced Pineapple, 1997
Adrienne Yorinks
(American, born 1956)
Sliced Pineapple, 1997
Cottons, silks, photographic transfers
84 x 56 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.42

Yorinks constructed her work from three layers and made use of pieced fabrics, both features found in traditional quilts. Yet she did not bind herself to the visual norms of traditional quilt patterns. Rather, she turned tradition on its head, using a heroically oversized pineapple to make humorous reference to the geometric Pineapple variation of the traditional Log Cabin pattern.
Adrienne Yorinks
(American, born 1956)
Sliced Pineapple, 1997
L2010.42.42


 
 
 


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