Since its establishment in 1994, the Massachusetts Quilt Documentation Project (MassQuilts) has documented over 6,000 quilts originating or currently owned in this state.
This summer, many historically significant or esthetically appealing quilts documented by MassQuilts will be on display at the New England Quilt Museum in an exhibit entitled, Massachusetts Quilts: Our Common Wealth. The exhibit runs from July 17 through September 20, 2009.
Guest curated by noted quilt historian and lecturer Vivien Lee Sayre, the exhibition will bring together not only quilts, but also historic photographs and memorabilia to tell many of the compelling stories of the state’s social history.
Among the quilts featured in the exhibit are:
- A Civil War quilt, made for a Northern soldier recovering from his captivity in the Andersonville prisoner of war camp.
- A c1910 silk quilt, made by Italian immigrant Josephine Rossi Anzalone of Cambridge, from silks given her by her sisters, both of whom worked in the dressmaking industry.
- A patchwork and appliqué quilt featuring scenes of farm life, made as a group by women in South Royalston in the 1880s, with stylized images of neighbors, favorite household items, local sights.
Also featured in the exhibit is a representational of author Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”, designed by Marion Cheever Whiteside Newton, early 1800 quilts, Depression Era quilts, and fund raiser and temperance quilts created by charitable groups across the state. This groundbreaking exhibition will bring together quilts from all across Massachusetts, truly representing the fascinating history of this unique American art form, as seen through the lens of Massachusetts history.
Please visit the New England Quilt Museum’s web site for more information.
Photos: The Hexagon detail is from a paper-pieced quilt made by Sarah Clarke (Ellis) Ide c. 1845; the other two photos are of a quilt made c. 1865 by Emily Monroe.