Many women found ways to help build
their communities and to support the causes they cared about, be it buying an organ for the church, helping
the needy around the world, or supporting a political candidate
or cause. Fundraising quilts were often at the heart of these
Maker unknown, made in Beatrice, Nebraska
69" x 69"
International Quilt Study Center, James Collection, 1997.007.0678
Fundraising quilts in the early decades of the twentieth century
were often redwork - red embroidery on a white background. This
quilt top is a cloth record of the early history of Beatrice,
Nebraska, commemorating both the pioneers and early businesses
in that community. Do you recognize any of the names?
Ladies Independent Club, Kearney, Nebraska
92" x 80.5"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Mrs. J. S. Canaday,
Before 1920 women did not have the right to vote in national
elections, but they still found ways to voice their opinions
and to participate in the political process. This quilt features
the names of Independent (Populist) Party candidates who challenged
Republican and Democratic nominees on the national, state, and
county level, in 1892. The quilt was raffled and raised fifty
dollars for the Independent Party campaign coffers.
Maker unknown, probably made in St. Louis, Missouri
66.5" x 59"
International Quilt Study Center, James Collection, 1997.007.0247
Was this quilter making a political statement when she placed
the printed political ribbon in the center of her quilt? The
image is believed to be that of James Gillespie Blaine, who ran
unsuccessfully as the Republican presidential candidate in 1884.
The face partially concealed behind Blaine may be John Alexander
Logan, candidate for vice-president on the ticket in 1884. Logan
is also known for establishing the Memorial Day holiday in 1868.
Maker, location unknown
1912 or Later
59" x 76"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Mr. and Mrs. Warren
Pershing, New York, New York, 7701-11
Quilt makers often expressed their admiration for public figures
by presenting them with a quilt. This forty-eight star flag belonged
to Gen. John J. Pershing, who instructed military cadets at the
University of Nebraska from 1891 to 1895 and went on to fame
as commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during
World War I. While we don't know exactly when the quilt was made,
there is a clue in the number of stars on the quilt. Arizona
became the forty-eighth state in 1912, so the quilt was made
sometime after 1912.
Maker, location unknown
86" x 69"
International Quilt Study Center, James Collection, 1997.007.0395
A revival of interest in U.S. colonial history took place in
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries following centennial
celebrations in 1876. Quilt makers in both rural and urban areas
made quilts from patterns named after events in early American
history. The name Burgoyne Surrounded is a reference to the defeat
and surrender of the English General Burgoyne in the American
Women of Martell, Nebraska
84.5" x 72"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Harriet Moller, Palm
Desert, California, 11694-1
When, in 1916, the women of Martell, Nebraska, wanted to raise
funds for the Red Cross, they decided to make a quilt and auction
it off. Fifty cents was charged to each of the 672 residents
of Martell, Nebraska, whose names appear. The quilt was purchased
at auction for $75 by the father of Fern Vanderhook, a participant
in the making of the quilt. In total, the women of Martell found
a way to raise $411 for a cause they cared about. Can you find
Fern's name on this quilt?
Maker unknown, made in Nebraska
Circa 1890 - 1910
69" x 67.5"
International Quilt Study Center, Nebraska State Quilt Guild,
The political leanings of this quilt maker can be read in the
various ribbons that are incorporated into the quilt's blocks.
One from the "Bryan Club" supports the unsuccessful
presidential campaign of Nebraskan William Jennings Bryan in
1896. Another recognized the inaugural of Nebraska governor John
Thayer on January 3, 1889. A third ribbon indicates support of
Populist candidate W. A. McKeighan, who served as Nebraska's
U.S. Congressional Representative from 1891 until 1895. His slogan
reads "More Money and Less Misery."
Estella Douglass Gage, Lincoln, Nebraska
66" x 66.5"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Mary M. Barry, Lincoln,
This crazy quilt is a textile memory book of Grand Army of the
Republic reunions, but hidden in this quilt is one ribbon addressing
a political issue of the day. Can you find the prohibition ribbon?
Estella Eldora Douglass, the maker of this quilt, came from Iowa
with her widowed mother to homestead in Franklin County, Nebraska.
In 1874, she married James Dudley Gage, a Civil War veteran who
had also come to Nebraska to homestead. Estella made this quilt