National Quilt Collection
"Quilt": A cover or garment made by putting wool, cotton or other substance between two cloths and sewing them together. An American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, LL.D., New York 1828.
The National Quilt Collection incorporates quilts from various ethnic groups and social classes, for quilts are not the domain of a specific race or class, but can be a part of anyone’s heritage and treasured as such. Whether of rich or humble fabrics, large in size or small, expertly crafted or not, well-worn or pristine, quilts in the National Quilt Collection provide a textile narrative that contributes to America’s complex and diverse history. The variety and scope of the collection provides a rich resource for researchers, artists, quilt-makers and others.
Part of the Division of Home and Community Life textiles collection, the National Quilt Collection had its beginnings in the 1890s. Three quilts were included in a larger collection of 18th- and 19th-century household and costume items donated by John Brenton Copp of Stonington, Connecticut. From this early beginning, the collection has grown to more than 500 quilts and quilt-related items, mainly of American origin, with examples from many states, including Alaska and Hawaii. Most of the contributions have come to the Museum as gifts, and many of those are from the quilt-makers’ families. The collection illustrates needlework techniques, materials, fabric designs and processes, styles and patterns used for quilt-making in the past 250 years. The collection also documents the work of specific quilt-makers and commemorates events in American history.
Learn more about the quilt collection and step behind the scenes with a video tour.
"National Quilt Collection - Introduction" showing 1 items.
- This bassinet quilt with a framed center design is made of high-quality plain blue and white cotton feed sack fabrics. Dorothy Overall of Caldwell, Kansas, a contestant in many sewing events in the 1950s and 1960s, pieced and appliquéd this quilt on a Pfaff sewing machine she had won in a contest. In 1959 she won the National Cotton Bag Sewing Contest that included a vacation trip to Hollywood as part of the prize.
- According to Dorothy, cotton feed sack fabric was light enough for summer, almost as nice as percale and the colors didn’t fade. Cotton sacks for flour, animal feed and other commodities were produced in many colors and prints. Flour and feed companies found that their sales were often influenced by the popularity of their sacks which were used for clothes and household items.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Overall, Dorothy
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center