American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870-1940


American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870-1940

The International Quilt Study Center Collections

Edited by Marin F. Hanson and Patricia Cox Crews

496 pages
812 color photographs


April 2009


$90.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich has remarked, “Much of the social history of early America has been lost to us precisely because women were expected to use needles rather than pens.” This book, part of the multivolume series of the International Quilt Study Center collections, recovers a swath of that lost history and shows us some of America’s treasured material culture as it was pieced and stitched into place.
American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870–1940 examines the period’s quilts from both an artistic and a historical perspective. From pieced block to Crazy style to Colonial Revival examples, as well as one-of-a-kind creations, the full array of style and design appears in this book covering seven decades of quiltmaking. The contributing authors provide critical information regarding the modern and anti-modern tensions that persisted throughout this era of America’s coming of age, from the Civil War to World War II. They also address the textile technology and cultural context of the times in which the quilts were created, with an eye to the role that industrialization and modernization played in the evolution of techniques, materials, and designs. With full-color photographs of over 587 quilts, American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870-1940 offers a new visual and tactile understanding of American culture and society, bridging the transition from traditional folk culture to the age of mass production and consumption.

Author Bio

Marin F. Hanson is curator of exhibitions at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Her scholarly articles have appeared in Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture and Uncoverings: Research Papers of the American Quilt Study Group.
Patricia Cox Crews is the director of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum and a professor in the Department of Textiles, Clothing, and Design at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She has edited many books, including A Flowering of Quilts (Nebraska 2001), and is coeditor of Nebraska Quilts and Quiltmakers (Bison Books, 2003).


"This is certain to become a valued addition to the quilter's or textile historian's reference library."—Sandy Amazeen,

"With more than 587 color photos, this far-reaching volume belongs in the hands of anyone who loves quilts and the stories connecting them to the modern world."—Quiltmaker

"American Quilts in the Modern Age shines as an intelligent, informed, and elegantly produced presentation of quilts fashioned from the 1870s through the mid-20th century."—B. L. Herman, CHOICE

"This extraordinarily impressive and beautifully designed large book provides valued insights and understanding of American history, art and culture, as well as the contributions of women to American society and the impact and influence of technological advances on textile, particularly quilts."—George W. Neubert, Prairie Fire

Table of Contents



Introduction: American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870<EN>1940    

      Marin F. Hanson

1. American Adaptation: Block-Style Quilts     

      Barbara Brackman and Marin F. Hanson

2. Building on a Foundation: Log Cabin Quilts  

      Patricia Cox Crews, Carolyn Ducey, Marin F. Hanson, and Jonathan


3. Regularly Irregular: Crazy Quilts     

      Beverly Gordon and Marin F. Hanson

4. Simple and Complex: Allover-Style Quilts    

      Laurel Horton

5. Perfecting the Past: Colonial Revival Quilts

      Virginia Gunn

6. Repackaging Tradition: Pattern and Kit Quilts     

      Merikay Waldvogel, Deborah Rake, and Marin F. Hanson

7. Innovation and Imagination: One-of-a-Kind and Niche Quilts    

      Jonathan Holstein, Merikay Waldvogel, and Marin F. Hanson



Selected Bibliography  



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