There are many antique and vintage American quilts that are signed and dated by their makers. But most are anonymous, found unsigned and disconnected from their families of origin. This anonymity holds across class, race and geography for the vast majority of quilts found in small shops and flea markets, at auctions both online and in communities.
The lack of signatures or known makers of most quilts creates, in a sense, one body of domestic creative work, a product of women collectively. That body of work is what this website reflects upon and celebrates.
I started collecting quilts around 2000, and currently have around 200. I’ve created this website as a venue for publicly sharing my collection and thoughts about American quilts. Please weigh in with your knowledge or ideas about quilts, as I share my collection and thoughts on this site in the coming years.
~Marjorie Childress, 2017
A few notes
Pronouns: “She” is used as the default pronoun rather than “he”, with acknowledgement that men have also historically produced quilts.
Dates: Quilts are given approximate dates based on research, experience and in some cases memory of fabric, construction, and motifs. Generally speaking, consider a quilt made within a 10 year period on either side of the date given. And please be in touch with your thoughts about the date of a quilt.
Ethnicity: A quilt is labeled with ethnic origin if information about the ethnicity of the quilt maker was gleaned in a context in which there was no profit potential. Many of the quilts in the collection were acquired online. After a sale, inquiries are generally made about any identifying information about the quilt maker. In a few cases, a quilt was attributed to an African American quilt maker or was purchased from an African American estate. In those cases, the quilt is labeled as African American. I do this because to do otherwise is to erase the work of women of color.
Copyright: The original images and other content contained on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
If you wish to share an original image from this website, please credit it to The Childress Collection, or link the image back to this website.
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