about

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.

Find me on Facebook, at Quilt Love:

2 weeks ago

It's a suits and pants kind of morning.

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3 weeks ago

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1 month ago
People and quilts

This is the fellow who didn't turn and run when he saw my quilt room.

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1 month ago
Pennsylvania Dutch Tulip Tree of Life Quilt, Applique, 1965 – anonymous quilt

A family member gave me a 1965 letter by the quilt maker, describing this quilt.

“There is no other tapestry in the world exactly like it. I created it completely in my own mind."

Posted on by mchildressPennsylvania Dutch Tulip Tree of Life Quilt, Applique, 1965 “There is no other tapestry in the world exactly like it. I created it completely in my own mind. I know from ... See more

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1 month ago
peace quilt, 1978 – anonymous quilt

Posted on by mchildresspeace quilt, 1978 A particularly mysterious quilt in the collection. You can read more about it here. CategoriescollectionTags1970s, 1978, Figural, peace

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2 months ago
Georgia Window Quilt, c. 1950 – anonymous quilt

Posted on by mchildressGeorgia Window Quilt, c. 1950 This is one of many quilts in the collection that I purchased with a suspicion it was brilliant based on a poor photograph. It came to me from ... See more

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2 months ago
reading room – anonymous quilt

Posted on December 18, 2017December 18, 2017photograph: quilt and a log cabin Wonder if the quilt belonged to the family, or did the photographer have it on hand for a backdrop? Today, the log ... See more

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2 months ago
Sneak Peek, Sally’s quilt from 1881 – anonymous quilt

Posted on by mchildressSneak Peek, Sally’s quilt from 1881 My sweet Ginger passed away in May. About halfway through the 31 day blog challenge, thought I would post her pretty picture. Oh, and yes, ... See more

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2 months ago
Oversized Log Cabin, c. 1950 – anonymous quilt

😮

Posted on by mchildressOversized Log Cabin, c. 1950 I love large scale quilts. This one came from Illinois. It’s thin and looks great on a wall. CategoriescollectionTags1950, Log Cabin

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2 months ago
Sibley Mills denim and polyester fan quilt, georgia c. 1970 – anonymous quilt

Denim quilt, with a surprise on the other side.

Posted on by mchildressSibley Mills denim and polyester fan quilt, georgia c. 1970 This denim is actually the back of this quilt. The front is an improvised motif of highly colorful, polyester fans. ... See more

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