By: Barbara Brackman
A white quilt in Safford and Bishop’s AMERICA’S QUILTS AND COVERLETS is described as a trapunto bedcover which won first prize at the Chicago’s World Fair in 1893.
In the catalog of the Atlanta Historical Society a stuffed and appliquéd quilt by Mrs. Sarah A.S. Low is described as one which won first prize at the World’s Columbian Exposition in
The abundance of first prize winners raised some questions I have tried to answer. The search has been frustrating, but it has also been rewarding. I did establish one fact early in my research. Autumn Leaf was not a winner at the 1893 fair. It was, in reality, a prize winner at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, although not a first prize winner. The confusion between fairs led me to study this later fair also, and I found that a comparison of the two fairs, separated by forty years and vast social changes, illustrates some interesting differences in attitudes towards quilts, American crafts and antiques, and to some degree towards women’s work at these two points in time. The fairs coincide with two periods of strong popular interest in quiltmaking and both served to reflect contemporary attitudes towards quiltmaking.