By: Joseph Stonuey and Patricia Cox Crews
The purpose of this study was to summarize and analyze selected portions of the data documenting quilts and the quiltmaking tradition in Nebraska, collected by the trained para-professionals associated with the Nebraska Quilt History Project, and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, (1987). Focusing on quilts made and/or brought into Nebraska prior to 1940, the parameters examined included: quilt pattern, date, type of construction, overall dimensions, fibers used, fabric structures present; and the quiltmaker parameters of: gender, place of making, nationality, education level, occupation, and religion.
Following statistical summary and analysis of over 800 Nebraska quilts, implications to and/or interrelationships between Nebraska’s state history and women’s history were assessed. Initial findings indicated that Nebraska quilters used primarily pieced patterns in the prevailing fashion of the period. Most of these quilts consisted of plain weave fabrics comprised of cellulosic fibers. The largest majority of these quilts were dated between 1890 and the 1930’s – which is not surprising considering Nebraska’s settlement and development. Most Nebraska quiltmakers were women, who had rural backgrounds, and a grade school education. The typical Nebraska quilt and quiltmakers appear to have much in common with those in surrounding states.