By: Nao Nomura and Janneken Smucker
In this article, we use three methods of investigation – fiber and fabric analysis, genealogy, and fieldwork – to re-examine Amish quilts from the Henry and Jill Barber Collection of Amish quilts from Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, at the International Quilt Study Center (IQSC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We use our data to confront unsubstantiated assumptions – most notably the idea of a classic period of Amish quiltmaking prior to 1940 – that quilt enthusiasts have perpetuated over the past several decades. Our research reveals that about half of the quilts in the collection, most of which arrived at the IQSC with estimated dates prior to 1940, were actually made later than originally thought. The research demonstrates that Amish quiltmakers in Mifflin County continued to make classic Amish quilts long after 1940.