Beth Donaldson

Author, Designer, Owner, Quiltmaker

  Lansing, Michigan, United States    

Michigan State University Museum

Beth Donaldson is a quiltmaker, quilt designer and the Associate Director of the Quilt Index.
I made my first quilt in 1974, then took a sewing sabbatical as I went to college. Work, marriage, and motherhood followed. In 1982, my first quilting class (with Pepper Cory) provided an escape from child care duties. I was soon hooked, not only on quilting, but on drafting and designing, too. In 1984 I began teaching quiltmaking. While teaching I wrote a series of Block of the Month patterns. Five years later they became my book Block By Block. In 1997, I published my second book, Charm Quilts and landed a job at the Michigan State University Museum. For 20 years I did 1000s of hours of data entry for the Michigan Quilt Project and the Quilt Index. I was part of the quilt collection team taking care of the over 1000 quilts in their exceptional collection. Projects included co-authoring books, Quilts and Health and Quilts and Human Rights, helping with quilt exhibits and touring them around the world. I retired from the MSU Museum in 2019, but continue to work on the Quilt Index as the Associate Director.

Was the maker a woman, man or a group?


When was the quiltmaker born?


If the quiltmaker was married, what was the wedding date.

Ethnic background/tribal affiliation:

Polish American

Educational background:

Some college

Occupation (if retired, former occupation):

Quiltmaker, Quilt Index Coordinator

Where was the quiltmaker born?

Livonia, Michigan (MI), United States

Where did the quiltmaker grow up?


Quiltmaker's maiden name:


Father's Name:

Chester Kolodziej

Father's birthplace:

Detroit, Michigan

Father's ethnic/tribal background:

Polish American, Tool and die maker

Mother's Name:

Joan Trybus Kolodziej

Mother's birthplace:

Barnsboro, Pennsylvania

Mother's ethnic/tribal background:

Polish American, homemaker

Spouse's/Spouses' name(s):

Donaldson, Thomas

Spouse's/Spouses' ethnic/tribal background:

French Canadian, Irish American

Spouse's/Spouses' occupation:

Small business consultant

Number of children:


Number of female children:


How did the quiltmaker learn to quilt?

From Class, Self-Taught

When did the quiltmaker learn to quilt?

Age 11-19

Why does/did the quiltmaker quilt:

Fundraising, Gifts, Pleasure, Therapy

Name of quilting group(s):

Capitol City Quilt Guild

Location of group:

Lansing, MI

Estimate the number of quilts made by this maker:

more than 50

Does/did the quiltmaker sell quilts?


Does/did the quiltmaker teach quilting?


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