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Signature Quilt Pilot Project

The Signature Quilt Project
Following the public launch of this project, the Signature Quilt Project team hopes that more individuals will be inspired to document quilts with multiple signatures. The SQP team and the QI staff will evaluate this pilot and make plans for future public input.The Signature Quilt Project is an international initiative to collect data on quilts that hold multiple signatures and to provide searchable access to that data through the Quilt Index. The data presented through this project is expected to not only shed new light on the traditions of making quilts with multiple signatures but also to support humanistic and social science studies of families, organizations, communities, and social, political, ethnic, regional, and religious groups.

History of the project
In 2003, in response to a growing recognition amongst scholars of the need to systematically document Signature Quilts, Lynn Lancaster Gorges approached Nancy Hornback at the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) meeting in Dallas with the suggestion of creating a systematic study that would also collect data into one database. Nancy and Lynn were joined by Cinda Cawley, Karen Alexander and Jan Gessin to explore the possibilities. This committee then consulted with the Quilt Index administration team and drafted a Signature Quilt documentation form that incorporated the Quilt Index Comprehensive Fields. For a variety of reasons the Signature Quilt Project lay dormant until a time-limited grant in 2009 from the Salser Foundation, facilitated by Susan Salser and Shelly Zegart, enabled the project to move forward.

The reconfigured Signature Quilt Project team worked closely with the Quilt Index management team to complete the steps necessary to launch the project. One of the first tasks was to establish the working definition of signature quilt that would be used for the project and it was decided that it would be quilts that carry multiple names. Over a period of 8 months, the development team held monthly project administration phone conferences, recruited submissions, developed an innovative training module for submitters that used simultaneous phone conferencing and web-based instruction, conducted four training sessions with 38 participants, investigated methods of cross-indexing and enhancing data on signature quilts already in the Index, and oversaw the uploading of new signature quilts. One important component of the project was the creation of a public submission form that enabled individual submissions directly into the Signature Quilt Project, a development that paves the way for individual public submissions to the Quilt Index in general.

By the October 2009 end of the grant period, more than 50 quilts had been entered into the Signature Quilt Project. Included are those of groups of families and/or friends, community/commemorative signature quilts (i.e. Odd Fellows, Jasper County Courthouse, Depot Harbor, WTCU, Brownsville TN Fundraising Quilt, Bicentennial), ones dealing with healing cancer (i.e. Friendship Sampler and Love to Wini 3) and several done in the redwork style. Some of the earliest date from the 1840s (i.e. Chintz Appliqué, Turkey Tracks NY, Grafton MA quilt, My Sweet Sister Emma, Upstate NY Friendship Quilt, and Album Patch (Nancy)) and a number of them date from the turn of the 20th century, a period some quilt scholars have referred to as the golden age of signature quilts.

Future growth of the project
Following the public launch of this project, the Signature Quilt Project team hopes that more individuals will be inspired to document quilts with multiple signatures. The SQP team and the QI staff will evaluate this pilot and make plans for future public input.

Acknowledgements
Thanks very much to Lynn Gorges for engaging Nancy Hornback in 2003 to jointly begin the Signature Quilt Project, to the Salser Foundation for supporting a specific focus on Signature Quilts for the Quilt Index pilot of public object submissions, to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (which is supporting the development of public object submissions to the Quilt Index), and to the members of the American Quilt Study Group listserv for sparking the conversation that led to the present convergence in spring 2009. Thanks also to those quilt owners who participated in the 2009 piloting and launch of this project.

Those who served on the 2009 Quilt Index Signature Quilt Project development team were Karen Alexander, Beth Donaldson, Lynn Gorges, Nancy Hornback, Marsha MacDowell, Amy Milne, Justine Richardson, Susan Salser, Amanda Grace Sikarskie, Mary Worrall, and Shelly Zegart. June 2009 Update (pdf) | Call for Participation (pdf)

--Mary Worrall, 2009.

Recommended Reading
Created by Nancy Hornback

Atkins, Jacqueline Marx. Shared Threads: Quilting Together -- Past and Present. New York: Penguin Books, 1994.
Brackman, Barbara. "Signature Quilts: Nineteenth-Century Trends." Uncoverings 1989, Vol. 10, ed. Laurel Horton. San Francisco American Quilt Study Group, 1990: 25-37.
_________. Clues in the Calico. McLean, VA: EPM Publications, Inc., 1989.
Cawley, Lucinda R. "Ihr Teppich: Quilts and Fraktur." Uncoverings 2004, Vol. 25 ed. Kathlyn Sullivan. Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, 2004: 11-40.
Cawley, Lucinda, Lorraine Ezbiansky and Denise Nordberg. "Signature Quilts." Chap. in Saved for the People of Pennsylvania. PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1997.
Chenoweth, Lynda Salter. Philena's Friendship Quilt: A Quaker Farewell to Ohio. Columbus: Ohio University Press, 2009.
Clark, Ricky. "Fragile Families: Quilts as Kinship Bonds." Quilt Digest 5. San Francisco: Kiracofe and Kile, 1987.
________. "Mid-19th Century Album and Friendship Quilts, 1860-1920." In Pieced by Mother, Symposium Papers. ed. Jeannette Lasansky. Lewisburg, PA: Oral Traditions Project , 1988.
________. "The Needlework of an American Lady / Social History in Quilts." In In The Heart of Pennsylvania: Symposium Papers, ed. Jeannette Lasansky. Lewisburg, PA: Oral Traditions Project, 1986: 65-75.
________George W. Knepper, and Ellice Ronsheim. Quilts in Community: Ohio's Traditions. Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press, 1991.
Cochran, Rachel, Rita Erickson, Natalie Hart and Barbara Schaffer. "Signature Quilts for Friends and Family." Chap. in New Jersey Quilts: 1777 to 1950. Paducah: American Quilter's Society, 1992.
Cord, Xenia E. "Signature Quilts." In Blanket Statements. Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, Fall 2003: 1, 3.
Cory, Pepper and Susan McKelvey. The Signature Quilt: Traditions, Techniques, and the Signature Block Collection. Saddle Book, NJ: Quilt House Publishing, 1995.
Cozart, Dorothy. "A Century of Fundraising Quilts, 1860-1960." Uncoverings 1984, Vol. 7, ed. Sally Garoutte. Mill Valley, CA: American Quilt Study Group, 1985: 73-82.
________. "The Role and Look of Fundraising Quilts." In Pieced by Mother: Symposium Papers, ed. Jeannette Lasansky. Lewisburg, PA: Oral Traditions Project, 1988: 87-95.
Cummings, Sue.C. Album Quilts of Ohio's Miamii Valley. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2008.
Erickson, Rita and Barbara Shaffer. "Characteristics of Signed New Jersey Quilts 1836-1867." In On the Cutting Edge. ed. Jeannette Lasansky. Lewisburg, PA: Oral Traditions Project, 1994: 70-83.
Fox, Sandi. "Scribed and Stenciled, Stamped or Stitched." Chap. in For Purpose and Pleasure: Quilting Together in Nineteenth-Century America. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1995.
Herr, Patricia. "Quaker Quilts and Their Makers." In Pieced by Mother: Symposium Papers, ed. Jeannette Lasansky. Lewisburg, PA: Oral Traditions Project, 1988: 13-21.
Hornback, Nancy. "Researching an Album Quilt." In Blanket Statements. Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, Fall 2004: 9.
Kolter, Jane Bentley. Forget Me Not: A Gallery of Friendship and Album Quilts. Pittstown, NJ: Main Street Press, 1985.
Lasansky, Jeannette. "Think of Me." Chap. in Pieced by Mother: Over 100 Years of Quiltmaking Traditions. Lewisburg, PA, 1987: 61-74. Nicoll, Jessica F. Quilted for Friends: Delaware Valley Signature Quilts. Winterthur, DE: DuPont Winterthur Museum, 1986.
Ordonez, Margaret T. "Ink Damage on Nineteenth-Century Cotton Signature Quilts." Uncoverings 1992, Vol. 13, ed. Laurel Horton. San Francisco: American Quilt Study Group. 148-168.
Otto, Linda Lipsett. Remember Me: Women and Their Friendship Quilts. San Francisco: Quilt Digest Press, 1985.
Robare, Mary Horton. "Cheerful and Loving Persistance: Two Historical Quaker Quilts." Uncoverings 2007, Vol. 28, ed. Joanna Evans. Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, 165-216.
Roberts, Nancy. "Remembrance Quilts." Traditional Quiltworks, Issue No. 84.
Woods, Marianne Berger. "Signature-Fundraising Quilts." Chap. in Threads of Tradition: Northwestern Pennsylvania Quilts. Meadville, PA: Crawford County Historical Society, 1997.
Wright, Jeananne. "Home Again: Paying Tribute to a Boy Scout Quilt". Quilter's Newsletter Magazine No. 340, March 2002: 30-32.


View all records in this project

Quilt Title

Artist Name     Contributer

1800     Location, Place

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Quilt Size: 61 inches x 61 inches

Fabrics: Cotton, Geometric, Novelty, Solid/plain

Construction: Machine Piecing

Quilting Techniques: Machine quilting

1-1-0