Louisiana Quilt Documentation Project

The Louisiana Quilt Documentation project was begun in 2001 as one of the Louisiana Regional Folklife Program research projects directed by Susan Roach, folklorist at Louisiana Tech University. The idea for this research grew out of her doctoral dissertation, The Traditional Quiltmaking of North Louisiana Women: Form, Function, and Meaning (1986, University of Texas at Austin) and a 1984 quilt documentation in Ruston at the Lincoln Parish Museum, which also hosted the first documentation clinic for this project on April 18, 2001. Museums, libraries, quilt guilds, and other institutions across the state hosted the documentation clinics, and folklorists provided publicity inviting the public to bring quilts for documentation. Roach began the clinics in northeast Louisiana, and regional folklife program colleagues, Dr. Laura Westbrook, University of New Orleans, and Dr. Dayna Lee, Northwestern State University at Natchitoches, followed with documentation clinics in their regions. A special session documented over sixty quilts from the Louisiana State Museum's collection, including a recent important acquisition of an 1884 Panoramic Quilt made for the 1884-85 World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition (World's Fair, in New Orleans). Also documented were the quilts from the Louisiana State University Textile Museum, which houses significant hand-woven Acadian quilts.

Unlike most state quilt documentations, this phase of the research for this project was conducted by folklorists based in universities and funded by grants from the state folklife program, housed in the Office of Cultural Development in the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. This funding and support made it possible to develop a project website with a searchable database and to process the documentation materials under the supervision of data coordinator Kerry Davis Byargeon.

In addition to this research done in 2001-2008, the project includes data from earlier volunteer efforts. The first one-the Louisiana Quilt Project-begun in Northwest Louisiana by Judy Godfrey and Sandra Todaro in 1987, surveyed quilts made until 1945. From 1987-1990, this project expanded beyond the Shreveport area with quilt registries held across the state. Research records were deposited in the Louisiana State Archives at Baton Rouge, where they remain. Thanks to the generosity of these researchers and the Archives, that data was duplicated and included in the present Louisiana Quilt Documentation Project. Other additions were quilts documented in 1997 to locate quilts for a 1998 quilt exhibition at the Masur Museum of Art in Monroe. These combined efforts have documented over 2600 quilts across the state. The project includes not only historic quilts, but also contemporary quilts made by traditional quilters, guild quilters, fiber artists, and even a community quilting group that made quilts for hurricane survivors.

Ongoing and still entering data, the Louisiana project invites museums and quiltmakers to document their Louisiana quilts for inclusion. The project website provides documentation forms and instructions and presents its quilts, as well as essays on quilt terms, quilt care, and featured quilts and quiltmakers. Long-term plans include a traveling exhibition and a publication on Louisiana quilts.

View documentation form:
Louisiana Quilt Documentation Project form

Credits and Acknowledgements
Project Director: Susan Roach
Project Data Coordinator: Kerry Davis Byargeon
Database Design and Webmaster: Greg Wirth, Louisiana Office of Cultural Development
Editorial Assistance: Maida Owens, Folklife Program, Louisiana Division of the Arts
Website Design: Matt Johnson
Website Support: Tamika Edwards Raby

Image Processing and Data Entry: Kerry Davis Byargeon, Laura Wade, Traece Tullos, Katrina Parker, Matt Johnson, Corey Whaley
Funding: Supported by a grant from the Louisiana State Arts Council through the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts

2001-2008 Photographs and Interviews: Susan Roach, Laura Westbrook, Sarah Lewis, Dayna Lee, Kerry Davis Byargeon, Peter Jones, Traece Tullos, Katrina Parker, Matt Johnson, Stephanie Pepper Sims. Volunteers: Nicole Taylor, Susan Muller, Martha Gilbert, Ladye Harveston, Sheila Haynes, Shelby McDuff, Jean Oldham, Emily Prichard, Camillia Parker, David Sims, Nick Tullos, and others
1997: Masur Museum Photographs and Interviews: Marion Callas, Michael Luster, Susan Roach
1987-1990: Louisiana Quilt Project (begun as Caddo-Bossier Quilt Search and expanded) Project directors/organizers: Judy Godfrey and Sandy Todaro; Volunteer Coordinator: Pat Lonnecker

Archives and Collections: Louisiana State Archives, Masur Museum of Art, Louisiana State Museum, Louisiana State University Textile Museum. Records are housed at Louisiana Tech University.

Project description provided by the Lousiana Regional Folklife Program.

Project Website

View all records in this project