Approaching Analysis: The Lancaster County Quilt Harvest


From The Quilt Journal - An International Review, Vol. 3, No. 1.


By: Keller, Patricia

Editor Notes: The quilt survey movement in the United States, a phenom-enon largely of the last decade, was not conceived as a nationaleffort, with standardized goals and methods. Instead, starting in 1982 in Kentucky, the idea spread across the country, so there are now few states in which quilt surveys have not been done. Inspiration and methodology were borrowed or methods reinvented, with varying degrees of sophistication and application ofscholarly standards. Most of the surveys have been designed andrun by quilt enthusiasts rather than people trained as scholars in the decorative arts, folklore, art history, etc., and concern has been expressed about many of the surveys' designs, methodolo-gies, use and interpretation of data collected, and, ultimately, value to quilt scholarship. Patricia Keller was the director of the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania quilt documentation project from its founding in 1988 to 1993. She and her steering committee felt that such a survey offered a unique opportunity for collecting and interpreting social and historical data. To fully exploit these possibilities Ms. Keller assembled a distinguished multi-disciplinary body of scholars and subjected the survey's design,methodologies and interpretive potential of data collected totheir scrutiny and suggestions. This was the first time such an approach had been applied to a quilt documentation project; her article describes how it was conceived and implemented. Ms. Keller welcomes inquiries about the methods discussed inher article as they apply to quilt documentation projects. She maybe contacted in writing through this journal.