Bets Ramsey


  Nashville, Tennessee, United States    

Tennessee Quilt Search

Bets Ramsey is a quiltmaker, author, and researcher.
Bets Ramsey has had a decades-long, distinguished career in the quilt world in many roles as a curator, educator, historian, writer, project director, organization founder, and award-winning fiber artist. She was the founder and director of the Southern Quilt Symposium, a founding member of the American Quilt Study Group, and the co-director of the Tennessee Quilt Survey. She has authored numerous articles and books on quilting and other subjects and was the creator and writer for a long-running quilt column in The Chattanooga Times. Her body of work has had profound regional and national impact on how and what we know about quilts. In 2005, Bets Ramsey was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame.

Bets Ramsey was interviewed for the Quilt Treasures Project in her Nashville, Tennessee home on January 25, 2008.
For more information on Ramsey collected as part of the Quilt Treasure Project as well as additional resources, visit her artist page at

Bets (Miller) Ramsey, was born on June 9, 1923 in Chattanooga, Tennessee and lived the first years of her life in Rossville, Georgia. When she was a young girl, her family moved to Oak Park, Illinois. The Frank Lloyd Wright houses that she walked by every day, a middle school art teacher, and the close proximately to the offerings of nearby Chicago were all influences on her art and career.
After learning to sew as a young girl, teachers in a strong high school Home Economics Department taught Bets a great deal about design and working with fabric. When she became a high school senior, she and a friend started a sewing business making clothing for others. It was also in her teens that Ramsey started her first quilt, in a Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern; she completed a third of the quilt, then set it aside. Years later, when she became interested in quilts, Bets' mother presented her with the unfinished quilt. Bets then completed it, almost thirty-four years after it was started.

Soon after Bets finished high school, she and her family moved back to Rossville, Georgia and she enrolled as an art student at the nearby University of Chattanooga. She completed her art degree in 1950 and the next year married Paul Ramsey. The couple then moved to Minnesota to allow Paul to finish his Ph.D. and they began a family that eventually grew to include four children. Paul Ramsey's career in academia led the family to move many times, including stops in Alabama, New York, and California.

As her children were growing up, Bets juggled caring for her family, creating art and teaching art classes to children in her home. While living in Elmira, New York, Bets began making wall hangings and exhibiting her work. She was soon accepted as a member of the York State Craftsmen. When the family moved to California, Bets' reputation as an artist preceded her and, before she even arrived, she received an invitation to exhibit her work. While in California, she continued to exhibit and sell her work, and was active in the San Francisco Women Artists Association.

After living in eight houses in thirteen years, in 1964 the family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, Bets' home for more than 30 years. Shortly after arriving she began teaching at the University of Chattanooga and at the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga.

While teaching at the university, Bets was encouraged by her department chair to go back to school and get a master's degree. In 1972, she enrolled at the University of Tennessee to study crafts and, for a seminar on the history of crafts, Bets selected quiltmaking as her subject. She quickly began studying quilts in earnest, reading every quilt-related book she could find. After receiving her degree, Bets was offered a job as the visual arts director for the senior centers of Chattanooga and taught a variety of crafts at senior centers throughout the region.

Bets became a member of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild and was a founding member of the Tennessee Artist-Craftsmen's Association. During this period, she curated several craft exhibits in local museums and galleries, along with exhibiting her own work throughout the region.

In 1974, the Whitney Museum's touring exhibition, "The American Pieced Quilt" traveled to the Hunter Museum. Bets was asked to develop a program that could be held at the Hunter Museum in conjunction with the exhibit and she created the Southern Quilt Symposium. The response to the symposium was so positive that it became, for seventeen years, an annual event that included exhibits, presentations, and workshops and which attracted participants from around the world. Bets was its director for its entire run.

In 1983, Bets and Merikay Waldvogel initiated the Tennessee Quilt Survey. Collaborating with volunteers and traveling around the state on weekends, the pair documented over 2,000 quilts. The documentation project resulted in a publication, The Quilts of Tennessee, co-authored by Ramsey and Waldvogel, and an exhibition that toured to six Tennessee museums.

For seventeen years, beginning in 1983, Ramsey wrote "The Quilter" column for The Chattanooga Times. The column included instructional writing, stories of the quilts that were discovered during the Tennessee Quilt Survey, and reviews of quilt publications and exhibitions.

Bets' involvement in quilt study moved from regional to national after meeting Sally Garoutte at a Chattanooga art gallery and discovering their shared interests in quilt research. She became, with Sally, a founding member of the American Quilt Study Group and served on AQSG's board of directors from 1983-1989.

After her husband passed away, Bets moved to Nashville in 1998. With a new home studio, Bets made her own artwork her top priority activity for the first time in her life. Her artwork flourished, with many exhibits including a retrospective of her forty years as a fiber artist.

In recognition of her voluminous and multi-faceted contributions to the study and making of quilts, Bets was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame in 2005.

In 2008, Ramsey was interviewed for the Quilt Treasures project. You can find her interview here.

Miller family outing, 1920. Umbrella Rock, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. Lee, Bets' father, is the third from the left.
Image courtesy of Bets Ramsey.


Bets Ramsey and friends in the fourth grade, 1932, Oak Park, Illinois.
Image courtesy of Bets Ramsey.


Bets Ramsey making church banners, 1982.
Image courtesy of Bets Ramsey.


Ramsey family photograph, 1974, Elkmont, Tennessee.
Image courtesy of Bets Ramsey.


Bets Ramsey at her 70th birthday party with her five grandchildren and two cousins.
Image courtesy of Bets Ramsey.


Bets Ramsey: Mini documentary

6/9/1923 Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
1928 Moved to Oak Park, Illinois. Attended Whittier Elementary School and Oak Park-River Forest High School.
1950 Graduated from University of Chattanooga with B.A. degree in art.
1951 Married Paul Ramsey, Jr., Professor of English
1955-1957 Taught children's art classes, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
1957 Moved to Elmira, New York.
1959 Made first wall hanging.
1960-62 Member of York State Craftsmen. Exhibited in YSC Craft Fairs.
1962 Moved to Stockton, California. Solo shows at Haggin Art Museum, Village Allied Arts Center in Sacramento, and New York Public Library.
1963 First place, textiles, San Francisco Women Artists' Exhibition at San Francisco Museum.
1966 Moved to Chattanooga. Taught fiber arts at Hunter Museum of Art and art at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
1970 Began Master's degree in crafts at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
1971 Wrote seminar paper on history of quiltmaking in America.
1972 Received degree. Began teaching quiltmaking at Hunter Museum and UTC.
1974 Whitney Museum exhibition, "The American Pieced Quilt," shown at Hunter Museum. Began Southern Quilt Symposium as accompaniment.
1975 Second SQS, "Old and New Quilts of the Region" workshops, lectures, and exhibition. The annual event continued for seventeen years.
1980 American Quilt Study Group founding member. Presented paper, "Design Invention in Country Quilts of Tennessee and Georgia."
1980-1998 Wrote "The Quilter" weekly column for Chattanooga Times.
1983 SQS "Quilt Close-up: Five Southern Views" with five essays in catalog.
1983-1987 Conducted Tennessee Quilt survey with Merikay Waldvogel.
1986 The Quilts of Tennessee published.
1987 Old and New Quilt Patterns in the Southern Tradition published.
1988 AQSG paper, "The Land of Cotton: Quiltmaking by African American Women in Three Southern States."
1991 Southern Quilts: A New View published. Exhibition toured to museums in five Southern states.
1992 AQSG paper, "Art and Quilts: 1950-1970."
1996 Southern Quilts: Surviving Relics of the Civil War published.
1998 Moved to Nashville. Curated quilt exhibitions for Travellers' Rest historic home.
2003 Forty year retrospective, East Tennessee State University and Belmont University.
2005 Inducted into Quilters Hall of Fame.
2008 Quilt commissioned for Tennessee Governor's Residence.

Ramsey, Bets, and Merikay Waldvogel. The Quilts of Tennessee: Images of Domestic Life Prior to 1930. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1986.
Ramsey, Bets. Old and New Quilt Patterns in the Southern Tradition. RHP, 1987.
Ramsey, Bets, and Gail Trechsel. Southern Quilts: A New View. McLean, VA: EPM Publications, 1991.
Ramsey, Bets, and Merikay Waldvogel. Southern Quilts: Surviving Relics of the Civil War. 1996.

Ramsey, Bets. Fabric, Fiber, and Dye. The Hunter Museum of Art, December 2-31, 1978.
----A Patchwork Garden. The Hunter Museum of Art, April 5-May 3, 1981; Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, May 7-May 30, 1981.
----Quilt Close-up: Five Southern Views, Hunter Museum of Art, March 6-May 1, 1983; Folk Art Center, the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, June 4-August 28, 1983.
----New Quilts of the Mid-South. Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, February 22-March 29, 1986; Hunter Museum of Art, April 6-May 11, 1986.
----Making Do: Quilts of the Great Depression. Travellers Rest, Nashville, TN, January 23-April 10, 2001.

Book Reviews
Ramsey, Bets. "Charles Counts and Common Clay," University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Echo, October 20, 1971.
----"Documenting the History of Quilts in North Carolina." Fiberarts, March/April,1989, p.48.
----"Visions: Quilts of A New Decade." Fiberarts, November/December, 1990, p.59.
----"Creating New Southern Quilts for A New South." Fiberarts, March/April, 1991, p. 48.
----"Quilts of Indiana." The Clarion, Spring, 1992, p. 30.
----"Quilts: A Living Tradition," by Robert Shaw, Folk Art, Spring, 1996, p.70.
----"Abstract Art in American Quilts," by Jonathan Holstein, Folk Art, 1997.
----"Quilts of Provence," by Kathryn Berenson, Folk Art, Summer, 1996.
----"Michael James: Art and Inspiration," by Michael James, Studio Art Quilt Associates Newsletter, 1998.
----"The Art Quilt" by Robert Shaw, Museum of American Folk Art Newsletter Quilt Connection, Fall 1998.
----"The Art Quilt" by Robert Shaw, Studio Art Quilt Associates Newsletter, Summer 1998, p.10-11.
----"Yvonne Porcella: Art and Inspiration," by Yvonne Porcella, Studio Art Quilt Associates Newsletter, Winter 1999, p. 9.
----"The Artist and The Quilt," by Charlotte Robinson, Quilters' Journal, Vol. VI, #2, p. 13.
----"Crazy Quilts," by Penny McMorris, Quilters' Journal, Vol.VI, #4, p.19.

For The Chattanooga Times (a partial list)
----Common Clay by Charles Counts, September 3, 1972
----America's Quilts and Coverlets by Carleton Safford and Robert Bishop, February 4,1973.
----Architecture of Middle Georgia by John Linley, March 11, 1973.
----"The Best of the New Textile Craft Books" May 21, 1973.
----Exploring Patchwork by Doris E. Marston, May 21, 1973.
----Contemporary Batik and Tie Dye by Dona Meilach, June 10, 1973.
----Wall Hangings of Today by Vera Sherman, July 22, 1973.
----Tie and Dye Made Easy by Anne Maile, August 8, 1973.
----Applique by Evangeline Shears and Diantha Fielding, August 12, 1973.
----American Folk Toys by Dick Schnacke, October 28, 1973.
----The Perfect Patchwork Primer by Beth Gutcheon, November 5, 1973.
----Polly Pringle's Book of American Patchwork Quilts by Alice I. Gammell, n.d.
----The Pieced Quilt: An American Design Invention by Jonathan Holstein, March 31, 1974.
----How to Create Your Own Designs by Dona Meilach, Jay and Bill Hinz, March 2, 1975.

Reviews of Exhibitions (a partial list)
Ramsey, Bets. "Mid-South Ceramics and Crafts," Middle Tennessee State University, February 16-March 15. Craft Horizons, May/June, 1969.
----"Mid-South Ceramics and Crafts," MTSU. Craft Horizons, June, 1971.
----"Michael Cardew Wheels His Way Through the USA." Craft Horizons, August 1971.
----"ACC/SE Regional Workshop Exhibition," Craft Horizons, October 1971.
----"Tennessee Artist-Craftsmen's Association of Chattanooga, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Art Gallery." Craft Horizons, December 1971.
----"Nelle Booker Sonnemann, Fine Arts Gallery, Sewanee, Tennessee, October 5-28." Craft Horizons, December 1972.
----"Appalachian Crafts/ Thirteen States," Appalachian Center for Crafts. The Southeastern Fiber Journal, Winter 1980.
----"Quilts Warm the World, the World's Fair, Knoxville," Frank H. McClung Museum. Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, October 1982.

Ramsey, Bets. "Arrowmont Hosts 200 Southeastern American Craft Council Craftsmen." Gatlinburg Press, June 10, 1971.
----Editor, ACC/SE Daily Newsletter, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, June 8, 9, and 10, 1971.
----"On Taking Care of Your Own Favorite Quilt," Yankee, March 1975, pp. 78-87.
----"How to Keep A Quilt," Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, July 1975, pp. 8-9.
----"To Quilt A Quilt" booklet, 1975, 8 pages.
----"Quilt Mending and Restoration" booklet, 1975, 7 pages.
----"Three Generations of Quiltmakers," Quilters' Journal, Winter 1981, p. 12.
----"Design Invention in Country Quilts of Tennessee and Georgia," Uncoverings 1980, pp. 48-55.
----"The Explorers of Mary Walker Towers, Chattanooga, Tennessee," Appalachian Heritage, Fall 1981, pp. 28-33.
----"How to Care for Quilts, Old and New," The Forgotten Arts: Yankee Books, 1982, pp. 20-24.
----"Recollections of Childhood Recorded in a Tennessee Quilt," Uncoverings 1983, p. 27.
----"The Search for Slave-made Quilts," Quilters' Journal, January, 1984.
----"Opossum Inspires Design for Quilt," Quilters' Journal, June, 1984.
----"Recollections Quilt," Open Chain, July, 1984.
----"Double Nine Patch," The Friendship Quilt Book by Mary Golden, Yankee Publishing, 1985, p.50.
----"Roses Real and Imaginary: 19th Century Botanical Quilts of the Mid-South," Uncoverings 1986, pp. 9-25.
----"Research Study Group," Quilters' Journal, November 1986, p. 13.
---- "AQSG's Textile Tour to Switzerland," Quilt World, March, 1988, pp. 7-9.
----"Quilting," Tennessee Encyclopedia, Rutledge Hill Press, 1988.
----"The Land of Cotton: Quiltmaking by African-American Women of Three Southern States," Uncoverings 1988, pp. 9-28.
----"A Tribute to Mariska Karasz," Uncoverings 1989, pp. 159-60.
----"Country to City: Changing Styles in Afro-American Quilts," Quilting Today, April/May 1989, pp. 56-7.
----"Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts," Quilting Today, October/November 1989, pp. 51-54.
----"Japanese Jewel Case," Quilt World, January 1990, pp. 46-47.
----"Arrowmont," In The Smokies, Spring, 1990, pp. 22-25.
----"Quilts from Tennessee" and "Southern Quilts: A New View," Quilting Today, February/ March 1991, pp. 56-59.
----"Southern Quilts: A New View," Quilt World, May 1991, pp. 46-48.
----"Tennessee Tulip: Creating A New Design," Stitch N Sew Quilts, December 1992, pp. 12-13.
----"Art and Quilts: 1950-1970," Uncoverings 1993, pp. 9-40.
----"The Land of Cotton," Quiltmaking in America, Rutledge Hill Press, 1994, pp.182-90.
---- and Barbara Brackman. "New York Beauties," Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, January/ February 1995, pp. 34-38.
----"Stuffing, Stippling, and Pieces of Roses," What’s American About American Quilts? Smithsonian Institution, 1995, Section II, pp.18-23.
----"Writing the War: Southern Women and Their Diaries," Blanket Statements, Fall 1998, pp.1, 8-9.
----"Remembering Alma Lesch (1917-1999)," Blanket Statements, Fall 1999, p. 12.
----"Art and Quilts: 1950-1970," Studio Art Quilt Associates Newsletter, Winter 1999, pp.10-14.
----"Charles Counts: Untitled Quilt," Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, December 1999, p. 25.
----"Remembering Charles Counts," Blanket Statements, Fall 2000, p. 6.
----and Vista Mahan, "From Mill to Bed," Blanket Statements, Summer, 2001,pp. 10-11.
----Quilt texts, An Enduring Legacy: Art of the Americans from Nashville Collections. Nashville: The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 2001, pp.139, 141.
----"Remembering Dorothy Cozart," Blanket Statements, Summer, 2002.
----"Tennessee Quilts As Art," A History of Tennessee Arts: Creating Traditions, Expanding Horizons, Knoxville, Tennessee University Press, 2004, pp. 247-260.
----"Nineteenth Century Quiltmaking in Tennessee," The Art of Tennessee, Nashville: The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 2003, pp. 126-131.

Articles Relating to the Artist
Alice Adams. "Bets Ramsey, The Little Gallery, New York Public Library Branch," Craft Horizons, May/June, 1964, pp. 117-18.
Staff. Review of Chasuble and Banner Exhibition, Liturgy, October 1973.
Kelley, Margaret. "Chattanooga's Quilt Honors National Patroness of Crafts," Chattanooga News-Free Press, June 28, 1977.
Kyser, Pat. "Pieces and Patches: Profile," Quilt World, February 1979, pp. 6-10.
----"Southern Quilt Symposium," Quilters' Journal, Summer, 1979, Vol. 2 #2.
Gross, Joyce. "Robert Frost- Part II," Quilters' Journal, Spring 1980, p 6.
Houk, Carter. "Woman Power," Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts, Fall 1982.
Kyser, Pat. "Tennessee Quilting," Quilt World, December 1982, p. 27.
"What's New and News" Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, July/August 1983, p. 12.
Kyser, Pat. "Pieces and Patches," Quilt World, August 1983, pp. 23-25.
Burdick, Nancilu." Quilters' Research Network," Quilters' Journal, July 1985, p. 15.
Cantrell, Chuck. "Quilters: Modern Artists of the '80s," Tennessee Alumnus, Winter 1987, pp. 42-43.
Staff review. "Old and New Quilt Patterns in the Southern Tradition," Quilting Today, April/May 1988, p.17.
Lin Parker. "Traditional Quiltmaking and Contemporary Art," Chattanooga News Free-Press, July 25, 1988.
Hudson, Patricia L. "Crazy for Quilts," Tennessee, July/August 1988, pp. 34-37.
Townsend, Louise. "Book Review: Quilt Close-up: Five Southern Views," Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, July/August 1991, p. 26.
Conover, Robin. "Family Heirlooms," The Tennessee Magazine, April 1992, pp. 15-18.
Gibney, Louise McC. "A Southern Expert: Tennessee's Bets Ramsey," Traditional Quilts, November 1996, centerfold.
Bowman, Christine. "Legacy of a Quilt Columnist," Blanket Statements, Winter 1997-98, pp. 8-9.
Staff review. "Regional History Museum Presents 'Telling Stories with Quilts'," Chattanooga Times Free-Press, May 17, 1998.
Ruth T. Summers."Library Collection at the Folk Art Center," Southern Highland Craft Guild's newsletter, Highland Highlights, Fall, 1998.
Staff review. "Area Artists Featured in November Exhibits." Chattanooga Times Free-Press, October 2, 1998.
Staff. "Southern Comforts: Quilts and Coverlets Exhibit," Travellers Rest Newsletter, The Sampler, December, 1998.
Staff. "Quilts Serve As Reminders of Women's Civil War History," Green Hills News, February 4, 1999.
Staff. "War Quilts," Knoxville News Sentinel, April 13, 1999.
Staff. "River Gallery's September Shows," Chattanooga Times Free-Press, August 29, 1999.
Staff review. "Southern Quilts: Surviving Relics of the Civil War," Piecework, July/August 1999, p. 61.
Staff. "Travellers Rest Exhibits Historic Quilts," Green Hills News, January, 2000.
Diane Siskin. "A Quest for Quilts," Chattanooga Times Free-Press, February 13, 2000.
Hornback, Nancy. "AQSG's 20th Anniversary: Uncoverings 1983"s Childhood Memories Quilt," , Summer 2000.
Kim Connor. "Quilts Are More Than Just A Cover-up," Dickson Herald, August 16, 2000.
Kim Connor. "Group Finds Frontier History in Study of Tennessee Quilts," The Tennessean, August 18, 2000.
Brewer, Nancy. "Quilt Expert Still Enjoys Basic Stitches," The Busy Bee Trader, April 2001, pp. 32-33.
Perkins, Jennifer. "Golden Memories of an 1840s Quilt," Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, May 2001, pp. 50-51.
Staff. "Of Mills and Quilts," Silhouette, Chattanooga Regional History Museum, Fall/Winter, 2001, pp. 9, 12.
Lisa Denton. "Quilt Talk Today Explores Stories," Chattanooga Times Free Press, Oct. 28, 2001, p. E2.
Ann Nichols. "From Mill to Bed," Chattanooga Times Free Press, Nov. 25, 2001.
Staff. "A Family Affair," The Madison Messenger, June 19, 2002.
Staff. "A Family Affair," The Goodlettsville Ledger, June 20, 2002.
Staff. "Heirloom Quilt Display," Green Hills News, June 27, 2002.
Michelle Shaw. "Mankers Station Extends Ramsey Quilt Exhibit," The Tennessean, July 28, 2002.
Staff. "Ramsey Quilt Exhibit," The City Paper, August 30, 2002.
Staff. "Messages from the Heart," Blanket Statements, Fall 2002, p. 15.
Staff. "Road Show," Chattanooga Times Free Press, February 16, 2003.
Staff. "Library Experts Hit the Road for Black History Month," The Tennessean February 26, 2003.
Laurel Horton. "Bets Ramsey: A Retrospective in Quilt Art and History," Blanket Statements, Spring 2003, pp. 1,3.
Blair White. "Stitched from the Heart," catalog, Carroll Reece Museum, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.
Allison Alphonso. "Quilt Exhibit Displays Range of Techniques," Johnson City Press, August 11, 2003, p. 6E.
---- "Patchwork of Art," Johnson City Press, August 17, 2003.
Horton, Laurel. "Bets Ramsey," The Quilters Hall of Fame, Merikay Waldvogel, ed., Marion, IN, 2005.
Karen Alexander. "Bets Ramsey will be inducted in 2005," Quilters Hall of Fame Newsletter, Fall, 2004.
Staff. "Bets Ramsey at Cleveland Exhibit," Chattanooga Times Free Press, Jan. 28, 2005.
Laurel Horton. "2005 Honoree Bets Ramsey : An Appreciation," Quilters Hall of Fame Newsletter, Spring, 2005, pp. 1-2.
Karen Alexander. "Bets Ramsey to Be Honored at Quilters Hall of Fame," Blanket Statements, Spring, 2005.
Staff. "Quilt Gallery Reopens At Tennessee State Museum," Cleveland (TN) Daily Banner, May 1, 2005.
Staff. "Thread Your Way to the Library: Quilts by Bets Ramsey" Marion (IN) Public Library Newsletter, Jul.-Aug., 2005.
Staff. "Quilters Prepare for Annual Show," Marion Chronicle-Tribune, Jul., 13, 2005.
Rachel Kipp. "Hall of Famer's Designs Incorporate Stories," ibid., Jul. 16, 2005.
Virginia Robinson. "Sewing Your Stitches in Time," The Tennessean, Aug. 12, 2005, pp. 1-2.
Hallye Bone. "Bets Ramsey Honored At Celebration," Quilters Hall of Fame Newsletter, Fall, 2005.
Staff. "Bookmark Collection on Display at Library," Green Hills News, Sept. 8, 2006.
Staff. " 'Stitches in Time' Exhibit Begins in Cleveland," Chattanooga Times Free-Press, Jan. 13, 2006.
Staff. "Quilts Take the Spotlight," Cleveland Daily Banner, Jan. 15, 2006.
Laurel Horton. "Bets Ramsey," The Quilters Hall of Fame, Merikay Waldvogel, ed. Marion, IN, 2006.
Staff. "Renowned Quilter Bets Ramsey to Visit Museum Saturday," Post-Athenian (TN), Oct. 16, 2006.
Gaye Ingram. "Southern Quilt Conference Dedicated to Bets Ramsey," Blanket Statements, Winter, 2007, p. 13.

Illustrated Work
Meilach, Dona Z., and Lee Erlin Snow. Creative Stitchery: The Edge of the Sea. Chicago: Reilly and Lee, 1970, p. 75.
----.Contemporary Batik and Tie Dye. Crown Arts and Crafts Series. Batik fabric for Chasubles.
Sunset Publication. Quilting and Patchwork, "Friendship Quilts: Friendship Quilt #1" Lane Books, 1973, p. 78.
Short, Eirian. Quilting: Technique, Design, and Application: Homage to the Square and Josef Albers, p. 15; Fern Quilt, p. 149, B. T. Batsford, 1974.
Elwood, Joyce, Joyce Tennery, and Alice Richardson. Tennessee Quilting: Tennessee Tulip, Adroit, Oak Ridge, 1982.
Brackman, Barbara. "Tennessee Patterns: Tennessee Tulip," Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, May 1982, pp. 20-21.
Houck, Carter."Ramsey Add-A-Square Family Quilt," Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilt, Fall, 1982, p.16.
Benson, Nancy C. "The Art of Quilting," (quilts from shows I curated), Vista USA, Summer 1983, pp. 11-13, back cover.
Appalachian State University. Best of Appalachian Craft Series: Quilts: Add-A-Square Family Quilt, August 1976.
Newman, Thelma. Quilting, Patchwork, Applique, and Trapunto: The Point, pp. 25, 184,No Place Like…p. 57, Crown Publishers, 1974.
Kolter, Jane B. Forget-Me-Not: Senior Neighbors Basket Quilt, p. 117, St. Paul's Church, p. 118, Childhood Memories, p. 120, The Main Street Press, 1985.
Meyer, Suellen. "Pine Trees: Pine Tree," p. 6, Quilt Digest 4, 1986.
Fisher, Laura. Quilts of Illusion: Kaleidoscope, p. 49, 66, The Main Street Press, 1988.
Macneal, Patricia, and Maude Wahlman. Quilts from Appalachia: Southern Charm, Penn State, 1988, pp. 32-33.
Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. "Around the World: Japanese Rerun," p. 14, November 1994.
Atkins, Jacqueline. Shared Threads: Soule College Quilt, p. 63, Confederate Basket Quilt, pp. 94, 113, Childhood Memories Quilt, p. 118, Viking Studio Books, 1994.
Johnson, Mary Elizabeth. "Tabletop Motifs: Southern Charm," pp. 32, 56, 58, Country Living, October 1996.
Pigford, Joanie. A Gathering- A Sharing, #98-100, essay, self-published, 1997.
Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, April 1998, Schoolhouse Quilt from The Quilts of Tennessee, p.14.
Tennessee State Museum. Celebrating Tennessee Women Artists, Appalachian Spring and The Angels, 1998, p. 39.
Bostick, Alan. "Women at Work," The Angels. The Tennessean, August 27, 1998.
Tennessee State Museum Foundation Newsletter. The Angels. Fall, 1998.
Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, "Rose Tree- The Poncho Quilt," from Southern Quilts: Surviving Relics of the Civil War, May 1999, pp. 52-53.
Nichols, Ann. "A Quest for Quilts," Chattanooga Times Free Press, February 13, 2000, p. D1.
Spotlight 2001 Exhibition Catalog. Broken Promises. Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, p.5.
Nichols, Ann. "Best of Tennessee Crafts," Broken Promises. Chattanooga Times Free-Press, March 17, 2002.
Staff. "Bets Ramsey's Quilt Exhibit Extended," photo with Andrew's Quilt. Goodlettsville Ledger, September 15, 2002.
Staff. "Secrets of the Heart," The City Paper, October 11, 2002, p. 25.
Staff. "Mothers in the Kitchen," Blanket Statements, Summer 2003, p. 15.
Scala, Mark. "Diverse Opinions," The Art of Tennessee. Nashville: The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 2003, p. 317.

Artist Statement
By: Bets Ramsey
Artist's Statement
My love for fabric, needle, and thread began at an early age. First I sewed for my dolls, then for myself, planning and making my own clothes in elementary school. As an eighteen-year-old, I began a successful design and dressmaking business with a friend that ended only when we left for college.

With an art degree, marriage, and children, I explored several forms of art, arriving at fabric collage in 1960. That was it! I discovered that the same search to express truth and beauty and meaning in life could be applied to cloth as a medium as well as it could to paint, and the sensual quality of cloth's fibers and textures added an evocative element to my compositions. Thus I became a fiber artist. Along the way I have tried to share my enthusiasm and encourage others by teaching, writing, and preparing numerous exhibitions, and to honor the needleworkers and fabric-makers of the past.
Bets Ramsey

Credits for materials drawn from the Quilt Treasures Project
Marsha MacDowell, MSU Museum - Quilt Treasures project director, web portrait curator, and interviewer
Mary Worrall, MSU Museum - Web portrait curator and MSU Museum project manager
Justine Richardson, MATRIX - Consultant
Simon Perazza - Videographer and video editing

Website design and production: Alicia Sheill and Dan Jaquint, MATRIX
Project archiving and digitization: Pearl Yee Wong, MSU Museum
Interview transcription: Francie Freese, MSU Museum

Those who provided suggestions of questions for Bets Ramsey:
Barbara Brackman
Vista Mahan
Merikay Waldvogel

This Quilt Treasures interview was made possible by generous donations to The Alliance for American Quilts by:
Karen Alexander
Ward W. Miller with matching gift from IBM
Starr Ramsey Helms
Choo Choo Quilters
Tracy Barron
Maury Quilters Guild
Blue Ridge Quilters Guild
Lee Ramsey
Richard and Alice Ramsey
Stitchin' Sisters
Foundation for the Carolinas/Thomas & Marilyn Bradbury Trust
Patricia Kyser
Jeanne Webb
Cumberland Valley Quilters Association
Foothills Quilters
Richard J. Ramsey, Jr.
James Ramsey with matching gift from Global Impact
Linda Claussen
Smoky Mountain Quilters of Tennessee
Jane Evins Leonard
Peace by Piece Quilt Guild
The Village Quilters
Katy Christopherson
Ritzy Thimbles Quilt Guild
Tennessee State Museum Foundation
Merikay Waldvogel

And a special thanks to Alliance board members Merikay Waldvogel and Jane Evins Leonard for leading the fundraising for this project.

Completion and presentation of this portrait was made possible by in-kind contributions from Michigan State University Museum and MATRIX: Center for Humane, Arts, and Social Sciences Online at MSU.

The Tennessee Arts Commission has two videos, "Bets Ramsey-Fiber Art" and "2009 Tennessee Governor's Arts Award."
In 2022, the Quilt Alliance's QSOS presented a Textile Talk with Merikay Waldvogel and Bets Ramsey.

For more information about other individuals interviewed as part of the Quilt Treasures Project, go to

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