Carolyn Hershberger Oberman


  Fennville, Allegan County, Michigan, United States    

Great-granddaughter of Mary Strock Zumbrun, the granddaughter of Olive Zumbrun Blocher, and the daughter of Mary Block Hershberger.
Although my grandmother made quite a few quilts, and my mother quilted some, this quilter, myself, did not really become interested in quilting until about 1965. That was when I finally finished piecing a Star of Bethlehem, which I had started in 1939, put it in my grandmothers frame and quilted it. After that was done I started making patchwork items to sell, such as pillows, crib quilts, and wallhangings. I discovered I loved designing and working with color and I liked the idea of creating beautiful things that would last long after I am gone.

During the late 60s I bought several good pieced tops at auction sales and have quilted and sold four of those. I have made a quilt for each of my two daughters and am now starting to make a quilt for my six grandchildren. I also have two tops pieces and ready to quilt for myself, a Boston Commons and a scrap quilt of my own design which I call Points to Ponder.

Two of Carolyn's quilts are featured in Michigan Quilts: 150 Years of a Textile Tradition, page 50.
The main differences are the loft of the batting, and the size. A comforter is always tied because of its thickness.
I have heard of and seen examples of all these mentioned. My personal experience has been with a friendship quilt. In 1932 one was made for my mother by neighbors when she moved to another state with her family. It was a Log Cabin, cotton fabric, with the name of whoever sewed the block embroidered on the larger-than-usual chimney patch. The quilt was inherited by a sister after our mother's death. I subsequently obtained the quilt (by trading for it with one of mine) with the purpose of giving it to the MSU Museum, Folk Art Division. I wanted the quilt to be preserved for future generations to see and study as it is full of history in the area which it was made.

I have made high-loft tied comforters; lap quilts with flannel sheet filling, 36" x 48"; crib quilts, about 40" x 50" with polyester batting; and low-loft summer quilts.

Was the maker a woman, man or a group?


When was the quiltmaker born?


Educational background:

12 grades, through High School, Business school

Religious affiliation:

Protestant, Presbyterian

Occupation (if retired, former occupation):

Many areas of Food Service until retired in 1985

Where was the quiltmaker born?

Woodland, Barry County, Michigan (MI), United States

Quiltmaker's maiden name:


Father's Name:

Loren Hershberger

Father's ethnic/tribal background:


Mother's Name:

Mary Blocher Hershberger

Mother's ethnic/tribal background:


Number of female children:


When did the quiltmaker learn to quilt?

Age 11-19

Other reasons the quiltmaker makes/made quilts.

Self taught, by osmosis, I guess, from maternal grandmother and mother. First quilt was a double bed size quilt. Started at age 19, then stopped and began again at age 45, and continued.

Does/did the quiltmaker sell quilts?


What price was charged for the quilts and when were they sold?

To neighbors and at craft/art shows. In this area if I charged what a quilt is worth, I would not sell any so my price fluctuates between $250 and $350.

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