We have been having a discussion on the Facebook list Quilts-Vintage & Antique about the various small booklets that Stearns & Foster has published over the years about their Mountain Mist quilt patterns. I also have a larger magazine format book published by Oxmoor House on Mountain Mist patterns. Here are the covers of the four "booklets" in my collection. I just found a 5th one on eBay today with still another colorful cover dated 1938 which should arrive in a couple of days:
Here is the 1938 Mountain Mist Blue book cover now on the way:
Collecting quilting ephemera is a fun sideline to collecting quilts. Before the Internet, paper ephemera were collected to try to help identify quilts. Prior to copy machines, collectors traced copies of patterns by hand in order to share. The pattern collecting Round Robins of the 1950s-1960s is a great example of how early collectors managed to identify patterns.
A second book on quilt history by Ruth E. Finley in 1929 also had a limited number of photos and designs. (You can read additional material about Ruth Finley in my 2009 article for TQS by clicking on Ruth Finley's name in large bold letters above.)
|Works about or by Ruth E. Finley|
Some might argue, therefore, that the first extensive index of quilt patterns in hardback* was Ruby Short McKim's One Hundred and One Patchwork Patterns. Fortunately, two of McKim's granddaughter's have launched a wonderful new website McKim Studios and are in the process of republishing all of Ruby's patterns. I personally like Ruby's series quilts.
Ruby Short McKim was one of the earliest syndicated quilt pattern columnists who went by her real name and was well known to her followers -- if not the earliest. She was one go-getter kind of woman as well as a talented designer. Her patterns continue to be made into new quilts every decade.
|(as seen on eBay in 2006)|
|(as seen on eBay in 2011)|
Carrier A. Hall and Rose G. Kretsinger's book.
Sample page from Hall/Kretsinger book. Each quilt block on the left is identified on the right.
Another pattern indexing book (above) that followed shortly after Brackman's first printing of her self-published series was The Collector's Dictionary of Quilt Names & Patterns written by Yvonne M. Khin, (1980 by Acropolis Books Limited, Washington, D.C.) It's subtitle: "The Definitive Resource to 2,400 Quilt Patterns by Category and Name with Complete Index." I didn't hear about Khin's book for some reason until long after I heard about Barbara Brackman's series.
In 1983 Jinny Beyer came out with her book The Quilter's Album of Blocks & Borders, published by EPM of McLean, Virginia. One of the leading quilt teachers in the late 20th century quilt renaissance, Jinny is even covered in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Jinny also had an enormous impact on quilt makers as a result of her pioneer work in fabric design with RJR Fabrics. She set the pace for all to follow in fabrics designed specifically with quilters in mind. To see a video interview of Jinny, visit TQS Quilting Legends here.
In 1993 American Quilter's Society published a hard back version of Brackman's integrated set of 7 volumes, also called Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
Also in 1993 EPM of McLean, Virginia published Brackman's Encyclopedia of Appliqué.
I first met Rose Alboum via eBay. We were bidding on the same two sets of early 20th newspaper clippings of syndicated newspaper quilt patterns. At that time eBay clearly listed the other bidders contact information and it was possible to directly contact another bidder before the sale was over. We began conversing and decided to share the sets we had each won by making xerox copies for each other. Later I would meet Rose face to face at her first AQSG meeting. I think it must have been about 2006 or 2007 when AQSG was meeting in one of the New England States. Her efforts at indexing her "great American quilt book" (as in "Great American Song Book," which my music historian husband introduced me to) have been remarkable. I encourage you to explore Rose's website. She has indexed an incredible number of 20th century quilt patterns as well as later 19th century quilt patterns.
If you have other books you think should be added to this list, please share in the comments below or send me an email.
Here's to the dedicated researchers and archivists among us!
Karen B. Alexander
* I emphasize hardback book because Ladies Art company came out with sales catalogues in the late 1890s that were the pattern encyclopedias of that day.