Friday, February 13, 2015

The Story Book Quilts of Marion Cheever Whiteside Newton

At the January meeting of the Enchanted Quilters of Lopez Island, I presented a program on the quilts of Marion Cheever Whiteside Newton with accompanying quilts from my own collection.  

A few blocks from Newton's "Little Women" pattern series.

Newton was a trained artist who had one leg rooted in New England and the other in Portland, Oregon. About mid-career, she turned from her success in art to designing some very special Story Book Quilts in the late 1940s, making an international name for herself by the 1950s.  

I based my talk on the research presented by Naida Treadway Patterson at the 1995 annual seminar of the American Quilt Study Group*. You can read Patterson's published research of that 1995 lecture by clicking here, which will take you to the website of the Quilt Index. However, you can't see any of the photos that appeared in the originally published article. But the text is well worth the read. 

You can see the full story of my presentation about Marion Cheever Whiteside Newton with many more photos by clicking here.

I wrote briefly once before about Newton when I was trying to track down the possible source of a quilt I added to my collection in 2013. That post I called Is She Dutch or Hungarian? (Click on the name to go to that post.)

Please feel free to leave a comment if you, too, love the Marion Cheever Whiteside Newton Story Book Quilts or have one or made one!  Also, please leave a comment if you know of others designing similar story book quilts today!

Where to go for accurate Quilt History?

As an aside, I can never resist sharing AQSG*. I have been a member of AQSG since 1981.  This group has provided me with some of the greatest friendships of my adult life as well as some of the most stimulating research seminars one could hope to attend in the field of textile/quilt history!

Many Regional Quilt Study Groups have been formed around the country in the last 20 years, most by members of AQSG, though the regional groups are NOT formerly associated with AQSG.  Yours truly helped form the Washington Quilt Study Group in 2005, along with Joy Neal and Susan Underwood, also AQSG members.  

You can read about the various regional groups by clicking here on Kris Dreissen's Quilt History website.  I highly recommend joining this discussion group so that you can access our past as well as present discussions. There is a wealth of in-depth quilt history discussions that have taken place since 1997 archived on this website. Kris charges a very nominal fee to help with overhead.

Sometimes it feels to me like Kris has been in the quilt business forever. That must say something about how old I am getting myself, not Kris's age! I do know she and her husband once had their quilt business on wheels -- yep, the original Quilt Bus!


I have two more exciting stories to share that have been brought to my attention in the past two weeks. One is about a Comfort Quilt made by young primary school students in Leeds, England, based on a quilt they found on the Quilt Index via the Internet. It just so happens that the quilt their teacher discovered on-line was the Hearts Signature Quilt made by the members of the Enchanted Quilters in 1999 for my mother-in-law, Wini Alexander, when she diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer! Can't wait to share the students' story with you!   Wini's quilt is on the right in this photo.

Just a few of the students who made blocks for this quilt!

Staff writerFebruary 6, 2015 

The other story is about a new Quilt Documentation Project led by A'donna Richardson that is beginning this weekend in the Seattle area. You can read the beginnings the story here by reading this news article whose link was sent me just three days ago.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to get to the first couple of meetings but I am very excited about keeping track of this project.

Read more here:


  1. Very interesting! I have spent the evening viewing your presentation and photos and researching all the links provided in the article. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, Miss Merry.

  3. I do indeed like Marion Cheever Whiteside Story Book quilts. I actually repaired one of them for her nephew, Haven Whiteside in Phippsburg, Maine in the late 1980's. He said his aunt had made it expressly for him, but it was one of the baseball series and I have seen a few of them since, so I am pretty sure that at least the pattern was marketed. Thank you for your plug for AQSG. I served on the board from 1989 - 1993 with some wonderful people. We were based in San Francisco then and I was even lucky enough to meet Sally Garoutte before she passed away. It is indeed a great organization. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Wendy, thank you for taking the time to post. How fortunate to have been able to work on one of the original Marion Cheever Whiteside Story Book quilts and to meet her nephew. I keep saying some day I am going to visit the museum to which the family donated Marion's paperwork. It's on my Bucket List anyway!

  4. Hi Karen, I just found your post while looking for new info on Story Book Quilts, as I am taking my Cinderella quilt to an appraisal event tomorrow. I am a big fan of Marion Newton, but for sort of unusual reasons. She was my next door neighbor when I was a little girl, which is how I got the quilt. I suspect she made it as a baby gift to my mother when I was born in 57. Anyway, I have nothing but the fondest memories of her. My little neighborhood friend and I used to constantly follow her around while she was trying to get her gardening done. We must have been awful pests, but she always treated us like welcome guests. Thank you so much for the post.

    1. Hello Ann K., I am sorry I am so late responding. I am so excited to learn that you knew Marion Newton personally. I have yet to find any small items designed by Marion, but all resource possibilities are not yet exhausted. There was a large article about her in the December 19, 1945 New York Post. I'll be writing about this in my blog soon. I'd love to see a photo of your quilt! How fabulous to have one possibly made by Marion!

  5. Ps - I also have 4 bibs that she made. I'd love to find out if those were part of the kits she sold, or if she just made them for me from some scraps she had around.

    1. Ann, did these bibs match the Cinderella theme of the quilt Marion gave your mother? If you email me privately I would love to learn more and to see photos of your quilt. Just click under the Welcome word at the top left of this blog. Hope top hear from you.

    2. Hello again Ann K, I would like to stay in touch with you. You can email me privately by clicking on the link at the top of this page on the left under WELCOME. Did you get your quilt appraisal done?