Made by Americans of European, African, Native and Hispanic heritage, these quilts and bedcovers range from family heirlooms to acts of political protest, each with its own story to tell
A mother stitches a few lines of prayer into a bedcover for her son serving in the Union army during the Civil War. A formerly enslaved African American woman creates a quilt populated by Biblical figures alongside celestial events. A quilted Lady Liberty, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln mark the resignation of Richard Nixon. These are just a few of the diverse and sometimes hidden stories of the American experience told by quilts and bedcovers from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Spanning more than 400 years, the 58 works of textile art in this book express the personal narratives of their makers and owners and connect to broader stories of global trade, immigration, industry, marginalization, and territorial and cultural expansion.
Artists include: Faith Ringgold, Sanford Biggers, Irene Williams, Bisa Butler, Harry Tyler, Harriet Powers, Marie D. Webster, Marguerite Zorach, Dorothy Phillips Haagensen, Rachel Cary George, Florence Peto, Creola Pettway, Susan Hoffman, Molly Upton, Nancy Crasco, Agusta Agustsson, Edward Larson, Michael James, Virginia Jacobs and Carla Hemlock.
Featured image is "Double Wedding Ring Quilt," Unknown African‑American, Missouri, about 1940. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Gift of the Pilgrim / Roy Collection, 2014.1945. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.