On this day in 1916, future car racing legend Louise Smith is born in Barnsville, Georgia. Smith was the first woman to be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame. She was recruited for the fledgling National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) circuit by a promoter named Bill Frances who was looking to attract new spectators by featuring a female driver. Smith was known locally for outrunning law enforcement and agreed to race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in a 1939 Ford, finishing third.
Addie Sims Hardiman made this Wild Goose Chase quilt around 1905. The quilt was hand and machine pieced and hand quilted and is 74” x 78”. Hardiman made the quilt in Georgia, but it was documented during the Quilts of Tennessee project by the family member who inherited it.
On this day in 1991, Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007) gave a free concert in London’s Hyde Park to celebrate his 30 years in opera. Because of a rainstorm, only 100,000 of the expected 250,000 spectators attended the concert. It was still the biggest turnout at Hyde Park since the Rolling Stones performed there in 1969.
Minnie Carter Martin, who worked days in a lumber mill, handmade this quilt in 1932 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The pattern name is called Swallow’s Nest, alternately called Turkey Tracks or Singing Corners. Martin made the quilt for her great niece, who documented the quilt during the Quilts of Tennessee project.
On this day in 1958, the United States Congress passed legislation formally inaugurating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). One year earlier the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into orbit around the earth, causing U.S. officials embarrassment and resolve to create a focused and organized space program.
Sue Nickels and sister Pat Holly, both of Ann Arbor, Michigan, made this machine pieced, appliqued and quilted piece, titled “The Space Quilt” in 2004. The quilt is part of the Founder’s Collection of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, and won the Bernina Excellence in Machine Workmanship Award in the 2004 American Quilter’s Society Quilt Contest. Visit Sue Nickel’s website to read about this quilt, a tribute to Sue and Pat’s father and a promotion of the U.S. Space Program.
On this day in 1978, the world’s first “test tube” baby was born. Louise Joy Brown was conceived by her parents, Lesley and Peter Brown, via in vitro fertilization (IVF). Brown’s younger sister Natalie was born four years later, becoming the world’s 40th IVF baby.
This Baby Blocks quilt is actually a wholecloth quilt made from pre-printed fabric and tied with red yarn. It was made in Connecticut by an unnamed quiltmaker between 1876-1900 and was documented in The Quilt Index as part of the Connecticut Quilt Search in 1996.
On this day in 1982, “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor hit the top of the U.S. pop charts. This hit from the third of five “Rocky” films (actor/director Sylvester Stallone) held top billing on the chart for 6 weeks. The first hit from the boxing series was “Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky).”
Anna Lee Girard of West Virginia, hand appliqued, pieced and quilted this Tiger Lily (alternately named Meadow or Wood Lily) quilt in 1881. Anna Lee was a housewife in rural Mason county in the central part of the state, and purchased new fabric to create this quilt. The lucky family member who inherited the quilt documented it during the West Virginia Heritage Quilt Search in 1992.
On this day in 1885, Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant) died of throat cancer at the age of 63. Grant, born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, served as the 18th President of the United States (1869-1877) and was commanding general of the Union army during the Civil War.
This Courthouse Steps quilt was made by an unknown quilter in nearby Cincinnati, Ohio in 1885. It was documented in the North Carolina Quilt Project by a relative of the quiltmaker.
On this day in 1848, Lester Aglar Walton was appointed as U.S. minister to Liberia. Walton was mainly known as a diplomat and a journalist. He was the first African American to write for a daily paper, the St. Louis Star, from 1902 to 1906. He was also active in the late twentieth century entertainment world as a songwriter and an advocate for other African American artists.
Leona Johnson of Monrovia, Liberia hand pieced and hand appliqued this Zinnia Variation quilt in 1992. From this Quilt Index record:
The quilt was brought to Flint, Michigan by the maker’s sister’s son, Rev. Emmanuel Bailey. Emmanual goes to Monrovia, Liberia about every 6 months to see his relatives and to work on the building of an orphanage for the victims of war. He put his order in for these quilts last January and then picked them up in August. He brought back 12 quilts this time, took them in mid October to the International Institute of Flint’s fall sale and sold four. We purchased two at $250 each for the MSU Museum. The remaining quilts will be shown Brethren United Methodist Quilt Show in mid-November. Many Liberian quilters are decendents of American Slaves. Popular patterns include the Lone Star and Wig Rose (or Zinnia variation).
On this day in 1918, Nelson Mandela, South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist was born in village of Mvezo in Umtata. Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and died in December 2013.
Carolyn Crump made this quilt, titled “Courageous,” around 2011 in Houston, Texas. The piece is 43 1/2″ x 56″ and features machine piecing and applique, ink drawing, and painting. Text inscriptions on the quilt include: “Votes for All” “Freedom in Our Lifetime” “Equal Pay For All” “Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela” “A Long Walk To Freedom” “Away with Passes” “Post Mandela Life or Death Trial” “Apartheid Unjust 1963 1990” “46664.” The quilt is now in the collection of Michigan State University Museum.
On this day in 1955, Walt Disney’s first theme park, Disneyland, opened in Anaheim, California, built for $17 million on 160 acres of former orange groves. Today more than 14 million people visit Disneyland and spend close to $3 billion.
Ellen (or Mary) Cline White hand pieced and hand quilted this Sunflower and Orange Peel quilt around 1840. The quilt was made in California but ended up in Tennessee, where it was documented by the Quilts of Tennessee project.
On this day in 1967, comedian and actor Will Ferrell was born in Irvine, California, the son of Betty Kay, a teacher, and Roy Lee Ferrell Jr., a musician with The Righteous Brothers. His parents were both natives of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and moved to California in 1964.
Emma Hotchkiss Irvine of Kentucky made this exciting Crazy Quilt in 1883. Emma was a direct descendent, through her father Benoni Hotchkiss, of Ambrose Doolittle, a private from Connecticut during the Revolutionary War. The quilt is now part of the permanent collection of the DAR Museum.