On this day in 1968, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act, which prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental or financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin. Gender was added to that list of criteria in 1974 and people with disabilities in 1988.
Debra Lynn Miller machine pieced and Kris Neifield machine quilted this “Trees & Houses” quilt in 2002. The design is a reproduction of a Trees pattern from the 1930’s. Miller created the quilt in a class taught by Beverly Dunivent in Big Bear, California, and documented it as part of the Arizona Quilt Documentation Project.
On this day in 1866, philanthropist and diplomat Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in New York City. Bergh witnessed cruelty to work horses during his diplomatic post in Russia and was determined to get anti-cruelty laws passed back in the United States. The ASPCA was based on a similar organization in England, and it quickly became the model for more than 25 other humane organizations in the U.S. and Canada, including the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
Pauline Salzman of Treasure Island, Florida, made this small wall quilt, titled “Get a Dog,” for the 2008 Quilt Alliance contest,
“My Quilts/Our History.” From Salzman’s artist’s statement: In the tradition of Harriette Powers . . . I try to do quilts that tell a story. It just can’t always be another pretty picture. I need to learn something and sometimes just have fun. I would like the viewer to see my quilts on different levels. The first being the overall view, the second the directional quilting and in this case the writing. I hope it makes you smile.”
On this day in 1887, African American composer, arranger and teacher Florence Beatrice Smith Price was born in Little Rock, Arkansas to a teacher/entrepreneur and a dentist. Young Florence played her first piano recital at age four, taught by her mother. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra presented Price’s Symphony in E Minor during the Chicago World’s Fair (Century of Progress Exposition) in 1933, marking the first time a symphony by a black woman had been performed by a major symphony orchestra.
Mary Gasperik made this “Star Arcturus—Century of Progress” quilt based on patterns shared in the Nancy Cabot newspaper column in 1933 that honor the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition. Susan Salser, Gasperik’s grand-daughter, began researching her grandmother’s quilts in 1991, after she and her two sisters divided up the quilts which belonged to their mother (Elsie Gasperik Krueger) who died in 1988. The Mary Gasperik Quilts consist of more than 80 full-sized quilts plus numerous miniatures and studies created in Chicago between 1933 and 1967 by Hungarian immigrant and award winning quiltmaker Mary Gasperik.
On this day in 563 B.C., Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born as Prince Siddhartha in the kingdom of Sakyas, situated on the borders of present-day Nepal and India. Buddha left a life of great luxury to travel the world and seek inspiration and understanding. He became a Buddha, or supremely enlightened teacher, at age 35 and died at age 80, leaving a community of monks to carry on his work. Today there are an estimated 350 million Buddhists in the world.
Patricia Healey of Poughkeepsie, New York made this 16” x 16” quilt, titled “We Are One” in 2011 for the Quilt Alliance annual contest. Healey wrote this in her artist’s statement: “The traditional Dresden Plate pattern forms a healing mandala. The background fabric reminds me of a Hindu woman’s sari and the gold of Buddhist temples. Gold sparkles throughout the quilt as a reminder of divinity in all its forms. The top border is embellished with charms, amulets and symbols of diverse religious philosophies. When not quilting, I teach Major World Religions at Dutchess Community College.”
On this day in 1915, American jazz icon Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Holiday “apprenticed” with Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong by singing along to their records in after-hours jazz clubs in Baltimore, and by the age of 15, she had moved to New York City with her mother and was singing in Harlem nightclubs for tips. At age 18, she made her first recording as part of a studio group led by Benny Goodman. In the 1930s, Holiday was first introduced to the poem “Strange Fruit,” an emotional piece about the lynching of a black man. Though Columbia would not allow her to record the piece due to subject matter, Holiday went on to record the song with an alternate label, Commodore, and the song eventually became one of Holiday’s classics.
April Shipp of Auburn Hills, Michigan made this quilt titled “Strange Fruit: A Century of Lynching” in 2003. The quilt includes the following inscription:
“Strange Fruit. A Century of Lynching and Murder 1865-1965 (in red machine embroidery) Dedicated to Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (in gold machine embroidery) 100s of names of victims of lynchings and their states (in gold machine embroidery).”
On this day in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. The 39-year-old civil rights leader was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike and was on his way to dinner.
Beverly Ann White of Pontiac, Michigan finished this pictorial quilt, titled “View from the Mountain Top” in July 1991. Included in this Quilt Index record is a quote by the artist: “The dedication on this quilt was made to slain civil rights workers [including King] which I describe as warriors for the cause of freedom and equality. I cannot chronicle the brave and valiant fight of each and every one of the honorable souls who have fought for the rights of African-Americans throughout the history of the United States; I can, however, attempt to show several of those heroes who have impressed me.” This quilt is in the Michigan State University Museum collection.
On this day in 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon came ashore somewhere near present-day St. Augustine, Florida and claimed the territory for the Spanish crown. Ponce de Leon was looking for the fabled “Fountain of Youth.” He never found the source of eternal youth, but he is credited for naming Florida. De Leon’s landing on the lush, green coast happened around Easter feast time, or Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers).
Patricia L. Styring of St. Augustine, Florida made this miniature quilt, titled “Petroglyph” in 1997. The quilt was machine pieced, painted, embellished and machine quilted, and is now part of the Founders Collection at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.
On this day in 1976, Apple Computer, Inc. was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Their first product was the Apple I personal computer kit, hand-built by Wozniak, offered for sale at $666.66 (with inflation that would be $2,723 today). Apple, Inc. (“Computer” was dropped), was incorporated in early 1977 after Wayne sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800. In 2012 the company’s value reached a world-record $624 billion dollars.
Hattie Lawton of St. Thomas, Ontario in Canada hand appliqued and hand quilted this Apple Blossom quilt in 1989. From this Quilt Index record:
This quilt was given to the OAAS (Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies) and winner received $600.00. It competed at the Aylmer & East Elgin Fair, which was the first step to becoming a grand champion winner. The (Canada Packers) competition started in 1979 and completed in 1997. It is #12 of 19 quilts.
This quilt was documented by the Country Heritage Park in 2012. Country Heritage Park is an interactive heritage park depicting the evolution of agriculture and rural life in Ontario over the last 170 years.
On this day in 1936, American poet, novelist, and social activist Marge Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan. She is the author of seventeen novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers, eighteen volumes of poetry including The Hunger Moon and The Moon is Always Female, and a critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats. She has been a key player in anti-war and equal rights movements in the U.S.
Pauline Gibbons of Waterford Township, Michigan (about 45 minutes northwest of Detroit) made this Seven Sisters quilt entirely by hand in the 1930’s. From this record:
“Made for her daughter Elizabeth on her death passed to daughter Patricia (Betty’s sister) on her death passed to Susan Bieri (Patricia’s daughter). Susan says, “This is one of my most treasured possessions…She only made 7 quilts and then decided she didn’t like quilting.”
Bieri documented the quilt as part of the Michigan Quilt Project.
On this day in 1776, Mexican-born explorer Juan Bautista de Anza arrived at the future site of San Francisco with 247 colonists. Seven years earlier the Portola expedition, which included Franciscan friars led by Junipero Serra, had reached the Golden Gate and discovered San Francisco for Spain. Anza established a military fort called a presidio on the tip of the San Francisco peninsula, now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Loree Marquardt of Colorado Springs, Colorado made this house-shaped wall quilt titled “Right Back Where I Started From” in 2012 for the Quilt Alliance’s “Home Is Where the Quilt Is” contest. Marquardt says in her artist’s statement:
“I am a ninth generation Californian. My tenth great grandfather in 1769 traveled with the Portola Expedition and Father Serra to San Diego. They then went on to discover the Port of Monterey. This quilt is a small tribute to where I started from. California symbolizes so many things to me from the Golden Gate Bridge, to the mission bells, to the surfing shore line, to my heritage. Home is where the quilt is.”