Oral Histories

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The Alliance for American Quilts (AAQ) supports several major oral history projects.

Boxes Under the Bed is an AAQ initiative to collect and document ephemera related to the history of quilting, which may include oral histories, as well as patterns, clippings, manuscripts, catalogues, and correspondence.
Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories
  • Transcripts and photographs online, audio tapes archived at Library of Congress.

Quilt Treasures is a partnership project between AAQ and the Michigan State University Museum and MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online at MSU.

Individuals currently documented as Quilt Treasures include:
  • Virginia Avery
  • Cuesta Benberry
  • Jinny Beyer
  • David and Patricia Crosby, founders of Mississippi Cultural Crossroads
  • Joyce Gross, editor and publisher, The Quilt Journal (1977-1987)
  • Jean Ray Laury
  • Bonnie Leman, founder of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine
  • Yvonne Porcella
  • Bets Ramsey, co-director of the documentation project Quilts of Tennessee
  • Hystercine Rankin
  • Mary Schafer
  • Merry Silber
  • Woodard and Greenstein

American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Quilts and Quiltmaking in America presents 181 segments from recorded interviews with quiltmakers and 410 graphic images (prints, positive transparencies, and negatives) from two collections in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: the Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project and the Lands' End All-American Quilt Contest Collection. The images of the quilts convey the range of contemporary quiltmaking styles in the United States, while the recorded interview segments provide information on the quiltmakers and their work within the context of their lives and region and a more in-depth portrait of quiltmaking in daily life.

Open Folklore

Open Folklore–now being created by the American Folklore Society and the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries–is a new scholarly resource that will make a greater number and variety of useful resources, both published and unpublished, available for the field of folklore studies and the communities with which folklore scholars partner.


Columbus Museum of Art's Quiltmaking in the 21st Century

Featured quilters include:
  • Deb Anderson
  • Sue Cavanaugh
  • Rise Nagin
  • Judy Rush
  • Arturo Sandoval
  • Rita Steffenson


Quilts in Women's Lives
Kathleen Ware, Quiltmaker

Michigan State University Museum

Repository for oral histories generated by the Quilt Treasures Project, African American Quiltmaking in Michigan project, 4-H History project, and To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions project. Also contains over a hundred oral histories conducted by students, staff, contracted specialists, and volunteers as part of classroom projects, programs on quiltmaking featured at the museum’s annual folklife festivals, and other exhibition related research projects, including one on Mary Schafer.

Pennsylvania Historical Societies

Quilting Stories of East Texas

Quilting Stories of East Texas documents quilts and quilters from the east Texas area, basically the premise is "if quilts could talk this is what they would say about themselves." The quilts on the web site are in the process of being migrated into a database for easier searching. Quilting Stories of East Texas is also in the process of streaming the video better and making PDF transcripts. Here is an example of one that has video:

The Quilts of Gee's Bend

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