An avid needleworker herself, Alice clearly had a great fondness for the quilts, coverlets, samplers, rugs, and other textiles produced by early American women. In the early 20th century, such pieces were just beginning to be appreciated by collectors and reevaluated as art, worthy of exhibition alongside fine furniture, silver, and porcelain. In addition to their aesthetic value, textiles were powerful symbols of the thrift, industry, and domesticity of women in “great-grandmother’s time,” that semi-mythical era of self-sufficiency.
The tools used to make textiles are another important part of the collection. Spinning wheels, reels, swifts, carding combs, and a barn-frame loom are on display, along with pincushions, workboxes, and other sewing implements.
Image at top: Crazy quilt made by Lena Olena Blow of Sciota, NY, 1908