Quiltmaking 1941 to 1945 – The War Years

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The Middlesex County Historical Society will present quilt expert, Sue Reich, on Thursday, January 31 at 7:00 pm in the Hubbard Room of Russell Library.  The title of her talk is “Quiltmaking 1941 to 1945 – The War Years.”  Between 1941 and 1945, women were busy working in the defense industries, planting Victory Gardens, and keeping the home fires burning.  Newspaper articles from the war years report women were making quilts in record numbers.  These quilts made while their sons, husbands, brothers and loved ones were on the battlefront have been packed away in attics and trunks for 60 years.  As members of “The Greatest Generation” continue to pass away, their children are bringing these quilts into the market place.


There were very specific types of quilts made during the war: the obvious red, white and blue patriotic quilts; the quilts with military symbols and insignia; quilts made for donations to the Red Cross and organizations such as Bundles for Britain; quilts made to raise money for the war effort; and quilts that look exactly like any other quilt made between 1920 and 1950.  Sue has assembled a collection of 30 of these quilts, some of which will be on display, along with the ephemera to place them historically in time.  The ephemera include photographs, V mail, ration books, parachute samples, magazines, and newspaper quilting patterns.


Sue began her interest in the study of quilt history with the Connecticut Quilt Search Project in 1991.  A quiltmaker since childhood, she lectures widely on many aspects of quilt history and has been a guest curator at the New England Quilt Museum, the Litchfield Historical Society, the Mattatuck Museum, and the Gunn Museum.  She also is the co-author of Quilts and Quiltmakers Covering Connecticut. 


Russell Library located at 123 Broad Street is handicapped accessible.  For further information on this program, which is free and open to the public, call the Historical Society at 860-346-0746.


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