Mary Black's Family Quilts

Mary Black's Family Quilts : Memory and Meaning in Everyday Life

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A lavishly illustrated exploration of quilting across six generations. ""Mary Black's Family Quilts"" utilizes a remarkable collection of sixteen quilts to tell the story of a family through six generations and to document with scholarly and aesthetic insights the material behaviors associated with quilting traditions. The daughter of a prominent farmer, Mary Louisa Snoddy Black (1860-1927) is remembered in the Spartanburg, South Carolina, region for the hospital named in her honor and for the philanthropic foundation that continues to support community health and wellness. Laurel Horton explores the even more tangible legacy Black left to her descendants - trunks full of quilts made by the Black family women, each labeled with detailed information about its origin and significance. Pairing the information from the labels with research culled from interviews, letters, and public documents, Horton stitches together the family's history across the fabric of two centuries as she explores the roles of women as keepers of home, hearth, and history in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. Valuable both as artistic creations and as historical artifacts, the Black family quilts reflect decades of work, familial interactions, economic philosophy, and personal and communal values. Suggesting that quilts were exchanged as a mode of currency in an informal, female-centered economy, Horton uncovers the clues they hold about the people who made and used them in their daily lives. From the whole-cloth quilt made by Black's great-grandmother around 1850 to examples from the early twentieth century, Horton traces changes in style, material, and functions of quilts. In doing so, she dispels popular misconceptions associated with these pieces of Americana. ""Mary Black's Family Quilts"" also includes a foreword by Michael Owen Jones, professor of culture and performance, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Craftsman of the Cumberlands: Tradition and Creativity.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 228.6 x 279.4 x 12.7mm | 1,043.26g
  • South Carolina, United States
  • English
  • 32 colour plate, 67 black & white photos
  • 1570036098
  • 9781570036095

Review quote

"Mary Black's Family Quilts represents an intriguing blend of South Carolina history, social history, material culture, and women's studies for academics and general readers alike. Laurel Horton's thorough research into the Black family history spans generations and her engaging narrative gives us an incredibly personal portrait of the ordinary women who made these delightful quilts."
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About Laurel Horton

Laurel Horton is an independent folklorist and internationally recognized textile scholar. A native of Kentucky, she holds an M.A. in folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The principal author of Social Fabric: South Carolina's Traditional Quilts, she was curator of an exhibition of the same name at the University of South Carolina's McKissick Museum. Horton directed the South Carolina Quilt Project and has published more than thirty articles on quiltmaking traditions. She lives in Seneca, South Carolina.
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Rating details

3 ratings
4.66 out of 5 stars
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4 33% (1)
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