Family lore passes from generation to generation in many ways: through written histories, oral traditions, and photographs. For the Shaifer family of Port Gibson, Mississippi, an amazing collection of fifty quilts made by women from four generations holds the story of the family's past. Seldom has a family collection of quilts of this range been shared. Not only do the quilts cover a significant time span, but they include diverse types, patterns, and techniques. Threading the Generations: A Mississippi Family's Quilt Legacy tells the story of the Shaifer family, beginning with Abram Keller Shaifer who came down the Natchez Trace in 1813 and settled in Port Gibson. The book skillfully connects the family's history with the quilts from 1813 to the present. Featuring seventy-five photographs of quilts, family members, and important locations, Threading the Generations includes a discussion of each quilt and the major quilters. Not just a quilt book, however, it is also about family struggles and achievements, relationships, and life as it was lived by thousands of southerners during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Of special interest is the post-Civil War era when the Shaifer family established personal connections via letters, gifts, and visits between sworn enemies from the North and South. Research provides ties between generations of women who not only shared a love of one another but also a love of quilting. The legacy they have left will live on as a testament to their creativity, artistic abilities, and strong sense of family. Author of numerous books on quilts and quiltmaking, Mary Elizabeth Johnson, Montgomery, Alabama, is a publishing consultant, freelance writer, and editorial director of Wordcraft, a publishing company. Carol Vickers, Decatur, Mississippi, is an author and retired English instructor. She coordinated research for and wrote the introduction to Mississippi Quilts.show more