Uncoverings 1980 Volume 1 – Four Twentieth Century Quiltmakers by Joyce R. Gross

Four Twentieth Century Quiltmakers

Joyce R. Gross


Although a number of the nation’s art museums have quilts in their collections made by nationally known quiltmakers, information about the quiltmakers has been almost totally lacking. In some instances, not even the significant dates of the artists were known by the museums. This I found to be highly frustrating, and so began research of my own into the lives of twentieth century quiltmakers.

Four of these master quiltmakers are presented here. Better known than many of their colleagues because their work is in museums and has been photographed for catalogs and other publications, they are not the only master quilt makers of their period. The names of most quiltmakers still remain unknown to us.

Material for these biographies comes from diaries, letters, newspaper articles, and interviews with families and friends.

Myrtle Mae Fortner

Myrtle Mae Fortner is known for a single quilt, The Matterhorn, in the collections of the Denver Muse um of Art. It has been shown in major exhibitions in Denver, at the Hallmark Gallery in New York, in the American Pavilion at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan, and in San Francisco at two “Patch in Time” quilt shows and at the Bank of America Headquarters Gallery.

Born Myrtle Mae Melvin in Camden, Illinois, December 13, 1880, the artist was the ninth of ten children. When Mertie (as she was called by her family) was small, her older sister died leaving two daughters. Those two little girls, Flora and Myrtle, came to live with the Melvin family,

Joyce Gross, BA, University of California, is editor and publisher of QUILTERS’ JOURNAL. She has organized and curated five major quilt shows, and is expert on quiltmakers of the 20th century and Hawaiian quilts. Address: P.O. Box 270, Mill Valley, CA 94942.



and Flora was to become a favorite of her aunt’s. In the diary she kept in 1955, her 75th year, Mertie wrote: “This is Flora’s birthday. I did not send her a card or a gift but insisted on paying for our lunch when we were in Lancaster on Saturday. No one can ever know how very much I have loved that precious baby. I myself was still playing with dolls when she was brought to our home at 2½ months. This one was far more loveable and interesting than any doll. I hope I have never failed her when I could be of help to her.”

Mertie married her first cousin, Linneous Fortner, despite parental objection. Two years later she left, alone, for Los Angeles. On October 22, 1955, she wrote in her diary, “I was married in Denver, Colo. 54 years ago today. It doesn’t seem that it can be so long ago. There is neither pleasure nor regret in the memory. It now seems that it was just an experience which was part of my education and no one was to blame

– just two people with ideas and ideals so different that there could be no adjustment and I am glad it happened so soon.”

In Los Angeles she became successful, building and managing apartment houses. During the depression she lost everything and was forced to start a new life in the small desert town of Llano, CA. With her own hands she built a small cabin. She had neither running water nor electricity but she managed a pleasant life. On August 14, she wrote, “I am glad to be left to my own quiet way except when some of my real friends or relatives come.” On December 13, “I have spent the day alone but not lonely.” Her life was made up of many everyday tasks. On January 22, she wrote, “Emptied ashes this A.M. That is a major operation … always three buckets full and a mess on the floor to be cleaned up. Melted some more snow. Carried in several loads of wood.” February l she noted, “Cold & windy today. I have carried in 6 loads of wood and two of water. Looks like another storm in a day or two.” On February 5 she wrote, “Just a quiet morning washing dishes. Hoped the man would be here to adjust the gas but he did not come.” On August 16, she wrote, “Went to the store this afternoon and now have more variety to eat.”

“Mertie” loved Scrabble games, which she played by herself and with her niece Flora who was a frequent visitor. On January 30 the diary reads, “I read aloud awhile this evening and then she beat me at Scrabble. I am sure I don’t know why I never win games of any kind but that seems to be the case – Well I enjoyed the game – and we’ll try it again. We always learn a few new words, but I wish they were longer ones instead of 3 to 5 letters as most of them are.”

On March 29 she wrote, “Played a game of Scrabble this evening with


R & L representing 2 players – R won as usual though I favor neither

-that one usually has letters that fit better.” On Sunday May 15 she notes, “I played a solo game of Scrabble this evening and for the first time I got all of my 7 letters moved to the board at one time. The word was ‘smeared’ so I got 50 points for that but my score was still only 576. John May says his highest score was 665 out of a possible 1,000 so I’m not satisfied yet.”

Quiltmaking is not mentioned in this diary but several references are made to the Matterhorn and a large braided rug which she had made. The first reference was on January 2, “This has been a good day. Four people came to see my quilt and braided rug. The quilt pieced in small squares -9, 135 of them and is a picture of the Matterhorn – mountains, stream, trees and rocks all in place – with two cabins.” Her family believe that the two cabins represent her own and one belonging to Flora that she could see from her window. On June 5, she wrote, “They admired my quilt and rug.”

Myrtle frequently mentioned her Christian Science faith and appar­ently read her lesson and the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR faithfully.

Toward the end of the year 1955 Mrs. Fortner begins to mention that a change in her lifestyle will occur. On Sunday October 2, she noted, “We attended church at Victorville today. Went to the Desert Inn for lunch, bought the Sunday Times (from Los Angeles) and read it while listening to soft music being broadcast from the station in the morning. Had dinner here and have been looking at house plans again. I guess it is decided that I will put the house on the market and have a cottage built near Victorville so I wilJ have electricity and no longer carry water, chop wood, and put up with my crudities in my manner of living – I am sure it is time to quit – so I will be happy to make the change soon.”

One of the last entries of the year was Tuesday December 27, “Flora and I went downtown (to Los Angeles) today and looked at furniture. They are using more handpainted than for several years so I am going to try my skill on some pieces I have. Want to get them ready for the new home.”

Flora and her husband did a great deal of traveling and it is probable that they visited the Matterhorn in Switzerland. They may have brought a picture postcard but Mertie made it her own with the addition of redwood trees, stream and cabins. She painted a watercolor of the scene with only one cabin which she evidently made before the quilt.

Only one other quilt, Flora’s Quilt, remains in the family. It is both pieced and appliqued. Mertie also painted china and did water colors.

She moved to her new home near Victorville soon after 1955 and there are no more diaries. According to her nephew she became ill and he lost track of her until her attorney notified him of his inheritance. She died October 6, 1966 in San Bernadino, CA.

Her nephew, Melvin Dorsett, wrote to me: “We had been thrilled in her desert home when she pulled back the protective drapes and showed us her textile masterpiece. She did other quilts but this was the only one she created with the hope that ‘it would someday be judged worthy of exhibition in a museum’”. Today it is part of the Denver Art Museum quilt collection, a gift of her nephew. He also gave them a copy of her poem:

I quilt with stitches small And know a century hence Posterity will gasp and say How neat.

Jeannette Dean-Throckmorton

Dr. Jeannette Dean-Throckmorton presented five of her quilts to the Art Institute of Chicago for their collection. One of the quilts, the Feathered Star, was lost and there are four in the collection now: Goldfinch and Flowers, dated 1947, Blue Iris, circa 1945, Rosebreasted Grosbeak and State Birds and Flowers.

Jeannette Franc Throckmorton was born at 8 am on Friday January 26, 1883 in Derby, Iowa. She was third in a family of seven children. Her father, Dr. Thomas Throckmorton and her mother, Mary Ann Bentley Throckmorton, were both from large families, so many cousins lived nearby and large family gatherings and much visiting between families occurred. It is probable that much of the social life of that small midwestern community was family oriented. To Jeannette, the family remained an integral part of her life.

Jeannette was a good student and received excellent grades from the public schools in Chariton, Iowa. She performed prodigious feats of memory such as memorizing the Declaration of Independence at the age of twelve and the entire Constitution at the age of fourteen. Her father rewarded her with 25¢ for the first accomplishment and $2.00 for the second. Both events were duly noted in the home town paper and appeared in her genealogy book.

She graduated from Chariton High School and was a speaker at the graduating ceremonies. Her thesis was “The Wisdom of Mother Goose.” Unfortunately no copy of that document has survived.

She was most anxious to go to college and was obviously a bright student but she had opposition from her father. Some family members feel that her father only allowed her to go to college after she had promised to go to medical school, enter her father’s medical practice, and never marry.

She attended the Simpson College of Liberal Arts and received her Ph.Bin June 1904 before attending the Keokuck Medical School where she completed the four year course in three years. She was graduated on May 14, 1907.

When Jeannette took the State Board of Medicine’s Examination for a certificate to practice, she received the highest grades of all 140 doctors who were examined by the board. She received a 94% average and 100% in some subjects. These facts were also duly noted in the home town newspaper and clipped for her genealogy book.

1907 was also the year she began quilting.

Dr. Jeannette joined her father’s medical practice in 1907 and continued with him until 1919 when her loss of hearing became too much of a problem. She then went into the U.S. Public Health Service and for the next six years she lectured throughout Iowa and nearby states. She lectured on “A Study of the Heredity of Feeblemindness,” “Blood Examinations” and “A Preliminary Report on the Health of Women Students in the Colleges of the State.”

In 1914 she completed an extensive genealogy about her family, tracing the Throckmorton family back to John Throckmorton who came to this country in 1630. She presented six inch thick books to the members of the six branches of the family. The inscription in each of the books read, “It has been said, the best possessions of a family are its common memories. To honor and preserve the memory of those who have passed to the Great Beyond, to foster a proper family feeling and pride, to keep for the future generations the record of their ancestry, these pages are placed in the hands of the six branches of the family and entrusted to their keeping.” Each book was filled with letters, snippets of wedding dresses, photographs, drawings, locks of hair, etc.

In 1916, Dr. Jeannette received a letter from her brother, Dr. Tom Bentley Throckmorton which announced that she had been passed over for office as a member of the State Board of Health. According to “Dr. Tom” the appointment had almost been “air tight” but at the last moment the governor had changed his interpretation of the rules of appointment. Tom wrote, “I almost shed tears today, but I am glad to know I have a sister who at least is known to be better qualified than any man in the state, but the failure for Suffrage to carry, and hence your

inability to declare yourself a member of a political party, defeated you.” In I920, Dr. Jeannette was sent to Belgium as a representative of the

U.S. Public Health Service and was entertained by the Queen, who herself was an M.D. Later in the same years she was elected Vice President of the Royal Institute of Public Health in England.

On March 1, 1929, (her father deceased) Dr. Jeannette married Dr. Charles N. Dean, a former classmate from Keokuck with whom she had remained friends since graduation.Now aged 46, her photograph in her wedding dress shows the dress to be short and quite elaborate. She wore a head piece and dress length veil which was finished with fringe. Unfortunately the bridegroom became very ill only a few hours after the ceremony and died 10 days later. He was survived by his daughter Jeannette, a child from his first marriage.

On the inside cover of her copy of Marie Webster’s book, QUILTS: THEIR STORY AND HOW TO MAKE THEM is the inscription in her handwriting, “Dr. Jeannette Throckmorton-Dean, Sumner, March 11, 1929.”

She was extremely proud of her names – both first and last. For sometime after her husband’s death she signed her name, “Throck­morton-Dean” but eventually reversed the names and used, “Dean­ Throckmorton”. She loved to have children named “Jeannette” or “Jean” and was not above applying pressure on family members to do so.

After Dr. Dean’s death, Dr. Jeannette took the position of Medical Librarian with the Iowa State Medical Library, and continued to serve in that capacity until her death on July 24, 1963. She enjoyed the position and the young people with whom she associated. She died holding a manuscript of one of the students.

Dr. Jeannette entered her Dogwood quilt in the American Physicians Art Association. They had no “quilt” classification so she entered it in the “tapestry” class. In 1953 there is a letter from the Association congratulating her for the “piece” being voted the most popular by the judges and the finest piece of art work in the whole show. Incidentally she won a cup which had to be shipped to her collect because the treasury of that illustrious group was too low to stand the strain of the freight charges.

She had three books on quilts when she wrote a friend in 1947, but she underlined, annotated, and even drew designs in them all. She wrote names of the recipients of her quilts beside the quilt names and it was not unusual to have four or five names beside a single quilt. Under the picture of the Drunkard’s Path in Rose Kretsinger’s THE ROMANCE OF THE AMERICAN PATCHWORK QUILT she wrote, “I

made one for Cousin Merva, Cousin Willa, Clarice Bargor, myself 1950.” She wrote “This is a mistake” beside another picture of a Drunkard’s Path which showed many slips.

Sometime in the 1950 s, relatives sent her a pamphlet from the Victoria & Albert Museum which showed pictures of quilts donated by an American, Mrs. Foster Stearns. She immediately wrote to the museum asking them if they would be interested in receiving some of her quilts. They replied with a suggestion that she contact the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian policy of not accepting recent works led her to the Chicago Art Institute which was closer to home. Five of her quilts were finally accepted by the museum, two of them in 1959 and three more after Dr. Jeannette’s death. In September 1965, a newspaper article shows a picture of one of the five quilts which were on display for the entire month at the museum.

According to her own notes, Dr. Jeannette made many pieced quilts, but she became known for her elaborate applique quilts with stuffed and corded work. Most of them are inscribed with a date and signature and many with the recipient’s name. She also used kits, especially for the applique quilts. She didn’t use a frame for quilting, but preferred to work on her lap with large sections in a quilt-as-you-go method. In her later years she quilted with her good friend ‘Aunt Fanny’ Crist. In the summer they quilted at ‘Aunt Fanny’s’ where they could enjoy the garden and birds, but in winter they returned to Dr. Jeannette’s where they had electricity and a warmer house.

It isn’t known how many quilts she made in her lifetime. Sixteen years before she died, however, she estimated that she had made between 55 and 60. She lost track because she had given so many away.

In a tribute published in Volume 7, Number 2 of NIMBLE NEEDLE TREASURES (1975), Maxine Teele wrote “Long before the phrase had been coined, Dr. Jeannette Franc Dean Throckmorton was a woman’s libber in the very best sense. In spite of tragedy and handicaps (deafness plagued her most of her life and her eyesight was greatly impaired in later years) she faced life with zest, optomism, and a complete lack of bitterness. Her accomplishments are remarkable today. When we take into consideration the era in which she was born, they are monumental.”

Bertha Stenge

In the 1940’s and 1950’s Bertha Stenge was a name well known to quilters and quilt lovers. She had won 1st prize at the N.Y. World’s Fair, the Grand National Prize at the WOMAN’S DAY National Needlework

Exhibition, had her quilts displayed in one woman shows on both sides of the nation, been interviewed on radio and in newspapers, won scores of blue ribbons in county and state fairs, and her designs and patterns were carried in leading magazines such as WOMAN’S DAY and LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL.

Bertha Stenge was born Bertha Sheramsky on February 8, 1891 in Alameda, California, across the bay from San Francisco. Her father later changed the family name to Sheram. She attended Longfellow Grammer School and Alameda High School. It is not clear whether she attended the University of California at Berkeley, but she was a student

– possibly a private student – of Eugen Neuhaus, head of the Art Department at U.C.

In 1912 she married Bernard Stenge, an attorney who lived in Chicago. They had three daughters, Frances, Ruth, and Prudence. All three were married, but only Ruth had children. On Mrs. Stenge’s death, her quilts were divided between the three daughters. When Ruth died, her share was divided between her three daughters.

Bertha’s personal correspondence was carefully filed by the corre­spondent’s city or state. There were many letters from quilters asking for work or replying to Bertha’s request for information regarding their fees for quilting and the type of material they would use. Both daughters remember their mother quilting at the frame in the early mornings, so it is likely that she used professional quilters only later in life when she became pressed for time. She hired Mrs. Maud Sielveck of Karnack, Illinois to quilt The Persian Garden, the Victory quilt, and The Quilt Show.

Although Bertha did not begin quiltmaking until her daughters were grown, she won many prizes in state fairs as well as contests. In the 1940 New York World’s Fair contest, she entered her Palm Leaf quilt. It won the Grand Prize, and her total earnings for that one show on that one quilt were $725. The quilt was later shown in THE AMERICAN HOME of September 1947 as an advertisement for the pattern.

At the WOMAN’S DAY National Needlework Competition in 1942, Mrs. Stenge won $1,000 – the Grand Award for her Victory quilt – and

$125 in additional prizes. The contest was held and then the entries were shown at a large exhibition held at Madison Square Garden with Mary Margaret McBride, a radio celebrity, officiating at the ceremony. It was broadcast over NBC. Mrs. Stenge was invited to the ceremonies as a guest of WOMAN’S DAY. In the March 1943 issue of WOMAN’S DAY, the Victory quilt was pictured in full color. The caption under the picture assured the readers they could reproduce the quilt in cotton

materials for about $6.

Thirteen of Bertha Stenge’s quilts were hung for a one-woman show at the University of California Art Gallery in 1941. The exhibition was arranged by Mr. Eugen Neuhaus, head of the Art Department, and hung from November ninth to December first. In the summer of 1943, seventeen of her quilts were exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. NEWSWEEK of August second carried a review of the show which, according to the correspondence, was a somewhat inaccurate descrip­tion. Nevertheless, it was a review by a major news publication. It was considered a great success and Mrs. Stenge received a great deal of publicity.

As a result of the publicity she received letters from friends and strangers asking to come to her home to see her quilts. She was extremely generous with them and her personal correspondence is full of letters thanking her for her hospitality and the opportunity to see her wonderful quilts. They frequently mention Bertha’s husband and her daughters so it is obvious that “show time” was a family affair.

In November 1953, thirty of her quilts were shown at the Women’s International Exposition. Mrs. Stenge was in N.Y. for the week of the show. In 1979, seven of her quilts were exhibited at The Patch in Time Show in San Francisco through the courtesy of her daughters.

In 1971, Mrs. Stenge’s daughter Prudence Fuchsman sold some of the quilts, and there was a flurry of articles in the Chicago papers and the quilt publications. Unfortunately, no record was kept of where they went. The Art Institute of Chicago has the quilt Toby Lil in its collections, and the Chicago Historical Society has Chicago Fair. Most of the rest remain in the family.

Bertha Stenge died in Chicago after a brief illness on June 18, 1957. Florence Peto, a personal friend of Bertha’s, wrote to her daughter: “The world has lost a magnificent needlewoman; there isn’t another with the skill and ingenuity she displayed.”

Florence Peto

Florence Peto is the fourth quiltmaker to be discussed. Probably she had the greatest influence on the world of quilting of any of the four women. She was an excellent quiltmaker, wrote extensively, lectured to hundreds of women’s groups, influenced museums to buy and exhibit quilts, and she researched the history of some of our best known museum quilts.

She was born Florence Cowdin, one of four children, on November 25, 1881 in New York State. “Florie,” as she wanted her children and

grandchildren to call her, married Joseph Peto and had two children, John and Marjorie. John and his wife presented her with two grandsons, but Marjorie did not marry, and lived at home with her parents until she died. Marjorie went to Europe during World War II as a lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps. She later became a captain, and was retired from the Corps as a lieutenant-colonel.

Mrs. Peto was very close to her daughter. When Marjorie died following surgery in 1970, Mrs. Peto took to her bed and never got up again. She died about a year later, aged 88.

Following are excerpts from Florence Peto’s letters to Emma Andres between 1939 and 1955. Miss Andres and Mrs. Peto met only once, after many years of corresponding, when Miss Andres was visiting relatives on the East Coast and discovered her “pen pal” actually lived near by. In the years 1939-43 there were many letters. As the years went by and Mrs. Peto became busier, the letters were less frequent and shorter. But Florence always remember her friend at birthdays, Easter and other holidays. She sent copies of all her writings and many newspaper clippings. Most of the letters are typewritten about every day life but frequently she wrote at length about an antique show or her latest find. Her first letter to Miss Andres dated April l, 1939 began, “It was courteous of McCALL’S to send you my address for I enjoyed receiving you letter and am pleased to hear about your hobby. All this began as a hobby with me, too, only I feel now that, after giving thirty-five lectures

this winter to Women’s Clubs and for the Board of Education to their textile arts groups – well, it has outgrown the hobby stage.

My photographs of American-made quilts, spreads and woven coverlets number over three hundred – all have authentic histories verified by family records and papers … what I desire to do in gathering this material (is to) preserve the memory and identity of the quiltmaker as well as her needlework.”

On May 24, 1940 Mrs. Peto wrote “Well I lived through another broadcast experience … the subject was ‘Friendship and Album quilts’. An announcer asked all the questions and I had all the answers! The Index of American Design for whom I gave the broadcast have given me a lot of photographs of quilts, some of them most unusual. Now I have a lot of research to do for there were no histories for them.”

On August 13, a letter stated, “… Am to repeat my lecture at the World’s Fair; the Index of American Design considered it so successful they want to throw another ‘Quilting Bee’. ‘

March 21, 1941: “You are right; they keep me talking and talking. It is wonder someone hasn’t popped me into the U.S. Senate – the only

place where there is more talking than I do!

Next week, I give two more lectures and again one on the 26th. So when you do not hear from me, picture me with my mouth open.”

June 3, 1941: “For two days before Memorial Day, I gave out and lay flat on my back in bed; suppose I was overdoing it with all that work in such awful hot weather … Was enough better yesterday to hobble over to town and get my hair done – because I had decided that even if I was going to die I could not die with hair in such a mess as mine was! I felt very sorry for myself. Got a new permanent – a short hair cut and now have curls all over my pate and look as nearly like Shirley Temple as I ever will!”

June 6th, 1941, “Maybe it was to pay me back for the Shirley Temple hair-do that I have been ill in bed most of the time since.”

June 13, 1941, “My husband is funny: he can cook fairly well and clean up pretty well but there won’t be a dish left if I don’t get around soon! He comes upstairs like a small boy after I’ve heard a crash and tries to say that he didn’t do it – it slips from some place or bounces without anyone being near it – so help him.”

December 8, 1942, “The fun of Christmas is halted with the awful news over the radio last night; we were visiting friends in Brooklyn and we all sat as if stunned when we heard the news and realized the perfidy of Japan. Who knows what may be ahead.

Must go and make a pudding now – we have to eat no matter how sad and worried. Maybe I’ll get out my nine-patch quilt and try to finish it – practise what I preach. Good to keep busy when you are in trouble or worried.”

February 26, 1942, “After I put my aunt on her train yesterday in N.Y. I wandered into the stores; it was fatal for I bought two new dresses and a red, red hat! I was feeling rather ‘down’ and thought it might cheer me up to have some new clothes. I’m usually very conservative about what I wear on the platform but the next group listening to me is going to have to look at a red bonnet! I hope there will be no bulls among them.”

February 6, 1942, “Well the lightning has struck; daughter Marjorie goes away next Tuesday. I cannot imagine my life without her gay and loving personality about. She has been such a good child; how I hope she can be of service to her country and yet not have to undergo too many cruel hardships herself.”

February 15, 1942, “More dead than alive after a week of the most emotional upset; my daughter finally got away this morning. I did not go over to N.Y. to say ‘Goodby’for I felt one more Good by would finish me. Well, that’s that; I simply cannot cry anymore. My heart is so leaden

you could make bullets out of it. We didn’t cry when we parted her though- we laughed – she is the grandest girl to have laughs with!

January 18, 1944, “News: I finished my Nine-Patch quilt-top yesterday; now, the border and then I shall send it away to be quilted. It is so pretty.”

February 13, 1945, “My friend in Ohio, who gave my nine-patch out to be quilted, wrote that it is all done but the binding.”

September 11, 1945, “We have had such thrilling news: Marjorie is on her way home! She is to sail from Marseilles on September 15. The house is being scrubbed until the paint comes off!”

December 2, 1945, “Since Marjorie came home this house has been in such a whirl I’ve had no time for my own affairs and, indeed, owe everyone I know a letter.”

January 4, 1955, “Guess what Marjorie gave me? Sure, a quilt! A beautiful •cockscomb & Currants,’ exquisitely quilted! It was fun to see the children of the family on Christmas afternoon when we rode over to my son’s.”

Mrs. Peto liked to enter her quilts in contests and state fairs. Evidently she sometimes entered the same contests as Bertha Stenge though in different classifications. She sent a quilt to the contest at the Eastern States Exposition as late as 1967, three years before her death. She wrote a friend on November 28, 1967, “The work on some of the antique pieces will never be duplicated but it is far from a ‘lost art’. ‘Lost art of quilting’ – indeed – there is excellent work being done commercially and privately even by myself and I’ve a bureau drawer full of ribbons to prove it.”

Quilts from her antique collection were frequently on display. In 1948, the N.Y. Historical Society had an exhibition of quilts. A newspaper article states that it included Mrs. Peto’s “entire collection of 50 quilts”. In 1955 the Henry Ford Museum had an exhibit of her quilts. On December 12, 1967, she wrote to a friend, “Now I am getting ready for the big Exhibition of my whole quilt collection in the Suffolk County Museum in Stony Brook, L.I. It will go from Jan. 23 to April 23. This will be the last time I will show quilts as a collection for, after the show, I mean to offer many of them for sale. I have already sold some. I need the storage space.”

On February 17, 1968 she wrote the same friend, “I. .. have taken apart my lecture chart which I used to illustrate my Quilt Talk. There were 45 quilt blocks – hand made by me of course and in colors that would project from the platform. Now I am having pillows made of several and our local Woman’s Exchange sells them as fast as I get them

made. They are attractive and different. But I feel as if I were betraying old friends.”

In the ’60 s Florence Peto launched another career. She began giving classes, writing articles, and designing kits for crewel embroidery. She didn’t forsake her interest in quilts and historical textiles, she just added another full time interest. She frequently complained about being tired, but she loved the activity and complained just as bitterly if she had to give up something because of ill health.

Florence Peto died August 29, 1970. What a full life she led and what a wonderful heritage she left us! There are many quilts in museums because of her interst. Four of the most famous are the Emeline Dean quilt and the Demarest Medley in the Newark Museum, Mary Totten’s Rising Sun in the Smithsonian Institution, and Sophonisba Peale’s Star Medallion in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

These are but four of the large number of “fine” quiltmakers of the 1940’s and 50′ s. Their names are well known to most of us, not necessarily because they are the best but because they have quilts in museum collections. There are many more who deserve the same honor.