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The American Quilt: A History of Cloth and Comfort 1750-1950 Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 28, 2004


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 28, 2004
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (September 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517575353
  • ASIN: B000YG0EVK
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,330,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is something that an overcrowded market actually needs: not just another do-it-yourselfer's patchwork quilt guide, Kiracofe's ( Homage to Amanda: 200 Years of American Quilts ) ambitious survey takes stock of American quilting's causes and effects. And, naturally, he recognizes the story of quilt lineage as social, involving members of families or communities in work that was practical, durable, and aesthetically satisfying. Kiracofe goes into detail, addressing what fabrics and dyes, as well as patterns, were used at different points in American history; the role of slaves in Southern quilting, and African American quiltmaking styles; the effect of westward expansion on quilt supply and demand; and the craze for the "Oscar" quilt (featuring a sunflower motif) following a much-publicized visit to the U.S. in 1882 by Oscar Wilde. Of course, that's not all: there are also the quilts themselves, on view here in startling illustrated abundance--from an Islamic-seeming "sunburst" specimen, made in Pennsylvania, circa 1901, to an azure-blue and canary-yellow Hawaiian applique variety from 1946. Serious collectors and quilters will need this book; many others will want it.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

For more than two hundred years, American women have been recording their hopes and dreams, their fears and frustrations in the exacting stitches and exuberant designs of their quilts. The American Quilt shows how these virtuoso textiles, long appreciated for their bold graphic appeal and naive charm, are also a fascinating reflection of cultural and social attitudes, painting an indelible portrait of our nation's history and the remarkable women who lived it.

America of the 18th and 19th centuries developed at a breathtaking pace, and the changes that marked each era were inevitably mirrored in the prevailing quilting styles of the period. The American Quilt marks the first time the evolution of quilting has been traced chronologically, identifying the fabric, design, and construction hallmarks of each period and showing the genesis of beloved patterns and styles. A thorough discussion of America's textile history, complete with a fabric time-line, provides further insight into antique quilts, offering important clues to their age and provenance.

The American Quilt charts the course of quilting in America, from the earliest whole-cloth and broderie perse quilts through the emergence of the block style in all its regional and popular permutations. Special sections are devoted to quilt subgenres, including Amish quilts, Baltimore Album quilts, mourning quilts, and African-American quilts, that are highly prized by collectors today.

Quilt collectors will also find helpful information on displaying, storing, and caring for quilts, as well as an exhaustive directory of dealers and quilt collections that have been updated for this edition.

Filled with more than 250 photographs of rarely seen quilts and delightful evocations of quilting's colorful past, The American Quilt is a thought-provoking and important step forward in our ever-expanding knowledge of this remarkable folk art.

"[The American Quilt] offers a profusely illustrated survey that ingeniously weaves the threads of America's social, political, economic, and industrial history into the evolution of the quilt-making arts." —New York Times

"A longtime dealer of antique quilts, Kiracofe has given us a guide to evaluating and dating old quilts, and has included methods of tracking down the makers, and advice on their cleaning, storage, hanging, and restoration. A pleasure for the generalist, this book will be indispensable to serious students and collectors." —Washington Post

"A must for any serious student of quilts." —Quilter's Notebook

A "classic quilt tome."—USA Today --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I recommend this book highly for those of you who are looking for inspiration, as there are no patterns.
K. Lowe
This is a lovely and engrossing book for anyone interested in American history or women's history, as well as in quilting and other fabric arts.
K. Drake
I'm very picky when I purchase books because I want them to be worthy of my time, money, and shelf space.
Diane Conner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Huntington, NY on May 14, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book that completes a well planned study and demonstration of the impact regarding quilts in our American heritage.The overviews in each chapter are written in an easy to read yet highly intelligent fashion, with a fabulous array of photographs to document each junture of North America's quilting heritage. There are many fascinating paths of interest that take one off of the beaten path, and into other domains of history, spanning 200 years of society, tradition and data concerning work, love, and the pure romance of this subject.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
The quilt, as a craft, is a well-explored area for authors. Quilting, you needn't be told, is enjoying a huge popularity with television shows, websites and shops for fabrics in almost every town. Even a friend of mine in a small village in the Black Forest of Germany quilts enthusiastically and wanted to visit American quilt shops on her first trip to the USA.

If you are a quilt lover, you can profit by reading author Kiracofe's examination of quilts, from a study of fabrics and dyes, to the change in pattern popularity over time. For example, postage-stamp quilts, or quilts made of the tiniest squares, were in vogue as a sort of stunt or show of skill.

African American quilts are an important part of quilt history and have unique and very characteristic design as well as marking the course of history from slavery to freedom. The Baltimore area, near where I live, is known for a style of applique quilt that bears the name of the city. I myself own a quilt from Kentucky that I now believe dates to the 1930's; I was able to research more about the type of print used in the fabric by reading this book.

This book is beautifully photographed and rich in historical detail. If you know a quilter or if you are a quilt enthusiast yourself, this volume will not only delight but prove useful in research and education.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Krstnl on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book was given to me as a gift. How fortunate that I had such a friend! The most beautiful quilt book, the best selection of quilts, the best range, the best details, the best photography, the best printing, and comprehensive scholarship text to boot (I just can't get past the pictures). Includes some familiar quilts, but also many, many, many wonderful ones not seen elsewhere. I have a wall of 25 years of well-loved quilt books and I rate this at the top. Splendid. Exquisite. Be so fortunate.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K. Drake on June 4, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a history buff, Civil War reenactor, and (very) beginning quilter, I wanted a basic reference book to help me learn about quilting styles and techniques from the Colonial through Victorian periods. This book provides that information and much more. In simple yet evocative language the authors lead us through the development of American quilting and discuss how social, economic, and political circumstances affected how quilts were designed and constructed over the years.

This book is a fascinating glimpse into the past, tracing the evolution of our country through the stitches of quilting. The supplies and tools that were available at any given time, together with the imagination and ingenuity of women at each point in history, resulted in the emergence of new techniques and designs. It's amazing to page through this book and see how something as seemingly simple as a quilt block takes on a whole new meaning in the context of its time. For example, in the 1840s, a time of migration to the West: "As family and friends were uprooted and separated from one another, a great many women carried quilts composed of blocks with precious messages from those left behind, whom they would likely never see again.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If I could own only one book on the quilting history of United States this would be it. Yes, it costs more, but it is worth every penny. The quintissential source of American quilt history. Ask for this one for Christmas.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Deborah A. Hersko on July 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book expands on the history of the quilt with other interesting events in the era. If you like quilting and history you will enjoy this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joan Badami on May 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The benchmark of quilt book histories. Anyone interested in the history of quilting in America should include this book in their library. The photographs are striking and the accompanying explanations add to the reader's knowledge of the quilter's stories. The author's have given the quilter a priceless resource to which I refer often.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Molly on May 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I LOVE this book. I've read every single word--studied every picture. It's been fascinating matching the history of American women to the evolution of the various styles of fabrics and quilts. I have a large collection of rather shabby but beloved quilts that span 170 years. After reading this book, I finally feel that I could arrange them all in a timeline format. I have little post-its sticking out from all edges of my book so I can continue to use it as a reference. If you have a passion for older quilts and an interest in understanding their importance you will enjoy reading this big, heavy book. If you're not a reader, the photographs alone will suffice.
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