Briefly Noted: ‘Border to Border: Historic Quilts and Quiltmakers of Montana’

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The quilts featured in this richly illustrated, carefully researched book chronicle 150 years of Montana history. They tell stories about struggles for women’s suffrage, the Great depression, two world wars and Montana’s statehood. You’ll see detailed information about individual quilts and those who made them.

Published by the Montana Historical Society Press last year, Border to Border is available in both hard cover and paperback.

Excerpt from the Book

This lovely Goose in the Pond quilt was possibly the oldest one found by the Montana Historic Quilt Project, and it offered a bit
of a mystery to the documenters. The owners knew the quilt had traveled to Montana with Maxine Otis’s parents, who came to homestead near Hobson in 1916;  ther details about the quilt were sparse. Initially this quilt was thought to be made between 1830 and 1850, but these dates conflicted with family tradition that the quilt had been made in 1812. Upon closer inspection, the documenters discovered that the fabric was older than they originally thought, some of it dating to the late 1700s. A second look at the quilt also revealed a date and name buried in the quilting: 1811, Robert McInnis. Soon, additional hints about the quilt popped out of the fabric. An ink inscription appeared stamped in a corner block with the name Sarah H. Jones and the town Erie, Pennsylvania. Robert McInnis’s name was also inked into the quilt elsewhere, although by now the “c” and “I” in his name had started to fade. Whatever the bond Robert McInnis and Sarah Jones shared, the quilt was clearly a treasured possession. As reliable permanent ink was not available until the 1830s, the ink inscription was probably added after the quilt was made to leave a lasting record of those connected to it.

For more information about Montana quilts, see also the Montana Historic Quilt Project index. According to the site, “The Quilt Index” is a growing research and reference tool designed to provide unprecedented access to information and images about quilts held in private and public hands.”

–Malcolm

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