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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
Crazy quilt made by Virginia Allen, Adams County, MS, 1885
Mississippi Quilt Association volunteers displaying quilt made by Virginia Allen in Adams County, MS, 1885.

Mississippi Heritage Quilt Search

This statewide search for quilts made before 1946 took four years and produced documentation on 1,769 quilts. A volunteer team from the Mississippi Quilt Association held 19 search days from 1995 to 1997 to cover the state geographically. Local volunteers assisted with registration and interviews while quilting experts on the core team, with an extensive knowledge of the history of fabric, dyes, quilt patterns, and batting, analyzed and recorded detailed information, including quilt patterns, stitches per inch, and fabric. Each quilt was photographed on special frames that traveled with the team, and personal stories told by quilt owners were recorded. The resulting documentation has been archived in both computerized files and hard copies with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Photographs of 30 to 35 quilts and their makers will become a traveling exhibit in May 2000, and a book on the findings is scheduled for publication in 2001.

The quilt search unearthed some interesting stories from quilt owners. A quilt owner told how the quilt maker, her great-grandmother, hid the quilt in a hollow log near her home during the Civil War when she heard the Yankees were coming. An African-American quilt owner from Magnolia, Mississippi, brought in five quilts made in the last quarter of the 1800s. Some of the quilts, made by the first female in the owner's family to be born free following the Civil War, have fertilizer sacks used for backing with the print still showing.

Project documentation includes a 12-page written report; a quilt documentation survey form, with places to record information about the quilt itself, its maker, and provenance; a list of the number of quilts documented by county in Mississippi; a map of the 19 sites covered; and 15 color slides of quilts covered by the project.

Originally submitted by: Trent Lott,Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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