Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics - Episode 2 - Quilts Bring History Alive

Episode 2: Quilts Bring History Alive



  • Beyond the Reach of Memory
  • The Quilt as Text
  • Windows into Two Centuries

We all wonder how people really thought, dressed, traveled, and behaved in generations past, and we need only to look to quilts to find out. Since quilts were made—not by artisans—but by ordinary women whose lives they closely reflect, they are fonts of information about the people and periods they represent.  In this episode we will explore the quilt’s unique ability to preserve, not only our own family histories, but the history of America beyond the reach of memory.  Join host Shelly Zegart as she analyzes quilts from two centuries up ago to the present, extracting information about everything from the state of transportation to the prevalence of smoking in their makers’ world.

Featuring appearances by Shelly Zegart, Kay Polson Grubola, Ricky Tims, James Grubola, William R. Ferris, Matt Arnett, Gerald Roy, Carolyn L. Mazloomi, Maxwell L. Anderson and Janine Janniere.


Episode Resources:

Image Resource Guide | Image GalleryBiographies


Watch Episode Preview:


Also in this episode:

In this video: Kay Polson Grubola, Artist & Independent Curator (Louisville, KY)


Image (page top): Crazy Friendship Quilt (detail). Mattie Layman. c. 1896. Wool with cotton backing. 70 1/2″ x 78 1/4″. Kentucky Library & Museum, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY.



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