Joining the Quilt Layers

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Susan’s original LeMoyne Star quilt now rests in the vault of the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC), safely preserved but too fragile to be on constant display.

Sarah LeCount of RMSC shows original Susan B. Anthony quilt to Carol Crossed and Berkshire quilters. Photo by Jeanne Gehret

Sarah LeCount of RMSC shows original Susan B. Anthony quilt to Carol Crossed and Berkshire quilters. Photo by Jeanne Gehret

 

With the cooperation of Sarah LeCount of RMSC, the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum in Adams, Massachusetts commissioned photos and measurements of Susan’s handiwork and supplied them to the Berkshire quilters mentioned in my previous post. In 2012 the completed top was then sent to Lenexa, Kansas, where the Legler Barn Stitchers finished the quilt and stitched the top to its backing. The Kansas group was selected because the state was celebrating its 100th anniversary of ratifying the 19th amendment, the seventh state to do so.

In 2012, I had the pleasure of meeting those women and presenting Susan B. Anthony in costume at the Legler Barn.

More on the final phase of the quilt next time!

Built in 1864, the barn was built on the Santa Fe Trail that started in Missouri and meandered on through Leavenworth, a frontier town where Susan often visited her brother Daniel.

Sometimes the Legler Barn Stitchers donned 19th century costumes to make living history demonstrations. The thousands of tiny stitches they used to join the top to its backing are testament to their own attention to detail and the artistry of 15 year-old Susan.

On February 15, 2014 the completed project “came home” to Massachusetts and now has pride of place in the room where Susan B. was born in what is now the Birthplace Museum. In similar fashion, two lovely replica quilts done by the Genesee Valley Quilters of Rochester decorate the upstairs rooms at the Susan B. Anthony House.

As a footnote, Susan continued to quilt long after she became an adult. In the early and mid-nineteenth century, women seldom participated in discourse at town meetings. Keeping this in mind, Susan often took her early reform message to quilting bees where women could speak freely. In addition, it’s likely that she contributed handcrafted items to raffles to support antislavery and temperance speakers.

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