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September 21, 2010

“Quilting in the Federal Era: Clues from a Connecticut Diary” Lecture Explores the Role of Quilting in the 19th Century

The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum will host the lecture, Quilting in the Federal Era: Clues from a Connecticut Diary, 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

Learn about quilting and its role in women’s lives in early 19th century during a lecture given by Alden O’Brien, curator of textiles and costumes at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, Washington, D.C. O’Brien looks at Sylvia Lewis’ diary, which kept daily from the age of 15, records quilting alone and with others, at home and elsewhere, at all times of the year, both in her native state of Connecticut and after her migration to Ohio’s Western Reserve.

Extensive research into Sylvia’s life, family, neighbors and the towns where she lived, added to the study of Sylvia’s sewing, weaving, knitting and spinning, allows historians to get a clear picture of quilting and its role in the lives of women living in New England and on the western frontier during the 19th century.

Quilting in the Federal Era: Clues from a Connecticut Diary is part of the Material Witnesses: Quilts and Their Makers exhibition at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. This exhibition features 12 quilts and three woven coverlets. Each piece reveals the story of the person who made it whether it was a young woman or a professional weaver or a group of friends. All stand as evidence of the lives of people from the past. This exhibition was made possible by Mary and Clinton Gilliland of Menlo Park, Calif., through the Turner-Gilliland Family Fund and is on view through April 2012.

This lecture is part of the Distinguished Scholar Lectures, funded by the Horatio Hall Whitridge and Gracia Grieb Lecture Series Endowment.

Admission to these events is included in all Historic Area or museum admission passes.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, with more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670–1830.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets in Williamsburg, Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121