What will this site be about?

Research and collecting is a continuous and exciting road of discovery.  No matter how long a person has collected material or how much material has been accumulated, there's always something new to discover.  Occasionally those new discoveries will be posted here.

It was the acquisition of the two patterns with the Mary Lee Quilts byline that inspired me to finally pursue an online format to share information and new discoveries.

My first major quilt-related research project was in 1983-84-85 when I scrolled through 244 reels of newspaper microfilm over a 17 month period to identify and date the quilt pattern collection published by the Kansas City Star and its farm paper, the Weekly Kansas City Star, later re-titled the Weekly Star Farmer, then self-published an Index to this amazing collection in early 1985, the first time this well-known collection had been methodically documented (see separate Kansas City Star page) and served as the source for two others that appeared in the years that followed.  However this was only one published source and one collection, and many more begged for the same attention.  In time, I hope to "make a difference" in our overall knowledge of published quilt patterns and their sources.

Researchers will discover the importance of the original engravings as they browse the various pages on this site and how these engravings provide clues to a published source when that vital information was lost as a quiltmaker added it to her quilt pattern box or scrapbook.  Modern interpretations of these engravings lose the uniqueness of the designs and perhaps even the romanticism of the time in which they were originally published.

New additions:

Laura Wheeler / Alice Brooks page updated January 6, 2015 (see two links bottom of page)

Gadabout Patterns updated January 16, 2016

Penny Squares updated May 21, 2016

Aunt Martha updated November 12, 2016

© Wilene Smith, May 21, 2016, all rights reserved; updated November 12, 2016


More Quilt History (listed alphabetically)

The Alliance for American Quilts, http://www.allianceforamericanquilts.org/about/

American Quilt Study Group, http://www.americanquiltstudygroup.org/

Barbara Brackman's Material Culture, http://barbarabrackman.blogspot.com/ also http://www.barbarabrackman.com/

Hart Cottage Quilts, http://hartcottagequilts.com/

Illinois Quilt History:  Quilt History From the Midwest, http://www.illinoisquilthistory.com/index.html

International Quilt Study Center & Museum, http://www.quiltstudy.org/

Quilt History Reports by Karen Alexander, http://karenquilt.blogspot.com/

The Quilt Index, http://www.quiltindex.org/contributors.php

The Quilters Hall of Fame, http://www.quiltershalloffame.net/

Selected Bibliography of State and Regional Quilt History, http://www.booksandoldlace.com/quilting/StateQuiltHistoryBibliography.htm

Womenfolk:  The Art of Quilting -- Quilts and Quiltmaking Yesterday and Today, http://www.womenfolk.com/


A site for posting your Lost Quilt

and for staying informed about quilts others have lost

Lost Quilt Come Home, http://lostquilt.com/


Dating mail-order patterns through postmarks

While writing these pages in 2011, I discovered a great website researched and written by a lady with a wonderful sense of humor.  She successfully waded through the complexities of using postmarks on mailer envelopes as keys to dating the patterns they contained.

Dating Mail Order Patterns, http://zipzapkap.com/dating_mail_order.html

Also see her page about searching for U.S. Patents, http://zipzapkap.com/patents.html

Update November 28, 2013:  Sadly, those two pages are no longer online.

Instead, this site will be helpful:  Tips for Dating Patterns: Zip Codes,


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