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.

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New additions:

Double Wedding Ring history updated December 1, 2020

The evolution of the Nancy Cabot / Chicago Tribune quilt patterns, 1933-197-

Carol Aimes byline added September 5, 2021

Peerless Fashion Service added September 5, 2021

Mayfair byline added September 5, 2021

© Wilene Smith, May 21, 2016, all rights reserved; updated September 5, 2021


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The Ladies' Art Company, St. Louis, Missouri

I launched a new website in December 2019 that concentrates on the Ladies' Art Company in St. Louis, Missouri, the many earlier published sources for the quilt patterns in their extensive inventory, and the Michigan woman who may have unwittingly inspired the company's quilt pattern business in 1889.  Images of my collection of 274 colored pattern cards are also included.  This new site is available through an annual subscription.

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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, Leigh Fellner's wonderful website has been deleted. A sad loss for us all.

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: Layer by Layer, http://www.coveringquilthistory.com/

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/

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A site for posting your Lost Quilt

and for staying informed about quilts others have lost

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


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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,


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

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

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


This site is dedicated to the memory of Cuesta Benberry, St. Louis, Missouri, with whom I spent many delightful hours in phone conversations over the years discussing (what else?) published quilt patterns and their history.

© Copyright, Wilene Smith (ChloeQCumber@aol.com), 2011

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