Quilts from the western part of
the state dated before 1920 were brought to South Dakota by their owners.
Conversely, the pre-1920 quilts from East River were made in South
Dakota. Quilt construction peaked in the 1930's, corresponding with prolific
quilt making nationwide. When more homemakers started working in the factories
in the 1940's, quilt production dropped 20 percent.
To make the South Dakota Quilt Documentation Project manageable, only quilts made
before 1970 were examined and
Volunteers accepted quilts at 37
sites with cooperating museums becoming the primary sites. The men and women
who brought in the 1,145 quilts were quietly proud of the work and memories of
their families. As they filled out forms detailing the quilt’s construction and
history as well as the quiltmaker’s life, the volunteers and quilt owners laughed, chatted and admired the quilts before them.
As you peruse the pages of “South
Dakota Quilts and Quilltmakers,” you will get that same sense of camaraderie
and connection to past generations.
You will find
this book to be both an historical view of South Dakota through the eyes of its
quilts and quiltmakers and a legacy of art and design left by the women who
helped settle the prairie.