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East Tennessee History Center hosts quilt show and luncheon

marikay waldvogel

The East Tennessee Historical Society will present a luncheon and program with nationally recognized quilt historian Merikay Waldvogel as she shows and tells the stories of fifteen unique folk-art quilts from the collections of the East Tennessee Historical Society. The event will be held at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, February 16 at the East Tennessee History Center.

These one-of-a-kind quilts from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries can best be described as "folk art," meaning that the quilt makers have deviated from the traditional ways of making a quilt. The turning will feature a variety of quilt designs, including floral appliqué, pictorials, and written messages. Attendees will enjoy a rare opportunity to view and compare these important quilts in side-by-side display.

One of the most intriguing quilts to be on shown is the "Knoxville Crazy Quilt," made by Lilly Harvey in the early 1900s, embroidered with scenes of Market Square and of businesses and everyday activities in Knoxville in the early 1900s.  Ms. Waldvogel will share from her research into the quilt maker's life in Knoxville as it is reflected in her work. 

Lillie Harvey was not alone in sewing her life into a quilt.  Several other interesting examples from the collection will include Georgia Bailey's quilt of Market Square in the 1990s, Mary Dowell's appliquéd scenes of Bearden, and Helen Fleenor's album quilts of rural life in Hamblen County. 

The luncheon is an opportunity for ETHS to share with the public a portion of its rarely seen collection of 114 quilts, while also raising funds to assist with textile preservation.  The cost of the luncheon is $25 for the program and a boxed lunch.  Reservations are required, as space is limited.  For reservations please call Lisa Belleman at 865-215-8883 or email

The East Tennessee Historical Society is located in the East Tennessee History Center at 601 South Gay Street in downtown Knoxville, across from the Tennessee Theatre. For more information about this event, please contact ETHS by calling 865-215-8824 or email

Published February 5, 2012

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