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Suggested Reading

The Cat Lady Reading ListEvery day, as I discover yet another textile treasure or meet another impassioned and knowledgeable collector, I realize that there is much I don't know about these precious fabric links to the past. I'm sure we all can relate to that feeling.

It is through diligent research, many trips to museum collections, workshops and seminars, and conversations with curators, dealers and collectors that much valuable information and insight is gained.

I especially enjoy getting together with fellow dealers and collectors who share the same passion as I for those early pieces termed "ladies' work", for it is in those talks that we lay bare our attachment to the "soul" of the cloth, the rag, the fragment of some other woman's life journey that has survived to give us a small, precious glimpse of her story. There is something about that piece of cloth that makes our hearts jump, moves us to tears or just brings a simple smile to our faces... Could it be that, through that cloth worked by tireless fingers, a message centuries old has been conveyed? How could we possibly feel this woman's joy, or sorrow, her absolute exhaustion from a hard day's labor? The message in the cloth remains long after the woman has passed. Can one not look at an early cloth moppet fashioned by a loving mother for a precious child and feel otherwise?

I must acknowledge, as well, my love for those early woven pieces that were done by men: the village weaver, indigo dyer and others, for it is with them that the story of the transformed cloth truly starts.

I feel that a website should be more than just a place of business, but also an instrument of instruction and exchange of ideas: an organic entity that keeps growing and changing in scope. In that vein, my first attempt is to offer a basic reading list to those that wish to learn more about early textiles and costume. I'm sure you may be familiar with many of these. I'll be adding more during other updates, so do check when you can. Remember, these are just a starting point.

Listed by topic:

Pennsylvania-related Textiles & Folk Art

  1. Rags to Rugs: Hooked and Handsewn Rugs of Pennsylvania 
    by Patricia T. Herr
  2. Amish Arts of Lancaster County
    by Patricia T. Herr
  3. Quilting Traditions: Pieces from The Past 
    by Patricia T. Herr
  4. Farming, Always Farming: A Photographic Essay of Rural Pennsylvania German Life and Land
    by H. Winslow Fegley
  5.  Pennsylvania German Farms, Garden and Seeds by Irwin Richman
  6. Hempstone Heritage I: In Accordance with Their Wills; “All The Heckled Hemp She Can Spin”
    by Les Stark
  7. Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans
    by Scott Swank
  8. Coverlets of the Pennsylvania Germans
    by Guy F. Reinert
  9. Rural Pennsylvania Clothing
    by Ellen Gehret
  10. Cloth and Costume 1750 to 1800 : Cumberland County, PA
    by Tandy & Charles Hersh
  11. Country Cloth to Coverlets: Textile Traditions in 19th C Central PA
    by Sandra Rambo Walker
  12. The Homespun Textile Traditions of the Pennsylvania Germans
    by Ellen Gehret & Alan Keyser
  13. Forgotten PA Textiles of the 18 th and 19th Centuries
    by Alan Keyser et al
  14. The Weaver's Craft: Cloth, Commerce and Industry in Early PA
    by Adrienne D. Hood
  15. Mennonite Arts
    by Clarke Hess
  16. Pieced by Mother (Symposium Papers)
    by Jeanette Lasansky et al
  17. On the Cutting Edge: Textile Collectors, Collections & Traditions
    by Jeanette Lasanksy et al
  18. Bits and Pieces: Textile Traditions
    by Jeanette Lasansky et al
  19. Historical Needlework of Pennsylvania
    by Margaret B. Schiffer
  20. 18th C Clothing from the Collection of the
    Chester County Historical Society

    by Sharon Ann Burnston
  21. This Is The Way I Pass My Time
    by Ellen Gehret

Textiles & Needle Arts

  1. Hearts and Hands: Women, Quilts, and American Society  
    by Elaine Hedges, Pat Ferrero & Julie Silber
  2. Findings: The Material Culture of Needlework and Sewing
    by Mary C. Beaudry
  3. Toiles for All Seasons: French & English Printed Textiles
    by Starr Siegele
  4. The Secret Life Of Textiles: Six Pattern Book Archives in North West England
  5. Quilts of Provence
    by Kathryn Berenson
  6.  A Flowering of Quilts 
    by Patricia Cox Crews
  7. Chintz Quilts: Unfading Glory
    by Lacy Folmar Bullard & Betty Jo Shell
  8. The History of Needlework Tools and Accessories
    by Sylvia Groves
  9. Quilts, Coverlets and Counterpanes: Bedcoverings from the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts and Old Salem Collections
    by Paula W. Locklair
  10. Quilts in A Material World: Selections from the Winterthur Collection
    by Linda Eaton
  11. Quiltmaking in America: Beyond the Myths
    by Laurel Horton, ed.
  12. American Quilts and Coverlets
    by Amelia Peck
  13. Bed Hangings: A Treatise on Fabrics and Styles in the Curtaining of Beds 1650 - 1850
    by Abbott Lowell Cummings
  14. Bed Rugs: 18th and Early 19th C Embroidered Bed Covers
    by Jessie Armstead Marshall
  15. A History of Needlework Tools and Accessories
    by Sylvia Groves
  16. Textiles in Early New England: Design, Production and Consumption
    by Peter Benes, ed.
  17. Textiles in New England II: Four Centuries of Material Life
    by Peter Benes, ed.
  18. Just New From The Mills: Printed Cottons in America Late 19th & Early 20th Centuries
    by Diane L. Fagan Affleck
  19. From Shaker Hands and Shaker Lands
    by M. Stephen Miller
  20. A Child's Comfort: Baby and Doll Quilts in American Folk Art
    by Bruce Johnson
  21. America's Printed Fabrics (1770-1890)
    by Barbara Brackman
  22. The Ladies Worktable: Domestic Needlework in 19th C America
    by Margaret Vincent
  23. Keep Me Warm One Night
    by Harold & Dorothy Burnham
  24. Checklist of American Coverlet Weavers
  25. Clues in the Calico
    by Barbara Brackman
  26. Plain and Fancy
    by Susan Burrows Swan
  27. Labors of Love: Women and their Needlework
    by Judith Reiter Weissman et al
  28. Shaker Textile Arts
    by Beverly Gordon
  29. Early American Textiles
    by Frances Little
  30. A Book of Handwoven Coverlets
    by Eliza Calvert Hall
  31. Handwoven Textiles of New England
    by Nancy Dick Bogdonoff
  32. For Purpose and Pleasure: Quilting Together in 19th C America
    by Sandi Fox
  33. Small Endearments: 19th C Quilts for Children and Dolls
    by Sandi Fox
  34. A People and Their Quilts
    by John Rice Irwin
  35. The American Quilt
    by Robert Kirakoffe

Clothing & Costume

  1. 17th & 18th Century Fashion In Detail
    by Avril Hart & Susan North
  2. 19th C Fashion In Detail               
    by Lucy Johnston
  3. The Dress of the People: Everyday Fashion In Eighteenth Century England  by John Styles
  4. The Lady's Economical Assistant by A Lady
    (reprinted by Kannik's Korner)
  5. The Workwoman's Guide by A Lady
    (reprinted by Piper Publishing)
  6. Fashion: A history from the 18th to 20th Century
    The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute
  7. The Cut of Women's Clothes 1600-1930
    by Nora Waugh
  8. Clothes and the Child
    by Anne Buck
  9. What Clothes Reveal
    by Linda Baumgarten

Folk Art

  1. Expressions of Innocence & Eloquence: Selections from The Jane Katcher Collection of Americana
  2. Art UnderFoot: The Story Of Waldboro Hooked Rugs
    by Mildred Cole Peladeau
  3. Folk Art in Maine: Uncommon Treasuress
    by Kevin D. Murphy (ed)
  4. Beyond Necessity: Art In The Folk Tradition
    by Kenneth L. Ames
  5. Rug Hooking in Maine 1838-1940 
    by Mildred Cole Peladeau
  6. American Hooked and Sewn Rugs: Folk Art Underfoot
    by Joel & Kate Kopp
  7. Hooked Rugs: History and Continuing the Tradition
    by Jessie A. Turbayne
  8. Animals in Folk Art
    by Wendy Lavitt
  9. American Cat-alogue
    by Bruce Johnson
  10. Cloth Dolls from Ancient to Modern
    by Linda Edward
  11. American Fancy
    by Sumpter Priddy
  12. Folk Hearts
    by Cynthia V.A. Schaeffer and Susan Klein
  13. Waste Not Want Not: The Art of the Make Do
    by Donald P. Naetzker
  14. No Longer Hidden: An Exhibition of Black Cloth Dolls (1870-1930)
    by Roben Campbell
  15. American Folk Dolls
    by Wendy Lavitt
  16. Small Folk: A Celebration of Childhood in America
    by Sandra Brant & Elissa Cullman
  17. Anonymous Was A Woman
    by Mirra Bank
  18. Artist in Aprons: Folk Art by American Women
    by C. Kurt Dewhurst et al

Ah, The Ladies

  1. Founding Mothers; The Women Who Raised Our Nation    
    by Cokie Roberts
  2. Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime
    France, 1675-1791
    by Clare Haru Crowston
  3. On Women and Friendship
    by Star Ockenga
  4. Remember The Ladies: Women in America 1750-1845
    by Linda Grant De Pauw & Conover Hunt
  5. I Dwell In Possibility: Women Build A Nation 1600-1920
    by Donna m. Lucey
  6. The Needle's Eye: Women and Work in the Age of Revolution
    by Marla R. Miller


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