In Philena’s Friendship Quilt: A Quaker Farewell to Ohio, Lynda Salter Chenoweth discovers the story behind a Quaker signature quilt made in Ohio, in 1853. Chenoweth practices what she calls “fabric archaeology” to reveal not only the identity of the quilt recipient and details of her life and community but also a striking feature of the quilt itself—a hidden design element created by the deliberate placement of names on the quilt’s surface. Chenoweth also describes nineteenth–century signature quilts and their appeal to Quaker quiltmakers.
Signature quilts, also known as friendship quilts, were often given as mementos to mark important community events. Chenoweth shares the methodology used to determine that Philena’s quilt was made for Philena Cooper Hambleton, a resident of Butler Township in Columbiana County before she left Ohio to begin a new life in Iowa with her husband and two daughters. Chenoweth devotes the final chapter to the story of Philena’s life and that of her immediate family. It follows her from her birth as Philena Evaline Cooper in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, in 1822, until her death in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1915. The details uncovered from information inscribed on the face of this quilt illustrate the value of quilts as important documents from which history can be recreated and past lives understood.
Philena’s Friendship Quilt is the fourth book in the highly popular Ohio Quilt Series. The series tells the stories behind the social and historical circumstances that have influenced this unique and enduring American craft.
“The meticulous scholarship, fresh style of documentation with accompanying color-coded visual charts, and its wealth of illustrations make Philena’s Friendship Quilt a treasure for any quilt enthusiast.”
Mary Robare, author of Quilts and Quaker Heritage: Selections from an Exhibition, Virginia Quilt Museum
“Lynda Salter Chenoweth’s Philena’s Friendship Quilt: A Quaker Farewell to Ohio is sure to find a large audience among the growing number of quilt and genealogy enthusiasts…. The book covers the history of signature/friendship quilts, provides instructions for making a replica of Philina’s Friendship Quilt, as well as details the history of Philina’s family. On the whole, the book represents the type of work that material culture scholars need to do more of, that is to present their historical and aesthetic research methods and findings in a way that reaches an
audience of hobbyists, collectors, and community scholars.”
“With fifty-eight color and archival photographs, (Philena’s Friendship Quilt) details the network of friendships surrounding the quilt, blending fascinating lessons in fabric history with an engrossing history of life in the nineteenth-century.”
“If you love to find meaning behind your quilting, this is for you.”