Now Online: Rock County Historical Society


Detail, Log cabin quilt, Ann Hart Fathers, Janesville, 1858-1900. Born in London, Fathers settled in Janesville in 1858 and was the mother of the city’s first mayor.

46 catalog entries for objects from the Rock County Historical Society in Janesville are now available online. There’s quite a variety of items original to Rock County and the surrounding areas, including 22 examples of Edgerton art pottery, 8 pieces of locally-manufactured furniture, and 10 quilts.

This summer I am lucky to have an intern from the Material Culture Program at UW-Madison (supported by funding from the Caxambas Foundation of Janesville). Maggie Ordon, a graduate student in the Design Studies program at Madison, has provided excellent assistance with research and data entry. She used Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns to identify the patterns for the Rock County quilts as well as all the other quilts in the database.

The quilt pattern I’ve seen most often–and one of my favorites–is the Log Cabin pattern and all of its variations. Although they were most popular during the mid-nineteenth century, the optical effects of log cabin quilts look very modern. A fascinating article from the International Quilt Study Center, “Design Dynamics of Log Cabin Quilts,” examines how quilters played with different visual effects through varied arrangements of light and dark fabrics. It’s available online here in pdf form.

Posted by Emily Pfotenhauer.

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