limited resources, the NEQM has not until now had that luxury.
An opportunity has just arisen, however, to acquire a piece with an amazing link to other quilts in the Permanent Collection. We are therefore establishing a fund to raise the money to purchase and conserve this just-discovered gem, as well as other extraordinary pieces that may from time to time become available but only for purchase.
The first piece we hope to acquire has an extraordinary link to a group of quilts already in the Permanent Collection.
Between 1999 and 2002, Jack Reese donated nine family quilts to the New England Quilt Museum. The Reese Collection includes quilts made by five quilt-makers, spanning four generations from his family tree. The oldest of these was made by Jack’s great-great-grandmother, Thankful Hall Miller. It is a Single Irish Chain pieced with deep blue indigo and off-white cottons, and was perhaps made at the time of her marriage in the early 1820’s. Thankful’s daughter, Vincey Ann Miller Birdsey, made two of the other quilts Jack donated. Vincey’s daughter Lillian married Lewis E. Frost, and the collection includes quilts made in the 1880s by him and his mother, Adeline Lewis. Several of these quilts have attached paper labels with information about the quilt-makers, written in a distinctive hand.
It was a rare and remarkable gift—nine quilts from the same family, with the family history included. Some of these quilts will be included in the NEQM exhibition slated to open in October 2012: Great Quilts, Great Stories.
While doing online research in preparation for the exhibition, I discovered another quilt by Thankful Hall Miller
offered for sale by an antique dealer. The label sewn to it contains the same provenance as the Reese Collection quilts already owned by the museum. Obviously, we would love to acquire this newly-discovered quilt.
We are asking you to be part of this remarkable story. Please consider a donation to our new Acquisition Fund to ensure that this quilt is brought home to join its sisters in our collection.
You can donate securely online by visiting the Donations page on our website. Or, if you prefer, mail a check today to: NEQM Acquisition Fund, 18 Shattuck Street, Lowell, MA 01852.
As always, THANK YOU for your support of the New England Quilt Museum!
~ Pam Weeks, Curator