Date of this Version
Published in The Social Fabric: Deep Local to Pan Global; Proceedings of the Textile Society of America 16th Biennial Symposium. Presented at Vancouver, BC, Canada; September 19 – 23, 2018. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/tsaconf/
In her 1912 book, Eliza Calvert Hall describes looking out of her window and seeing coverlets thrown over tobacco wagons on way to market. She would run out and try to bargain with the owner for the coverlet. She collected coverlets, their design names, and their patterns. Since Hall supported herself with her writing, she counted on her coverlet book appealing to the wide audience of people interested in the Colonial Revival in home decoration. Although hall published the book, she was just the more visible of those interested in coverlets during the early twentieth century. Throughout Appalachia, there were women, some originally from the area and others working there, who collected coverlet patterns. Many of these women knew each other and supported each other’s efforts to train weavers to reproduce coverlets in a form of early economic development for Appalachia. In Kentucky, Katherine Pettit, the founder of the Hindman Settlement School and the Pine Mountain Settlement School, and Anna Ernberg, Director of the Fireside Industries at Berea College collected patterns and ran weaving businesses. In Tennessee, Sarah Doughterty, who traced her lineage in the mountains to Revolutionary War times, wove many of the coverlet patterns she gathered as part of her family business, the Shuttle-Crafters. In North Carolina, a Presbyterian missionary, Francis Goodrich, was fascinated by a Bowknot Coverlet and embarked on finding weavers, seeking out patterns, and promoting passing down skills to the next generation. Weaving signaled the beginning of the Appalachian Craft Revival as dozens of weaving centers provided income to continue to inspire weavers, coverlet collectors, and textile enthusuasts.