By Debbie and Randy Coe

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Book Review of
Civil War Quilts

By Pam Weeks and Don Beld

The historical significance of women and the quilts they made during the Civil War is explored in this new book. The introduction describes the background of the impact on the many families. With the start of the war aid societies were formed to gather money and supplies to help out with the war effort.

The first part of the book lists antique quilts from the Civil War. There are 16 quilts listed as being made for the war. Two of them were made by individuals and the other 14 were made by groups. Most of the quilts were made with repeating blocks. There are four that are a variety style and one that is a medallion pattern taken from a 1861 magazine. Most of these quilts bear the date when they were completed. Inscribed quilts have the name of the maker on them. Potholder quilts are made by many individuals completely finishing a block at a time. In this fashion a group could come together and quickly assemble the blocks to form the quilt. A soldiers need for warmth on the cold nights was comforted by a quilt. Some of the quilts were made to sell to raise money for the war. Many quilts on the battlefield did not survive due to being damaged, torn or simply worn out. Others became covered in blood from soldier’s wounds and were burned. The that survived made their way home and then were  harshly scrubbed to try to remove all the dirt and stains. At this point many were very ragged but the particular soldier wanting to honor its importance usually insisted that it be preserved. They were normally packed away and forgotten about for many years. The background of these quilts is listed with the family history, style, pattern and type of material. There are full color examples of all of these.

The second part of the book involves giving directions on how to reproduce these quilts today. Information is given on how to pick out the colors and designs of the fabric. Patterns and step by step directions are provided to show you how to make the quilt. Several different types of bindings and finishes are given to assist you in having a great looking quilt. Many colorful patterns are pictured.

The appendix provides a detailed listing of all the quilts pictured in the book. Information included consists of: quilt name; town; state; date; whether it has a USSC stamp; type of construction and where it is located today.

 Someone interested in vintage quilts or fabrics along with today’s quilter will be delighted with this new 8 ½” x 11” book. It is hardback and has a dust jacket. The 192 pages contain over 160 color and 50 plus black and white photos. The book retails for $39.99 and provides an immense amount of information for the quilter and /or researcher. It is a great source of our American history.

Civil War Quilts




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