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The Godey Quilt: one woman's dream becomes a reality.


"Masterpiece" is a sometimes undeserved accolade, but in the case of the Godey Quilt, the description fits (fig.1). Begun in 1933 and completed the following year, it was the work of a purportedly novice quilter, Mildred Potter Lissauer of Louisville, Kentucky. For nearly all Depression era quiltmakers, the act of creation was important, allowing them to display their "skill and ingenuity in the design and the quilting." (1) Yet, in many ways the Godey Quilt is uncharacteristic of the majority of quilts that date from the early 1930s. Unlike so many of her fellow quilters, Lissauer was a well-to-do Southerner who made her quilt solely for artistic and personal reasons. Not only that, the Godey Quilt was based on a largely original design during a time when patterns and kit quilts were widely available, promoted, and accepted. As a result, it had little in common with the majority of quilts from the period.

Highly publicized precedents for pictorial quilts composed chiefly of figural elements existed in the 1920s and 1930s. Charles Pratt received acclaim for a series of pictorial quilts that included Penn's Treaty (1926) and Ruth and Naomi (1930); his work in turn influenced Emma Andres, whose Lady at the Spinning Wheel (1933) used 3,630 pieces of silk to depict one of the more recognizable images of the Colonial Revival era. (2) Several of the finalists in the 1933 Century of Progress Contest depicted American historical figures and events, including contestant Emma Mae Leonard who used eight figural blocks to illustrate a century of women's fashion in her entry, 1833-1933. (3) Regrettably, the judges valued traditional patterns over originality, and only two of the commemoratives reached the finals. (4)


Researchers have studied quilts from this era at length, but the Godey Quilt provides a rare opportunity to analyze an exceptional quilt using the materials associated with its conception, design, and construction. (5) Rather than rely on period garments and images for inspiration, Lissauer adapted the romanticized images depicted on an extensive collection of printed materials, including newspaper and magazine advertisements and greeting and playing cards, for use as source material in drafting the appliques on her quilt. Furthermore, fabric remnants left over from constructing the appliques and foundation offer a rare opportunity for fiber analysis, and manuscript materials housed in Library Special Collections, Western Kentucky University (WKU) open a window into the quiltmaker's interactions with others during its creation and provide insight into her background and personality. Accounts from newspapers and magazines and historic photographs present additional sources of information about what happened to the quilt between its completion in 1934 and its donation to the Kentucky Museum at WKU in 1990.

Mildred Potter Lissauer

Lissauer was the second of four children born to William J. (1860-1952) and Martha Woods Potter (1868-1963) of Bowling Green, Kentucky. From an early age she demonstrated an interest in sewing and clothing, noting in later years that "even as a small girl my dolls had huge and elaborate wardrobes." (6) Mildred may have learned her sewing skills from her mother, a quilter who was appointed Warren County Home Decoration Agent in 1917, or her aunt, Mildred Woods Bagby (1868-1947), a prizewinning quilter in her own right. A second aunt, Elizabeth "Bethie" Woods (1865-1967), also quilted. While she was away at college, Lissauer garnered attention for her fashion sense and sewing skills. Potter described her daughter's appearance in a letter to her son:
   [Mildred] still paints her face, and wears the gaudiest colors. She
   wore a skirt of one color, and a waist of another, and shoes of
   another, and a hat of a thousand colors! ... She says the
   teachers and every body [sic] at Cambridge told her she could make
   a fortune at dressmaking and designing. They paid her to copy some
   dresses she had made herself for them.... She is a case. (7)

During the 1920s, Lissauer's social life included parties, golf matches, and dances. By 1923, her appearance appeared to comport more with her mother's sense of style. "Mildred came home on July 13th ... she looks fine, a little thinner, and does not use any paint any more [sic], which improves her very much. She made some nice dresses and looks fine and stylish, as usual." (8)


Mildred's 1926 marriage to William R. Grace (b. 1881) ended in divorce three years later, but her 1931 nuptials with Louisville, Kentucky, businessman Arthur "Artie" Lissauer (1888-1973) proved a success (fig. 2). Known to their social set as the "Duke and Duchess," the couple entertained frequently at their Louisville home, "Green Pastures," as well as at their second home, "Much Ado About Nothing," in Winter Park, Florida. In her later years, Lissauer's wardrobe included a fringed suede leather swimsuit embellished with rhinestones and feather boas that she color coordinated with the rooms in her Louisville residence. (9)

Lissauer received attention for her unique decorating style--cuspidors, halved and used as flower urns; a barn window repurposed as a picture frame; and cheese graters transformed into a chandelier. (10) Her pride and joy perhaps was the prize-winning Godey Quilt. Finished in 1934, Lissauer gave it a place of honor in her Louisville home--a pantry converted into a bedroom furnished with early American reproduction furniture and two recommended, if historically inaccurate, hooked rugs (fig. 3).

Looking back, the quiltmaker was an upper-middle-class Southerner who came of age as America entered the Roaring Twenties. In terms of dress, deportment, and economic and social values, this decade was the most modern of times; yet many Americans looked back to our nation's perceived colonial past. As part of this trend, newspapers and magazines promoted traditional handicrafts, and in response, many women took up quiltmaking. (11) What attraction did the craft hold for an ostensibly modern woman like Lissauer? The editors of Needlecraft offered one explanation:

   Today's daughter may know her golf and her gears, her politics and
   her bridge, but she still proudly sews her fine seam. Her quilts
   are no longer just "comforters," household economies, they are made
   for their decorative value, and for the sheer joy of building
   beauty with a woman's tools. (12)

To understand why Lissauer made the Godey Quilt, it is necessary to understand the time in which she lived--the Colonial Revival era.

Colonial Revival Era

Exactly when did the Colonial Revival era happen? Early in the nineteenth century, the Picturesque movement praised the "simplicity and solidity" and "smallness and lowness" of many eighteenth-century structures. (13) Later on, widespread social, economic, and industrial changes in the United States during and after the Civil War caused many Americans to regard pre-1850s America as a "romanticized pre-industrial world of diligent, skilled, and contented workers--a world very different from that of the Colonial Revivalists themselves, with its troublesome issues of urban growth and shifting social patterns." (14) Some historians trace its beginnings to the Sanitary Fairs held to raise funds during the Civil War; many others believe that the Colonial Revival was an outgrowth of patriotic sentiments raised during the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876; and still others note the impact of the faux colonial architecture erected for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. (15) Yearning for a time when society was more homogeneous, gender roles seemingly well-defined, and the economic climate more secure, many Americans sought comfort in the past by joining newly formed lineage-based organizations like the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (established 1889), the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (established 1890) and the National Society of the Colonial Dames (established 1891).

Many Americans held centennial teas, balls, and historical pageants, erected homes whose architecture reflected colonial themes, and/or furnished their interior spaces in the colonial style. Most did so, however, with little concern for historical accuracy. "For decorating and dressing, whether for an event or one's colonial-style home, replicating the past was not necessary. Capturing the charm, visual appeal and spirit of the past was more important." (16)

Books and magazines suggested Americans take up traditional handicrafts. In 1920 the editors of Modern Priscilla promoted a plan developed by The Society for the Revival of Household Industries and Domestic Arts to train returning World War I veterans in the arts of "flax-growing, handspinning and weaving of flax and wool, also quilting, candle-making, tatting, and other crafts" and encouraged their readers to contact the magazine about donating unused spinning wheels, looms, and other textile equipment. (17)

Seven years later, interest in the Colonial Revival and associated handicrafts remained high.
   That 'everything colonial goes, nowadays' is not disputed ... a
   most delightful atmosphere, redolent of the "good old colony days,"
   may be easily bestowed on the modern guest-chamber by the
   deft-fingered homemaker who looks well to the ways of her
   needle. (18)

The covers of ladies' magazines frequently depicted women spinning, weaving, or embroidering in romanticized pre-Victorian settings. In promoting traditional crafts, these periodicals published, gave away, and/or sold needlework patterns, often depicting colonial themes, to current and potential subscribers. An offer in the July 1935 edition of Needlecraft was typical. Individuals who signed up for a two-year subscription received a hot iron transfer set that included sheets of initials and patterns for a five-piece bedroom set and for a twelve-piece living room set. (19)

Fresh approaches emerged in twentieth-century needlework. Designers incorporated new styles, like Art Nouveau and Art Deco, into many of their designs, and novel fabrics and untraditional colors became the norm.
   ... why should we always slavishly copy our grandmother's quilting
   patterns? Surely our twentieth century designer has as good a
   knowledge of color, a better understanding of our modern aversion
   to "plain sewing," and a whimsical and charming imagination which
   she dares to use even when working with so humble a medium as
   cotton cloth. (20)

Improvements in manufactured kits, including the color-coded stamping of patterns sold by the Rainbow Quilt Block Company, made it easier for inexperienced stitchers to give needlework a try. (21) Significantly, ladies' magazines did not critique kits as "paint-by-number" exercises as sometimes happened later in the twentieth century. (22) Rather, they conveyed a message of enthusiastic endorsement for kits in all categories of needlework. As a result, these crafts were subtly modernized, and it became easier for women of all educational and social levels to practice needle arts.

Quiltmaking was an ongoing topic within the broader discussion of women's needlework during the first three decades of the twentieth century. In 1915 Marie Webster wrote, "City women, surrounded by many enticing distractions, are turning more and more to patchwork as a fascinating yet nerve-soothing occupation." (23) This interest continued into the 1930s. "Day by day the beauty of Colonial America is making its way into the modern home, and nothing is more eagerly pursued today than the antique quilts--the bright colored bed coverings that were the pride of our Grandmothers. The modern woman is enjoying the thrill of creating these same beautiful patterns with her own hands." (24)

The boudoir look which began around 1910 also affected quilting trends. Associated with French designer Paul Poiret, boudoir fashion and furnishings consisted of clothing, quilts, and cushions made from luxurious fabrics that were often enhanced by the addition of monograms, crests, and elaborate, often trapunto, quilting designs. (25) In the 1920s and 1930s, they were typically made in cottage industries in the Upper South and Midwest. (26) The Wilkinson Quilt Company of Ligonier, Indiana, was perhaps the earliest concern to capitalize on this trend with marketing that used phrases like "wonder-quilt," "exclusive design," and "Milady never tires of her Wilkinson Art Quilts." (27) In addition to whole-cloth quilts, these firms included applique quilts in their product lines.

Women could sew their own boudoir furnishings and attire, also. In September 1929 Needlecraft informed its readers that a set of six cushions would "make charming boudoir-pillows." (28) Fifteen months later, it promoted a "Trio of Sachets, Tuck-in-Pillow, and Dainty Lounging Coat," all of which were made using Italian quilting or "trapunto." (29) In 1931, kits for a "Heart-shape boudoir pillow" and a "Square boudoir pillow" underscored the continuing interest in the look. (30)

Lissauer was undoubtedly aware of these and other contemporary trends. She saved clippings from Vogue and Needlecraft, and family photos document a wardrobe that was not that of a woman scraping by during the Depression. Her social circle and proximity to the nearby Eleanor Beard Studio in Hardinsburg, Kentucky, make it probable that she was aware of the chic textiles it sold, as well as similar items marketed by competing concerns. Additionally, her mother's position as a county home extension agent implies some knowledge of current decorating trends. While there is no evidence that Lissauer was a quiltmaker prior to undertaking the Godey Quilt, her mother and aunts were experienced quilters, which likely piqued Lissauer's interest.

Inspiration and Influences

Why make the Godey Quilt? While earlier manuscript materials document an interest in sewing, taking on this particular challenge required Lissauer to compete in a sphere where her mother and aunts had considerably more experience. Family lore recalls that the Godey Quilt was the result of Lissauer's reaction to seeing a quilt made by a relative (fig. 4). Her first response was to remark, "I can do better than that." (31) Her second was to make the Godey Quilt. The likely inspiration was Flower Baskets, a quilt composed of ten baskets of two-toned pink and green flowers framed by an undulating swag-and-bud border, all appliqued onto a pale oyster sateen foundation. Quilted in designs that include baskets of flowers and feather rosettes, it has the scalloped edge typical of applique quilts of this period. Who made it is unclear. One source identified Lissauer's aunt, Elizabeth "Bethie" Woods, while others attributed it to her mother or her Aunt Mildred Woods Bagby. Given the preponderance of manuscript evidence regarding her quiltmaking prowess, Bagby likely was the maker.

Stylistically, Flower Baskets dates from the late 1920s-early 1930s, but it is uncertain whether the design was original, based on a published pattern, or borrowed elements from two or more patterns. Similarities exist between this textile and other documented quilts of the period. Its swag-and-bud border treatment resembles that given to a Rose of Sharon quilt advertised in catalogs published by the Wilkinson Quilt Company around 1916 and 1921 and one used for a Forget-Me-Not applique quilt marketed by Eleanor Beard. (32)


Several finalists in the 1933 Century of Progress Contest featured quilts made with undulating swag borders and similar color profiles. A comparison of Bagby's quilt with Louisiana Rose by Celia Pardue Hyde of Crowley, Louisiana, is instructive. (33) The color of the applique work and foundation of both quilts matches this period's preference for "plain colors, especially the 'boudoir shades--flesh, peach, apricot, pink, blue and orchid.'" (34) Both also include quilted motifs that mirror the outlines of each textile's respective appliques, but Pardue handled the border in her quilt quite differently.

Mr. Godey's Ladies and Spinning Wheels

The Godey Quilt was named for the resemblance its appliques bore to the fashion illustrations in the popular nineteenth-century ladies' magazine, Godey's Lady's Book (fig. 5). Published from 1830 to 1898, this magazine printed advice on home management, dressing fashionably, and rearing children; it also regularly included handwork projects. Fashion plate engravings, a feature of most contemporaneous women's magazines, became synonymous with Louis Godey's publication, and the phrase "Mr. Godey's ladies" entered the American vocabulary. Mildred's knowledge of these figures likely resulted from their widespread reproduction on a variety of printed media in the late 1920s and early 1930s; a June 1933 entry in her mother's journal states, "Mildred started her "Godey's Ladies." (35)


Given that Lissauer almost certainly sought to make a quilt that was both familiar and unique, her decision to draw on Colonial Revival imagery in general and Godey-type figures in particular for its design is unsurprising. "Beginning in the early years of the century but especially in the interwar period--a time characterized by a general atmosphere of self-conscious modernism--popular needlework, perhaps more than any other type of graphic medium, was filled with images of a romanticized domestic past, including spinning wheels, cozy cottages, cheerful flower baskets, and happy women in hoopskirts." (36) During these interwar years, the figures depicted in household needlework were typically clothed in fashions that "functioned as symbolic two-dimensional versions of dress-up costumes." (37) Presented in romanticized settings or engaged in domestic or small group activities, the figures on the Godey Quilt mirrored the approach in colonial costuming that "portrayed a consistently gendered vision" that was "always disproportionately female-identified." (38)

Where did Lissauer find these images? Printed sources abounded. For starters, many pattern concerns used graphics of individuals clothed in "Early American" garb in their publications, and fictional characters, like Grandma Dexter and Grandmother Clark, became the corporate identity of thread, yarn, and pattern companies. (39) Locally, Louisville Bedding Company advertised its ready-made quilts using a catalog whose cover art was more Victorian than colonial in period. (40)

Godey prints were a popular home decorating motif, and Lissauer saved a promotion from Woman's World Magazine that informed subscribers they could purchase five such prints for fifty-five cents. The magazine deemed these pictures suitable for framing or for creating all manner of decorative objects including waste baskets, lampshades, and candy and cigar boxes. (41) In 1931, Needlecraft printed a feature promoting their use as lampshade embellishments. (42)

While no direct proof exists, a Needlecraft article, "Delightfully Quaint Bridge-Table Ensembles," likely influenced the design of the Godey Quilt. Published in October 1930, the similarities between one of its playing covers [table cloths] and refreshment cloths [napkins] and the Godey Quilt are noteworthy. First, the color of the foundation fabric recommended for the table cover, "Sateen in that shade of yellow-pink we know as peach" echoed the peach-colored "Buty Chine" that Lissauer chose for the foundation of her quilt. (43) Second, the instructions' call for solid-colored fabrics highlighted by embroidered accents mirrors some of the choices Lissauer made. "The body of the bonnet is orchid, laid in solid rows of outline-stitch. There is a facing of delicate yellow, done in the same manner, close to the face, and trim and ties of similar color.... With a nosegay of French knots and daisy leaves the little figure is complete." (44) Third, the playing cover and two of Lissauer's appliques included trellis-like effects, and fourth and finally, the editors of Needlecraft and Lissauer both displayed an awareness of the same deck of Godey playing cards. The former described the playing cover as "decorated to harmonize with the Godey ladies, Abigail and Melissa," and the latter saved nine playing cards whose backs were printed in one of three Lady Godey designs, including the two cards named in the article (fig. 6). (45)



One year later, this same magazine published a feature on four "Silhouetted Ladies," that Lissauer may also have seen. (46) Consisting of a handkerchief bag, cushion cover, hand towel, and tea cloth, it called for applying gingham cutouts onto the foundation and then adding embroidery highlights; this was simpler to make than the previous year's bridge table ensemble. The kits, which included hot-iron transfer pattern, perforated stamping pattern, stamped foundation fabric, applique material, piping or binding, and embroidery floss, cost from eighty cents for the cushion cover to $2.63 for the tea cloth.

Lissauer was familiar with the much-loved "Colonial Lady" motif. In its simplest form, it consisted of a woman depicted in profile dressed in a bonnet and oversize skirt and holding a parasol. Colonial Lady Block 335 from the Rainbow Quilt Block Company was perhaps the most recognizable version, although many pattern companies published their own interpretations. (47) What were its origins? While some researchers suggest eighteenth--and nineteenth-century silhouettes as possible sources of inspirations, others have noted the appearance of the Sunbonnet Babies motif in 1900 and Marie Webster's Keepsake Quilt in 1912. (48)

A penciled notation indicates that Lissauer spent three hours a day for six months working on the applique designs. In developing her concept, she sketched approximately sixty figures onto paper, enlarging twenty-two of them to scale and transferring fourteen to cardboard (fig. 7). Dates on ten of the latter indicate Lissauer finished the sketches between May and September 1933. There is no correlation, however, between these dates and the placement of each applique on her quilt.

She turned to her Aunt Mildred for advice. Bagby responded, "12 x 15 ... is a better proportion than 12 x 14. However if you have cut them 12 x 14 you could make them 11 x 14. The border should be the width of the blocks." (49) She also suggested appropriate fabrics for the appliques. "Am enclosing flesh colors that I used for face and arms & hands. No I didn't use Buty Chyne [sic] for patches as it does ravel." (50)


The "Lace-Ruffled Pantalet Days Quilt," a subscription promotion Lissauer clipped out of a 1933 issue of The Household Magazine, likely influenced the design of several appliques. (51) First, one of her sketches reflects the basic silhouette and simple, large-scale print used in the magazine illustrations. Second, at least four of her figures were made from similar fabrics--solids and simple prints with the latter chiefly plaids and floral motifs. Third and finally, both projects made effective use of lace.

Lissauer was aware of a series of five articles on the history of fashion that appeared in Vogue between May 1929 and September 1934. She borrowed elements from drawings in the feature "1840s Costume" as source material for at least three of her figural appliques. (52) Lissauer rendered the "lady" in winter garb most faithfully, stitching her twice before ultimately framing one version and using the other effort on her quilt (fig. 8). The application of bouillon knots on both fabric portraits suggests ermine, but from the gold buttons fastening her wrap to its green and white striped lining, the figure placed on the quilt (Row 4, #1) is noticeably more elegant.

She often combined elements from multiple sources. The spinning/ knitting figure (Row 1, #1) drew upon a graphic used with the "Piece Bag" column in Needlecraft from 1931 through 1936 and from an illustration on a bridge score pad (fig. 9). (53) In her pencil sketch, Lissauer kept the orientation of its elements the same as depicted in both image sources, but she reversed their direction in the finished applique. As with ten of the other portraits, a stylized braided rug, a traditional craft item associated with the Colonial Revival, helps anchor the figure to the quilt.

Details from an illustration in the "1840s Costume" article and an unsourced ad for roofing tiles were incorporated into another applique. (54) Lissauer kept the general stance of the figures in the fashion piece but added the pantaloons worn by the young girl in the ad and substituted its hoop for the tennis racket carried in the costume feature. Her atypical fabric choices--strong blues and reds in solids and large bold prints--may explain why she framed the completed figure rather than use it on her quilt. This "lady" was not donated to the Kentucky Museum but remains in the Lissauer family.



For an applique of a strolling couple (Row 2, #2), she borrowed the image of a festively dressed pair, complete with billowing muffler and lace pantaloons, from a holiday shopping advertisement for Stewarts, a Louisville area department store (fig. 10). (55) An ad for formal wear was the model for the man's cape, and a stencil-like greeting card inspired the woman's bonnet and profile orientation of both figures. (56)


An applique in the third row (Row 3, #2) is another example of how Lissauer employed multiple design sources--in this case, the bouquets in an ad for bridal gowns, an illustration of southern belles clipped out of Vogue, and a mailer advertising a sale in Louisville. (57) The figure stands before an embroidered wrought iron fence accented with climbing vines and flowers with the visual impact of her costume heightened through the skillful application of lace, ribbons, and embroidery (fig. 11).

A magazine illustration of a woman and begging dog inspired one of the more charming appliques (Row 2, #3). Lissauer eliminated the flowers, reversed the orientation of the figures, and chose an orange plaid fabric consistent with the color palette used elsewhere on her quilt. Decorative touches include lace mitts made from straight and couching stitches, white satin ribbons, and red-orange buttons. A note penciled on the back of its accompanying cardboard sketch indicates the plaid fabric cost twenty-two cents per yard at Sears, Roebuck.


Lissauer masterfully adapted the strolling couple from a baby congratulations card into an applique (fig. 12). (58) First, she eliminated the baby carriage used in the original artwork, then clothed the female figure in fabric suggestive of the garment worn in the illustration and dressed the man in more subdued attire. Next, Lissauer embroidered a wrought iron fence and climbing vines on a piece of the same sateen used for the foundation of the Godey Quilt and added a three-sided border of upholstery fabric. Finally, she stitched the applique to the sateen and covered a doorstop with the resulting textile. Lissauer used it as a "kneeler" before the "Shrine" or "Altar to Beauty" in her home. (59)

In addition to the doorstop applique, Lissauer made at least five others that were not used on the Godey Quilt. She framed three of them and converted the remaining two into pillow covers. Two of the five were slightly different and less successful versions of appliques that were incorporated into the quilt, but the others were unique designs. Lissauer perhaps felt the latter three were unsatisfactory artistically or technically, or did not complement her overall vision.

A Touch of Embroidery

Lissauer hired a professional seamstress, Ollie Rigsby (1888-1986) of Bowling Green, Kentucky, to embellish her "ladies" with embroidery. Although Lissauer was in charge, their correspondence reveals a surprising degree of give and take in which Rigsby, a self-employed contractor who was in the subordinate position, felt comfortable in helping set the terms of her employment and in guiding her client to make good decisions regarding the form the embroidery enhancements would take.
   It took me three days to make the lady. I think I could count on
   making one in two days and it would be steady work, making one come
   to $6.00. This one I have already made is $5.00 and 15$ for
   mailing.... I could not afford to give up my "monogram" work for
   less, as it keeps me busy. (60)

Lissauer had a strong sense of what her quilt should look like and was not hesitant in letting Rigsby know this. Perhaps the most useful document in their correspondence is a two-page letter outlining her directions for eight appliques.
   Please don't mind if I am very explicit, but I have my vision of
   this quilt in my mind so clearly that I couldn't stand it if it
   didn't turn out just that way.... I have tried to make it as clear
   as possible, but if there is anything I have left out, please call
   on me to straighten you out before you go ahead, as I am very
   anxious that they look like the vision I have been carrying around
   in my mind for months. (61)


Lissauer also expressed confidence in Rigsby's abilities, writing that she was "sending along a few blocks that need those artistic touches that only you can give.... I hope you realize that it is a great big compliment to you when I trust you to work on these quilt blocks over which I have labored so earnestly. I would not trust them to anybody else in the world. (62)


She was quite specific about her vision for the figure of a girl playing a piano (Row 1, #2) which was based on a bridge tally cover (fig. 13). "I have cut out the body of the piano from black broadcloth which I want you to pad with cotton and place in the right spot to fit on the legs.... Make it the exact size of the drawing too. I also want pink roses around her neck as illustrated in the drawing." (63) Rigsby's response, complete with stitch diagrams, was, "got your things and think I under stand [sic] then if I don't will let you know. I guess you mean flowers around the neck of dress like embroidery flowers other words [sic] Satin stitch [diagram] is it, instead of wrap stitch [diagram] like this." (64)

Lissauer sometimes sent illustrations with her instructions. For the spinning wheel applique (Row 1, #1) she wrote, "I am enclosing the magazine picture ... I copied so that you may see the details--how they are carried out." (65) Her notes concerning the ladies with flower boxes (Row 5, #1-#2) included an image and the following directions:
   I want you to fill in the flower boxes so that they don't look so
   bare. I am pinning a picture of a lady with a flower box behind her
   to show what I mean.... On the ground under the boxes, I want a
   few sprigs of flowers and grass just as many as I have indicated
   under the lady from Vogue. As you will see, one of these ladies
   already had part of the sprinkling under foot. (66) (Fig. 14.)

Their exchanges when the two women disagreed were informative. Regarding the spinning wheel, Lissauer wrote,
   On block #1 I want you to embroider the spinning wheel in black
   yarn--just exactly like the picture on cardboard. On the wheel part
   use two fine lines outside of the solid ring and two fine lines of
   black yarn inside of it. Work all parts--legs cross pieces and
   all--(except the wool in a bunch) in black. Make all this very well
   padded so that it will stand out and look rich. (67)

Rigsby responded by advising Lissauer to rethink her approach. "You said make spinning wheel in black yarn but, my dear child, it would be impossible to embroider these fine lines that close together in yarn. However I don't want to spoil your 'Vision.' Let me know." (68)

Lissauer wanted to add a signature to the Godey Quilt, but the two women differed over how it should look.
   Your letter came too late, however after you get your 'ladies' if
   you think it will not be too late, send me another piece & I will
   do the name over. I like the one I made better tho' because this
   last one would not look as hand-made. The line all around the name
   would look like it had been cut out & put on. (69)

Ultimately, Rigsby won this battle and did not frame the signature with a decorative linear border. The final version included the text, "Mildred Potter Lissauer/Her Quilt/1934," and one of three spools of thread depicted in Lissauer's drawing. (70)

The two women discussed the merits of the ruffle Lissauer planned for her quilt, with Rigsby maintaining that the "[border] ruffle would detract from the art of the ladies. It will be more 'artful' just quilted beautiful with-out [sic] the ruffle." (71) Lissauer initially acceded to Rigsby but saved an underskirt made of matching Buty Chine in a box of fabric remnants. She eventually won the argument as an article published in a local magazine fourteen years later indicated that the quilt was displayed on a bed with a ruffled underskirt made from a petticoat. (72)

Towards the end of the project, several letters imply Lissauer's growing impatience. Registered mail receipts indicate that she sent appliques to Rigsby on December 29, 1933; January 6, 1934; and February 1, 1934. The exact date of the latter's response is unknown, but several letters imply it was after the first of the year. "I am so sorry I haven't written you before but I haven't had time. I have been going with my tongue out ever since before Xmas. Don't worry over your "Ladyses" [sic] for I have them & I think I can mail them to you about the first of the week." (73) Another letter documents the payment received by skilled needleworkers: Rigsby charged $5 for embroidering highlights on the spinning wheel; $2 for the piano; $1 for the two fences; $2 for the flower boxes; $2 for stitching the name; and 50 cents for the thread. (74)

Stitching It Together

Lissauer affixed the completed appliques to six fourteen-inch-wide panels made of peach-colored Buty Chine and added an eighteen-inch-wide border of matching fabric on three sides. She likely chose this material on the recommendation of her Aunt Mildred but, possibly, she was also familiar with Ruby Short McKim's endorsement of Buty Chine as a "a permanent luster satine [sic] of finest quality" ... "the finest materials certainly do make the loveliest quilts." (75)

When Bagby learned that her niece was having troubles getting the appliques to lie flat, she wrote, "I am distressed to hear about the bad luck you are having with your quilt.... Was it the figures or the Butychynne [sic]. Be sure to bring it down and let me see it as I hear it is a gem.... We will discuss what can be done when you come." (76) She also recommended that her niece keep her "iron hooked up for you must press, press, press!!" (77)

Lissauer's final act was hiring someone to quilt her masterwork. This was an era when "the labor in quiltmaking was commonly divided, with one woman piecing or appliqueing the top and another woman or group of women quilting it." (78) Carrie A. Hall recommended women "turn it over to an experienced quilter, for a beautiful quilt may be made or marred by the quilting." (79) Anne Orr would arrange for a quilter who would "adapt the quilting pattern to the design of each quilt.... Our prices [$10 to $18] depend on the closeness of the quilting lines and elaborateness of design for the work is perfectly done on all quilts." (80)

In the 1930s, the authorship of quilts made with outside help was a non-issue. Women could purchase finished blocks and/or completed quilts in various price ranges from pattern sources such as Anne Orr, Carlie Sexton, and Marie Webster's Practical Patchwork Company. The Mary A. McElwain Quilt Shop of Walworth, Wisconsin, hired local women as well as Kentucky quilters to "cut, baste, or sew sample blocks of applique or piece work, quilt, and bind quilts." (81) Wealthy women ordered readymade colonial boudoir quilts and spreads and modernized applique quilts from the Wilkinson Quilt Company, the Eleanor Beard Studio, and other cottage industries in the Upper South and Midwest. (82) With such ready precedents, Lissauer would have had few reservations concerning the ethics of engaging someone to complete her vision.

Lissauer considered several options before selecting a quilter. She attended Louisville's local elimination competition for the 1933 Century of Progress Contest held March 19th in the Crystal Ballroom of the Brown Hotel and compiled a list of eight quilters. (83) Seven were Kentuckians--three from Louisville, one from Pewee Valley, two from Horse Cave, and one from Hodgenville. The eighth hailed from Pekin, Indiana.

Early the following year, F. H. Eads, the Merchandise Superintendent at Sears, Roebuck & Company, Louisville, sent Lissauer a list of "quilters whose work was better than the average and whom you may wish to write to." (84) Two of the eight (Mrs. Sudie Holbert of Hodgenville, Kentucky, and Miss Clara C. Johnson of Pekin, Indiana) were on both lists. Lissauer made several additions: Miss Frances Clements (Klemenz) of Louisville, who won the Louisville competition with her Bleeding Hearts quilt; the A. M. Caden Shop in Lexington, whose co-owner, Margaret Rogers Caden, won the National Contest with her entry, an Eight-Point Combination Feather Star quilt; and the Regina Shop and Alice Lace Shop in Louisville.

By today's standards, the cost of hiring a quilter during the Colonial Revival era seems negligible. In 1915 Marie Webster wrote that the usual determining factor was the number and cost of the spools of thread required, although in some areas it could run as high as five dollars per spool. (85) Eighteen years later, Martha Woods wrote Lissauer that a local Bowling Green woman charged $1.25 a spool. (86) The next year, her journal recorded that that she had "got my 1st pink quilt back from Quilter (Mrs. Campbell) $7.00 including lining" but also noted that she paid three dollars for a "Blue nine patch quilted by a colored woman--July--1934." (87) This deflation in wages likely was a result of the hard times created by the Depression, but the race of the second quilter may also have increased the disparity.

Interestingly, Lissauer did not hire Rigsby. Quilting was perhaps outside the seamstress's normal line of work; Rigsby may have had more needlework than she could handle at that moment; or she may have earned more doing other types of fine needlework. Certainly, her embroidery work for Lissauer seemed to pay more than quilting did. She advised Lissauer to "get somebody that will keep it clean, as they go. That will be the beauty of it. If you and I & had it by ourselves we could kill the bear." (88)

Several individuals helped with the quilting. Her husband reportedly sketched the design on the foundation, and Lissauer hired three women affiliated with the Regina Shop to do the actual quilting. (89) Quilted doves (two separate designs) and bouquets (single design) alternate with the appliques, and flowering branches enhance the border. The latticework design that covers the remainder of the quilt was carefully laid out to create oval settings for the appliques and the quilted doves and bouquets. The stitches average 1/32 of an inch, with cording inserted between the rows, giving the quilting a three-dimensional effect. A notation indicates three women worked nine hours a day, five days a week for six months--a total of 3,240 hours.

Although there is no record of what Regina Shop President Marguerite Kleinjohn (1892-1977) charged, the materials Lissauer saved allow us to speculate as to who might have quilted her textile. The list compiled during her visit to the local Century of Progress Contest includes two women affiliated with the Regina Shop: the aforementioned Frances Klemenz and Mrs. Minerva L. (Palmer) Graham. Lissauer also added Klemenz's name to the bottom of the list provided by Sears Merchandise Superintendent Eads.

Sharing Her Vision

After the turn of the twentieth century, many Americans became interested in quiltmaking and quilting competitions.
   Not only does it serve as a stimulus to those who look forward to
   the fair and put into their art the very best of their ability in
   order that they may surpass their competitor next door, but it also
   serves as an inspiration to those who are denied the faculty of
   creating original designs, yet nevertheless take keen pleasure in
   the production of beautiful needlework. (90)

In the depths of the Depression, quilt exhibits and contests offered Americans outlets to channel their creative energy and provided some respite from the country's economic troubles. While batting manufacturers used these events to promote their products, department stores sponsored them as a way to drive foot traffic onsite. Several competitions in the 1920s and 1930s attracted hundreds of entries and thousands of visitors, but "the granddaddy of all quilt events in the first half of the twentieth century was undoubtedly the Century of Progress competition, sponsored by Sears, Roebuck in conjunction with Chicago's 1933 Exposition." (91) The 495 entries in the local elimination contest in Louisville were among the nearly 25,000 quilts submitted nationwide. (92)

In May 1934, Lissauer's mother suggested her daughter enter the Godey Quilt in a contest in Topeka. "Speaking of prizes, the Household magazine [sic] advertises a quilt show in the latter part of June and fifty dollars is given for the best quilt.... Would you risk sending it? (93) Her materials provide no indication that Lissauer participated in this contest, but a letter written fourteen months later suggests it was recently entered in a competition. "I am glad you brought home the bacon with it. Surely none could have been prettier or had half so much work on it." (94) The Godey Quilt garnered repeated attention, including an honorable mention at the 1939 National Home Show Quilt and Coverlet Exhibition in Louisville. A local newspaper noted that it was valued at the almost unheard of figure of $5,000 and had never been exhibited without winning a prize. (95) Another article began with the headline, "Dream Designing of Highland Woman Materializes in an Exquisite Quilt." (96) In 1945 House Beautiful published a photograph of it; three years later the bed cover rated a mention in an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal Magazine. 97

Lissauer publicly acknowledged that she had received assistance, noting, "the [quilting] designs were sketched on by my husband and then were stitched and stuffed by professional quilters." (98) There is no indication, however, that she identified the quilters by name, nor does Rigsby's contribution appear in known media reports. Still, her willingness to credit the contribution of other individuals was somewhat at odds with a general outlook that valued the act of appliqueing or piecing a quilt over the process of quilting it. Taken to its extreme, this point of view was perhaps best represented by the willingness of Margaret Rogers Caden, of Lexington, Kentucky, to enter and take credit for the quilt that won the National 1933 Century of Progress Contest, even though she had done no work on it. (99)


Much of the historical value of the Godey Quilt lies in the opportunity it affords for a case study into the mindset of its creator and her quiltmaking process: "I like to create something in the back of my head and then go to work to make it come true. That's exactly what happened with this peach-colored satin quilt. I had to dream it before it materialized into what you see." (100) Rarely do the materials that influenced the design of a quilt survive beyond its creation. Existing manuscript materials housed in Library Special Collections, WKU, help uncover the quiltmaker's upbringing and family life, as well as provide details about the quiltmaking process itself. Significantly, this documentation also encompasses the period after the quilt was crafted. Taken together, this information helps researchers understand the "how" and the "why" of the Godey Quilt.

Made solely for artistic and personal reasons, the Godey Quilt differs in many ways from most quilts crafted during the early 1930s. A figural quilt, it was based on a largely original design in an era when the marketing and commercialization of patterns and kits had reached such a level of national acceptance that originality was not as highly valued as in the past. This was certainly true for the 1933 Century of Progress Contest, whose finals featured large numbers of quilts made from kits and published patterns and which did not award any prizes to quilts that represented the competition theme. Manifesting the era's interest in America's colonial past, the quilt's appliques were inspired by illustrations published in newspapers, magazines, and other printed materials--images that were instantly recognizable to many Americans. While there are other known examples of figural quilts from this period, relatively few of them feature images adapted so literally and so broadly from the Colonial Revival era.

With its peach-colored foundation, the Godey Quilt more closely resembles the upscale applique and whole cloth quilts produced for the cottage industries of the Upper South and Midwest than it does the vast majority of applique quilts that date from this period. Many of Lissauer's color choices, such as Nile green and orchid, were mainstream, and she constructed her appliques from a mix of the solids that dominated applique work and the prints that piecework increasingly favored. Still, the subject matter of the appliques and level of detail Lissauer achieved through the selective application of laces, buttons, and decorative embroidery stitches set her quilt apart.

In 1990, Lissauer donated the Godey Quilt, doorstop, four unused appliques, her research materials, photographs, and the Flower Baskets Quilt to the Kentucky Museum, at WKU, where it remains one of this institution's most treasured acquisitions. Eight years later, Lissauer passed away at the age of 101. She was a true original, who in her unique way became a standard bearer of the Colonial Revival Movement.

Notes and References

(1.) Merikay Waldvogel, Soft Covers for Hard Times: Quiltmaking & the Great Depression (Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press, 1990), xii.

(2.) Mary Reecy Fitzgerald, "The Development of Geometric Pictorial Patchwork," Uncoverings 2009, ed. Laurel Horton (Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, 2009), 139-140, 162; Merikay Waldvogel and Barbara Brackman, Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World's Fair (Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press, 1993), 22-23.

(3.) Thomas K. Woodard & Blanche Greenstein, Twentieth Century Quilts, 1900 to 1950 (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1988), 90.

(4.) Waldvogel and Brackman, Patchwork Souvenirs, xvi, 42.

(5.) Lissauer, Mildred Wallis (Potter), 1897-1998--Collector, MSS 544, Library Special Collections, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky (hereafter MSS 544).

(6.) Louisville Herald-Post, n.d., MSS 544.

(7.) Letter from Martha Woods Potter to Douglass Woods Potter, June 30, 1919. Lissauer, Mildred Wallis (Potter), 1897-1998--Collector, MSS 482, Library Special Collections, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky (hereafter MSS 482).

(8.) Letter from Martha Woods Potter to Douglass Woods Potter, July 24, 1923, MSS 482.

(9.) Conversation with Museum Director Riley Handy recalling interview with Mildred Potter Lissauer, Kentucky Museum, August 1990.

(10.) Helen Lawton, "Things Aren't What They Seem," Louisville Courier-Journal Magazine, October 17, 1948, 14.

(11.) Cuesta Benberry, "The 20th Century Quilt Revival," Quilter's Newsletter Monthly, July/August 1989, 20.

(12.) Evaline Johnson and Lydia Brigham, "Priceless Heirlooms of Tomorrow," Needlecraft--the Home Arts Magazine, February 1934, 8.

(13.) W. Barksdale Maynard, "'Best, Lowliest Style!' The Early-Nineteenth-Century Rediscovery of American Colonial Architecture," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 59, no. 3 (September 2000): 345.

(14.) Marilyn Casto, "Concept of Hand Production in Colonial Revival Interiors," in Re-creating the American Past: Essays on the Colonial Revival, ed. Richard Guy Wilson, Shaun Eyring, and Kenny Marotta (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006), 321.

(15.) Jeanette Lasansky, "The Colonial Revival and Quilts 1864-1976," Pieced by Mother: Symposium Papers, ed. Jeanette Lasansky (Lewisburg, PA: Oral Traditions Project of the Union County Historical Society, 1988), 97; Marin F. Hanson, "Modern, Yet Anti-Modern: Two Sides of Late-Nineteenth--and Early-Twentieth Century Quiltmaking," Uncoverings 2008, ed. Laurel Horton (Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, 2008), 111; Karl Ann Marling, George Washington Slept Here: Colonial Revivals and American Culture, 1876-1986 (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1988), 151-53.

(16.) Bridget A. May, "Wearing and Inhabiting the Past: Promoting the Colonial Revival in Late-Nineteenth-and Early-Twentieth Century America" in Performance, Fashion, and the Modern Interior: From the Victorians to Today, ed. Fiona Fisher, Patricia Lara-Betancourt, Trevor Keeble and Brenda Martin (New York: Berg Publishers, 2011), 52.

(17.) Ibid.

(18.) Beatrice Ferrell, "Interesting Embroideries for a Colonial Bedroom," Needlecraft, September 1927, 8.

(19.) Advertisement, Needlecraft, July 1935, 22.

(20.) "Twentieth Century Patchwork Quilts," Modern Priscilla, August 1926, 12.

(21.) Sharon Fulton Pinka, "William Pinch and the Rainbow Quilt Block Company," Uncoverings 2009, ed. Laurel Horton (Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, 2009), 46.

(22.) Woodward and Greenstein, Twentieth Century Quilts, 5.

(23.) Marie D. Webster, Quilts: Their Story and How to Make Them (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1915), 156.

(24.) "Colonial Quilts," Louisville Times Needle Art Department, 1932, 4, LSC, WKU.

(25.) Marilyn Goldman, "The Wilkinson Quilt Company: 'America's Original Makers of Fine Quilts,'" Uncoverings 2002, ed. Virginia Gunn (Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, 2002), 147.

(26.) Virginia Gunn, "Quilts for Milady's Boudoir," Uncoverings 1989, ed. Laurel Horton (Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, 1990), 89.

(27.) Wilkinson Art Quilt (ca. 1916), Quilt Index, Record No. 5D-8A-A, 2-3,

(28.) "There is Charm in This Sextet of Quilted Cushions," Needlecraft, September 1929, 6,

(29.) Nettie Spoor Hanauer, "Exquisite Quilted Gifts Easily Made for Christmas," Needlecraft, December 1930, 5.

(30.) Advertisement, Needlecraft, February 1931, 20.

(31.) Conversation with Museum Director Riley Handy recalling interview with Mildred Potter Lissauer, Kentucky Museum, August 1990.

(32.) Merikay Waldvogel email to author, May 19, 2015; ephemerasearch.php; Wilkinson Art Quilt, 1921, 4, Merikay Waldvogel Collection; Eleanor Beard Original Designs in Fine Quilting, n.d., 14, Merikay Waldvogel Collection.

(33.) Waldvogel and Brackman, Patchwork Souvenirs, 45.

(34.) Gunn, "Quilts for Milady's Boudoir," 89.

(35.) Martha Woods Bagby, journal entry, June 1933.

(36.) Beverly Gordon, "Spinning Wheels, Samplers, and the Modern Priscilla: The Images and Paradoxes of Colonial Revival Needlework," Winterthur Portfolio 33, no. 2/3 (Summer-Autumn, 1998): 164

(37.) Beverly Gordon, "Costume Representations of Early America: A Gendered Portrayal, 1850-1940," Dress, 30 (2003): 14.

(38.) Ibid., 16.

(39.) For example, see the cover of "Colonial Quilts" Louisville Times, Needleart Department, 1933, LSC, WKU; Virginia Snow Studio Catalog, 1932, 4; cover of W.L.M. Clark, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri, Grandmother Clark's Old Fashioned Quilt Designs, Book 21, 1931.

(40.) Louisville Bedding Company, Olde Kentucky Quilts: Their Traditions, Their Beauty, Their Place in Present Day Homes (Louisville, KY: Louisville Bedding Company, n. d).

(41.) Advertisement, Woman's World Magazine, n.d., MSS 544.

(42.) Agnes Heisler Barton, "It is Easy to Make and Decorate Lamp Shades," Needlecraft, September 1931, 12.

(43.) Nancy Cary, "Delightfully Quaint Bridge-Table Ensembles," Needlecraft, October 1930, 9; Buty Chine is described as "Trade-marked fabric for lingerie purposes and linings, in satin weave of mercerized cotton. Width: 36," in Grace G. Denny, Fabrics; Definitions of Fabrics, Practice Textile Tests, Classification of Fabrics, 4th ed. (Chicago, IL: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1936), 18.

(44.) Cary, "Delightfully Quaint Bridge Table Ensembles," 9.

(45.) Ibid.

(46.) "Silhouetted Ladies," Needlecraft, October 1931, 9, 32.

(47.) Advertisement, Needlecraft, November 1932, 2.

(48.) Betty J. Hagerman, A Meeting of the Sunbonnet Children (Baldwin City, KS: Hagerman, 1979), 37, 6; Rosalind Webster Perry and Marty Frolli, A Joy Forever: Marie Webster's Quilt Patterns (Santa Barbara, CA: Practical Patchwork, 1992), 24.

(49.) Letter from Mildred Woods Babgy to Mildred Potter Lissauer, "Dear Mildred, Your letter just arrived and I will answer your questions at once as may want a prompt reply ...," n.d., MSS 544.

(50.) Ibid.

(51.) Advertisement, The Household Magazine, 1933.

(52.) "1840 Costume," Vogue, July 19, 1930, 70-71.

(53.) Illustration, Needlecraft, September 1931, 26; ephemera item, n.d., MSS 544.

(54.) "1840s Costume," Vogue, July 19, 1930, 71; advertisement, n.d., MSS 544.

(55.) Advertisement, Louisville Courier-Journal, December 19, 1933, 5.

(56.) Advertisement, greeting card, n.d., MSS 544.

(57.) Three advertisements, n.d., and illustration, Vogue, n.d, MSS 544.

(58.) Greeting card, n.d., MSS 544.

(59.) Conversation with Museum Director Riley Handy recalling interview with Mildred Potter Lissauer, Kentucky Museum, August 1990.

(60.) Letter from Ollie Rigsby to Mildred Potter Lissauer, "It took me three days to make the lady." n.d., MSS 544.

(61.) Letter from Mildred Potter Lissauer to Ollie Rigsby, "Dearest Ollie, Thank you for sending along the two ladies ...," n.d., MSS 544.

(62.) Ibid.

(63.) Ibid.

(64.) Letter from Rigsby to Lissauer, "Dear Mildred: Got your things.," n.d., MSS 544.

(65.) Letter from Lissauer to Rigsby, "Dearest Ollie, Thank you for sending along the two ladies ...," n.d., MSS 544.

(66.) Illustration, Vogue, July 1930, 71; letter from Lissauer to Rigsby, "Dearest Ollie, Thank you for sending along the two ladies.,".

(67.) Letter from Lissauer to Rigsby, "Dearest Ollie, Thank you for sending along the two ladies ...,".

(68.) Letter from Rigsby to Lissauer, "Dear Mildred: For fear I don't exactly get your idea.," n.d., MSS 544.

(69.) Letter from Rigsby to Lissauer, "Dear Mildred: Your letter came too late.," n.d., MSS 544.

(70.) Drawing, n.d., MSS 544.

(71.) Letter from Rigsby to Lissauer, "Dear Mildred: Your letter came too late.," n.d., MSS 544.

(72.) Lawton, "Things Aren't What They Seem," ibid.

(73.) Letter from Rigsby to Lissauer, "Dear Mildred, I am so sorry I haven't written you before...," n.d., MSS 544.

(74.) Letter from Rigsby to Lissauer, "My dear Mildred: If by any chance I have failed on any part.," n.d., MSS 544.

(75.) Ruby Short McKim, One Hundred and One Patchwork Patterns (New York: Dover Publications, rev. ed., 1962), 31.

(76.) Letter from Bagby to Lissauer, "My dear Mildred. I intended to write you the first thing this morning.," n.d., MSS 544.

(77.) Letter from Mildred Bagby to Lissauer, "Dear Mildred. Your letter just recd (sic) and I will answer your questions at once.," n.d., MSS 544.

(78.) Waldvogel & Brackman, Patchwork Souvenirs, 61.

(79.) Rose G. Kretsinger & Carrie A. Hall, The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in America (New York: Bonanza Books, 1935), 46.

(80.) Merikay Waldvogel, "The Marketing of Anne Orr's Quilts," Uncoverings 1990, ed. Laurel Horton (San Francisco, CA: American Quilt Study Group, 1991) 18-19.

(81.) Pat L. Nickols, "Mary A. McElwain: Quilter and Quilt Businesswoman," Uncoverings 1991, ed. Laurel Horton (San Francisco, CA: American Quilt Study Group, 1992), 100, 102.

(82.) Gunn, "Quilts for Milady's Boudoir," 83, 90.

(83.) List, May 1933, MSS 544.

(84.) Letter from Eads, F. H to Mildred Potter Lissauer, January 8, 1934, MSS 544.

(85.) Webster, Quilts: Their Story, 107, 108.

(86.) Letter to Mildred Potter Lissauer from Martha Woods Potter, March 15, 1933, MSS 482.

(87.) Martha Woods Bagby Journal entry, 1934.

(88.) Letter from Rigsby to Lissauer, "Dear Mildred, I would have sewed the applicae [sic] pieces down.," n.d., MSS 544.

(89.) Louisville Herald-Post, n.d. MSS 544.

(90.) Webster, Quilts: Their Story, 138.

(91.) Woodard and Greenstein, Twentieth Century Quilts, 23.

(92.) Louisville Herald-Post, May 20, 1933, Merikay Waldvogel Collection.

(93.) Letter from Martha Woods Potter to Mildred Potter Lissauer, May 10, 1934, MSS 482.

(94.) Letter from Martha Woods Potter to Mildred Potter Lissauer, October 14, 1936, MSS 482.

(95.) Louisville Courier-Journal, March 10, 1939, Section 3, 9.

(96.) Louisville Herald-Post, n.d., MSS 544.

(97.) "This Could Happen to You," House Beautiful, July 1945, 62; Helen Lawton, "Things Aren't What They Seem," 17.

(98.) Louisville Herald-Post, n.d., MSS 544.

(99.) Waldvogel and Brackman, Patchwork Souvenirs, 61.

(100.) Louisville Herald-Post, n.d., MSS 544.

Caption: Fig. 1. Mildred Potter Lissauer, Godey Quilt, 1933-1934. 102 x 91 3/4 inches. Kentucky Museum, Western Kentucky University (WKU), 1990.6.1.

Caption: Fig. 2. Mildred Potter Lissauer & Arthur Lissauer outside their residence in Louisville, Kentucky, 1930s. Courtesy of Department of Library Special Collections, WKU.

Caption: Fig. 3. Godey Quilt displayed in a bedroom in Green Pastures, Lissauer's Louisville home, ca. 1939. Courtesy of Department of Library Special Collections, WKU.

Caption: Fig. 4. Attributed to Mildred Woods Bagby, Flower Baskets Quilt, late 1920s-early 1930s. 104 1/2 x 87 3/4 inches. Kentucky Museum, WKU, 1990.6.5.

Caption: Fig. 5. Fashion plate engraving from the September 1862 edition of Godey's Lady's Book. Courtesy of Department of Library Special Collections, WKU.

Caption: Fig. 6. This playing card is part of a collection of materials that influenced the design of the Godey Quilt. Courtesy of Department of Library Special Collections, WKU.

Caption: Fig. 7. A magazine illustration inspired this sketch which Lissauer used for the design of figural applique Row 2, #3. Courtesy of Department of Library Special Collections, WKU.

Caption: Fig. 8. This cloth portrait was based on an image in the July, 1930, issue of Vogue magazine. Kentucky Museum, WKU, 1990.6.1.

Caption: Fig. 9. This illustration from Needlecraft partially inspired the design of the applique of the knitting/spinning figure (Row 1, #1).

Caption: Fig. 10. This newspaper advertisement was a source illustration for the strolling couple in Row 2. Courtesy of The Courier-Journal.

Caption: Fig. 11. Adapted from several design sources, this applique manifests the success of the collaboration between Lissauer and Rigsby.

Caption: Fig. 12. Lissauer adapted the illustration on this card for the applique on the kneeler she placed before the "Shrine to Beauty" in her home. Courtesy of Department of Library Special Collections, WKU.

Caption: Fig. 13. Lissauer used delicate embroidery enhancements to transform the applique modeled after this bridge tally cover into a figural portrait that reflected her vision.

Caption: Fig. 14: Lissauer specified the embellishments Ollie Rigsby added to the "flower box ladies" appliques in row 5. Kentucky Museum, WKU 1990.6.1.
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