A couple of weeks ago, I drove up to Gainesville, Missouri, to spend the day with my friends Susannah Alms and Janet Taber, Susannah’s mom. Janet has worked very hard over the last several months with a group of folks in the small town of Gainesville to create a treasure called the “Historium” on the quaint square downtown. The building is fantastic, with all the charm of an old store and the beauty of a modern art gallery.
Janet had told me about a showing of friendship quilts that were on display and I couldn’t wait to see them for myself. There were 30 or so, each with an amazing story, and most covered with the embroidered names of those who made them or those who were being honored. Some were new and some very old, but all were made with love for the friends they were created by and for. My favorite quilt was one made in the 1940’s with the names of boys who were off fighting in World War II. Every soldier whose name is on the quilt came home from the war.
As with most of the friendship quilts, ladies in the community – often homemaker’s club members or church groups – made the quilts to commemorate special occasions. A beautiful quilt with wedding customs appliqued in fabric was made for Janet’s mother-in-law on the occasion of her wedding. It’s a huge blue quilt and is beautiful!
A precious purple and gold quilt was made by a homemaker’s club for a member’s birthday. Its bright morning glory design is exquisite and covered with the names of this lady’s close friends. Today, this beautiful quilt is owned by the lady’s granddaughter. Can you imagine owning something so special?
A few of the quilts were made for teachers who retired or moved away. One made in the 1930’s was made for a beloved teacher named Edith Crawford Adamson and shows the names of all the children in her class.
Another beautiful quilt was made by the Missouri Association of General Baptists in 1929 and features the names of Baptist preachers in the state.
Spending the day with good friends while enjoying stories of the Ozarks as told through friendship quilts was something special. Over lunch, we talked about future displays at the “Historium” and I can’t wait to make the short drive back to Gainesville to soak up the history of the area with good friends and enjoy the next exhibit!