Sunday, November 13, 2016

American Heroes Quilts: Past and Present by Don Beld

American Heroes Quilts by Don Beld is an original quilt history book that presents traditional quilt blocks with the history of the American heroes that inspired inspired them.

'Use the patterns as a quick tour through American history," the introduction advises.

We too often have a cursory knowledge of our own history. Quilt block names such as Burgoyne Surrounded may be a mystery to quilters. I know it was to me when I first saw a beautiful two color quilt in this pattern. Beld offers a brief, accessible history for these mysterious quilt block names, including pictures. Quilts made in the block are presented, usually in several variations.

I appreciated Beld's biographies of these American heroes. He does not idolize or idealize them. My study of presidents and first ladies taught me that great things can be accomplished by people with 'feet of clay'. These people represented the beliefs of their time, some of which we later came to reject or understand as ill begotten. For example, President Andrew Jackson, a popular president who instituted and a policy of relocation and genocide of Native Americans. His winning the Battle of New Orleans was pivotal. He rescued a damsel in distress and they fell in love and married. Except her first husband never completed the divorce... The newspapers had a field day that devastated Rachel.

The book's chapters are organized chronologically by American history:
1776-1825: The Beginning of the Republic, including Gen. Gates and Gen. Burgoyne; Benjamin Franklin; President George and Martha Washington; Lewis and Clark; Zebulon Pike; First Lady Dolley Madison; Isaac Hull; Mary Pickersgill and Francis Scott Key; and the Marquis De Lafayette.

1826-1875 Years of Turmoil, including President Andrew Jackson; Davy Crockett; President William Henry Harrison; President John Tyler; Henry Clay; President Millard Fillmore; President James Polk; Stephen Douglas; President Lincoln and his son Tad; Barbara Frietchie; Pierre Beauregard; Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson; and Gen. Sherman.

1876-1925 Victorian Ladies, including Gen. Custer; President Garfield; Nellie Bly; President and Mrs. Hayes; First Lady Frances Cleveland; Jacob Coxey; President Theodore Roosevelt and Edith; Gen. Dewey and Mildred Dewey; Richmond Hobson; First Lady Helen Taft; Carrie Nation; Adm Byrd; Richard Peary; and First Ladies Edith and Ellen Wilson.

1926-200 The Modern Era, including Charles Lindbergh; President Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor; Amelia Earhart; Virginia Payne; Allen B. Dumont; President Truman; President Eisenhower; Rosa Parks; President Kennedy; President Carter; President Clinton and Hillary.

Templates for a 10" block sampler quilt are included at the end of the book.

This is a lovely book to look at with 300 color photos and 93 black and white photos. I especially enjoyed seeing the antique and vintage quilts. Quilters will enjoy the basic history lessons behind traditional quilt blocks.

I received a free book from Schiffer Publications in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

American Heroes
Don Beld
Schiffer Publications
$34.99 hard cover with slip cover

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