Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Discover Pennsylvania Patchwork Pillowcases

Ann Hermes' personal collection formed the basis of her book Pennsylvania Patchwork Pillowcases.

Anne presents a history of the patchwork pillowcases with an interesting history of German immigrants in Pennsylvania.

Germans immigrated to Southeast Pennsylvania in record numbers in the 19th c. My own German ancestors first settled in Berks County and Lancaster County. Bucks, Leigh, Lebanon, and York counties also drew German populations.

The immigrants represented Mennonite, Schwenkfelder, Brethren, Lutheran and Reformed religious groups, commonly refered to as Pennsylvania Dutch. The Amish Germans did not have a tradition of pillow covers, nor did the English Quakers.

Ann's vast wealth of knowledge and research into the pillowcases makes fascinating reading. The pillowcases were sized to fit the traditional German bed and are constructed like a traditional patchwork quilt but with a fabric back and enclosed on one end. Other versions include the pillow sham and the cover which was placed on top of the pillow to keep them clean.

The fabrics indicate they were popularly made between 1820 and 1920.

Many include embellishments with lace, fringe, openwork, or cross stitch. Embroidered motifs, initials, and names also appear.
Pennsylvania Patchwork Pillows
Photographs show the construction of the pillowcases including details of edgings and closures employed. 

Chapters include Collecting Antique Textiles, Early 19th Century Pillowcases, Pillowcases by Design 1850-1900, Applique Pillowcases, Special Cases, and Other Small Treasures and are illustrated with 250 color photographs. Small treasures includes storage bags, square pillow covers, bags, doll quilts, and pot-holders.

The variety of antique fabrics, block patterns, and settings found in these small treasures are lovely to peruse. The historical fabrics can be seen in detail with dyes, prints, quilt patterns, and provenance described. Some pillowcases were kept with the original quilt they were made to accompany. 

Along with items from Ann's own collection are included examples found in museums, private collections, and historical society collections.

Like all Schiffer publications, the book is beautifully presented, with high quality color pages. 

Ann Hermes is a collector of antique quilts and a long-time student of quilt history. Originally from Northbrook, Illinois, Ann’s move to the Philadelphia area twenty-five years ago to pursue a career as a research scientist in the chemical industry landed her in a place rich in history and quilting traditions. She is a member of the American Quilt Study Group and an active participant in local textile history events. Inspired by her collection, Ann designs and makes miniature quilts, dozens of which have appeared in national quilting magazines. Ann lives in Ambler, Pennsylvania, with her husband, two sons, and two black cats.

I received a free book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Pennsylvania Patchwork Pillowcases
Anne R. Hermes
Schiffer Publications
$29.99 hard cover
ISBN: 978-0-7643-4610-1