Michigan Quilt Project
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The African American Collection

Donkey Quilt
Mary Williams (1893-1979)
Kerrville, Tennessee
Cotton with cotton filling
74” x 92”
MSUM 7535.1
Photo by Mark Eiffert, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

Joe and Janice Rolston received a wedding gift in 1969 of a quilt documenting an unusual piece of family history. Made by his grandmother, Mary Williams, the Donkey quilt was inspired by the family's favorite donkeys, Mike and Nell. Williams, the granddaughter of a slave, came from an active quilting family and was an avid seamstress who made all of her husband's and children's clothing.

This pattern was reprinted by the Kansas City Star on July 17, 1977.
Acc #2006:154.63

A Donkey pattern similar to this was published in the Kansas City Star newspaper in 1931. The pattern was published in response to requests for a pattern representative of the Democratic party, due to the upcoming 1932 presidential election. "Giddap, A Very Democratic Donkey" was designed by the Ladies' Aid Society at the Sedalia, Missouri, Congregational Church. Kansas City Star patterns were syndicated in many other states, making the Donkey pattern available to many people.

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