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Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry, An American Quilt Scholar

 

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Photo of African American Quilt Scholar text panel
     
Photo of Little Brown Koko quilt  

Little Brown Koko
Jeannie Cuddy
Mankato, Minnesota
1943
57" x 80"
MSUM #2008:119.5

Cuesta’s collection included examples of depictions of African-American stereotypes. The designs in this quilt were inspired by a series of stories about a small boy, his family, and friends that were published in the 1930s-40s in the magazine Household from Capper's Publishing, Topeka, Kansas.

Cuesta, like the MSU Museum, was interested in collecting all aspects of quiltmaking, even when the quilts or other objects are offensive racial and ethnic stereotypes. These quilts and other materials document that racism and ethnic stereotypes have occurred throughout history.

     
Photo of Mammy quilt  

Mammy
Irene Edmondson and Jennie Dunphy, Tennessee (top) and Betty Johnson, California (quilting)
1930s (top), 1981 (quilting)
83 1/2" x 99"
MSUM #2008:119.41

Several names, including "Mammy" and "Aunt Jemima,” have been given to this quilt. Cuesta was never been able to document the provenance and history of this quilt pattern. She believed, however that no African-American person made this quilt.

Cuesta, like the MSU Museum, was interested in collecting all aspects of quiltmaking, even when the quilts or other objects are offensive racial and ethnic stereotypes. These quilts and other materials document that racism and ethnic stereotypes have occurred throughout history.

     
Photo of Differing Perspectives text panel
     
Photo of Pomegranate quilt  

Pomegranate
Mary Stanford
1876
North Central Missouri
73" x 88"
MSUM #2008.119.9

Mary, an African American quiltmaker, made this for her sister Hattie Dorsey Moore in 1876.

     
Photo of Pinwheel flower quilt  

Pinwheel Flower
Unknown maker, believed to be African American
Bowling Green, Missouri
ca. 1860
76" x 81"
MSUM #2008.119.8

From Cuesta, "I purchased this unusual quilt from Dick and Suellen Meyer in Crever Couer, Missouri. With its bright antimony orange background, and four block setting (each block approximately one yard square), it bears a strong resemblance to a Pennsylvania-Dutch work." The quilt is believed to have been made by a former slave.

     
Photo of Lone Star quilt  

Lone Star
Maker unknown
ca. 1950
71" x 76"
MSUM #2008:119.42

Cuesta’s records indicate that this quilt was purported to have been made by an African American quiltmaker.

     
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | back to Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry, An American Quilt Scholar