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Beauty in Hard Times
Depression Era Quilts in Nebraska

The Colonial Revival

The Colonial Revival was a movement popularized during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. It emphasized "traditional" American activities and objects. Colonial Revival interiors rejected the busy look of the Victorian era. For a time, early American antiques and reproductions became common in American homes. As a traditional craft, quilting was an important element in home decorating. This, combined with necessity for some, helped quilting flourish.

Home Arts Magazine, March, 1932  

Floral Applique
Maker Unknown
Probably Made in Nebraska
Circa 1930
80" x 72"
Buffalo County Historical Museum


Drunkard's Path

Marguerite Marks Nelson
Made in Polk, Nebraska
75.5" x 67"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Katherine Nelson, Vista, California

Marguerite Marks Nelson was born in Ord, Nebraska, in 1900. She made this quilt sometime around 1930, which is the year she married Harold Nelson, a farmer and barber. Marguerite taught history at Park High School. She died in 1936, three days after the birth of her daughter, Katherine.

LeMoyne Star

Murl (Mabel) Brickner Gunnerson
Made in Aurora, Nebraska
90" x 77"


Phoneta Bruner Munroe
Made in West Point, Nebraska
90" x 84"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Lily B. Munroe, West Point

Lily Munroe donated this quilt to the Nebraska State Historical Society. Her mother, Phoneta Bruner Munroe, made it for her in 1932 when Phoneta was seventy-eight years old. It is an exact copy of another quilt made by Lily's grandmother, Amelia Brobst Bruner. Amelia's quilt, which is also in the Society's collection, was made while she lived in Pennsylvania prior to her 1856 move to Nebraska with her husband, Uriah.

Improved Nine Patch

Elizabeth Brook Swartz & Rose Marie Riek Swartz
Made in Fillmore County, Nebraska
Late 1920s-1936
88" x 75"
Nebraska State Historical Society, Source: Darlene Miltner, Lincoln

This quilt was made by Mary Elizabeth Rook Swartz and her daughter-in-law, Rose Marie Riek Swartz. They lived on a farmstead close to the Big Blue River, five miles north of Grafton, Nebraska.


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Last updated 5 April 2011

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