Mary McElwain Gallery Talk & Luncheon

Mary McElwain is widely considered to be the premier quilt and mail order entrepreneur of her era. From 1912 until her death in 1943, she owned a quilt shop in Walworth, Wisconsin, that became a popular destination for quilt enthusiasts from the region and the nation. She employed over 80 ladies to create patterns, kits and exquisitely finished quilts, which she sold from her store and also by mail order. Her designs, many of them floral applique, are credited with changing 20th century quilting. Many of McElwain’s quilts, patterns, and other ephemera are part of the Traditions exhibit, on display June 25 – October 12 in our Barn Gallery.

Pat L. Nickols of Rancho Santa Fe, California, is considered to be the leading expert on McElwain history. Nickols wrote the article “Mary A. McElwain: Quilter and Quilt Businesswoman,” published in a 1990 issue of Uncoverings, the premier scholarly publication of the American Quilt Study Group. Nickols participated in the creation of the Traditions exhibit at the museum, contributing her expertise and donating quilts and ephemera for our display.

Join Nickols at the museum for this special event. Registrations are being taken at the museum, and also online (use the shopping cart below). Registration deadline is June 22. Cancellations received after this date will not be refunded.

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