Books for Reference and History

Almost all the books in the WAQG library are “reference books.” But this section contains books concerning topics other than quilt-making techniques or patterns for quilt makers. How to organize your workspace, how quilts are judged in quilt shows, how to select quilts for a collection, how to restore old quilts—these are some of the subjects found here. Also included are books about the history of quilts. Updated January 16, 2020.


Adams, E. Bryding, Ed. Made in Alabama: A State Legacy. Birmingham Museum of Art, 1995. 392 pages. Book #1507. (This comprehensive history of decorative arts produced in Alabama is organized by art form. It contains a chapter on handmade textiles and another on nineteenth century quilts and needlework.) [History, Regional]

Anderson, Suzy McLennan. Collector’s Guide to Quilts. Wallace-Homestead, 1991. 176 pages. Book #1501. (This book gives a history of quilting, guidance on dating and identifying historical fabrics and motifs, and a checklist for evaluating the financial value of historical quilts.) [Tags: Collecting Quilts, Reference, History]

Arnett, William, and Paul Arnett, Eds. The Quilts of Gee’s Bend. Tinwood Books, 2002. 192 pages. Book #3188. (A history of Gee’s Bend and the quilting of the region, plus 8 themed “quilt portfolios” of the quilts and quilters. For reference only.) [History, Reference, Folio, Regional, Alabama]

Austin, Mary Leman. The Twentieth Century’s Best American Quilts. Primedia, 1999. 109 pages. Book #3129. (Images and commentary on 100 selected, prize-winning quilts of the past 100 years.)

Bishop, Robert. The Romance of Double Wedding Ring Quilts. Museum of American Folk Art, 1989. 85 pages. Book #1245. (This book traces the history of the double wedding ring quilt, shows a gallery of historical quilts of this type, and gives instructions and patterns for making several variations.) [Tag: History, Gallery, Double Wedding Ring]

Bowman, Doris M. American Quilts: The Smithsonian Treasury. Smithsonian Institute, 1991. 96 pages. Book #3053. (An annotated gallery of 88 quilts in the Smithsonian collection.) [Tags: History, Gallery, United States]

Browning, Bonnie. Who’s Who in American Quilting. AQS, 1996. 151 pages. Book #1515. (An alphabetical list of notable quilters, with small photo and brief biography of each. WAQG’s own Hallie O’Kelley is featured on page 96.) [Tags: History, Reference]

Garoutte, Sally, Ed. Uncoverings 1981. American Quilt Study Group, 1982. (This is a collection of scholarly essays about quilting.) [Tags: History]

Hicks, Kyra E. How to Self-Publish Your Own Quilt Catalog. Black Threads Press, 2012. 20 pages. Book #1838. (This book offers an 18 step plan for self publication.) [Tags: Reference]

Kirk, Nancy. Quilt Restoration Workshop. Soft Science, 2003. 4 DVD’s. Book #1528. (The 4 discs in this set, each about 90 minutes long, cover quilt restoration, dating fabrics, aging fabrics, cleaning quilts, and displaying them.) [Tags:   Quilt Restoration, History, DVD]

Levie, Eleanor. Great Little Quilts: 45 Antique Crib and Doll-size Quilts with Patterns and Directions. Abrams, 1990. 143 pages. Book #1731. (This book shows photos of small antique quilts, paired with patterns and brief instructions for making modern versions.) [History, Crib Quilts, Doll Quilts]

Mazloomi, Carolyn L. Quilting African American Women’s History: Our Challenges, Creativity, and Champions. National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, 2008. 176 pages. Book #1661. (An exhibition catalog containing color photos of 101 quilts by 53 women and 3 men. The book opens with a history of African American quilting, and a profile of each contributor is included.) [Tags: History, African-American, Gallery]

Morris, Patricia J. The Judge’s Task: How Award-Winning Quilts Are Selected. AQS, 1993. 125 pages. Book #1513. (This book reveals the standards in design and workmanship that judges in quilt shows share.) [Tags: Reference, Show Quilts]

Nelson, Cyril I., and Carter Houck. The Quilt Engagement Calendar Treasury. Dutton, 1982. 272 pages. Book #0298. (A gallery of historic quilts taken from the 1975-1982 Quilt Engagement Calendars. Patterns for 21 of the quilts are given.) [Tags: History, Gallery]

Oshins, Lisa Turner. Quilt Collections: A Directory for the United States and Canada. Acropolis, 1987. 255 pages. Book #1508. (This book describes the quilt holdings in each state. Contact information for each location is included.) [Tags: History, Reference, Regional]

Paullus, Vickie, and Linda Pumphrey. Mountain Mist Blue Book of Quilts. N.P., 1996. 56 pages. Book #1976. (This book was written to celebrate 150 years of Mountain Mist batting and quilt patterns. The history of the company is given.) [Tags: History]

Safford, Carleton L., and Robert Bishop. America’s Quilts and Coverlets. Bonanza, 1985. 314 pages. Book #3161. (This historical survey of American quilts from the 1800’s through the early 1970’s discusses quilts in 15 categories and contains more than 500 photographs, mostly black and white.) [United States, History]

Simms, Ami. How Not to Make a Prize-Winning Quilt. Mallery Press, 1994. 48 pages. Book #0308. (Here the author tells about her mistakes as a beginning quilter.)

Tobin, Jacqueline L., and Raymond G. Dobard. Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad. Doubleday, 1999. 208 pages. Book #0703. (The premise of this book is that slaves in South Carolina used codes on quilts to guide escapees to safety.) [Tags: History]

Woodard, Thos. K., and Blanche Greenstein. Crib Quilts and Other Small Wonders. Bonanza, 1988. 136 pages. Book #0201. (This book, while it offers instructions for 13 classic crib quilts, is primarily a history of the crib quilt in the United States.) [Tags: Crib Quilts, History, Gallery]

Woods, Carolyn. Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter: An Illustrated Guide to the Space of Your Dreams. C&T Pub., 2011. 111 pages. Book #1919. (This 7 chapter book contains numerous ideas for banning clutter from the sewing studio, organizing fabric and supplies, studio design, and more.) [Tags: Reference, Organization]


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