Thursday, December 30, 2021

Three Related Missouri Quilts & a Fifth


Well, I thought I was finished with the comparison of three stuffed work
quilts with swag borders and the links to Missouri.

American Museum of Folk Art

To say nothing of a fourth with a link to the enslaved Morton sisters in Russellville, Kentucky.
Then I came across this stuffed work quilt with a swag border in the collection
of the National Museum of American Art/Smithsonian.

Impressive stuffed work, a sampler of images, two patriotic.

The old black and white photos show the quilting.

It's been in the collection for quite a while and the only information
they have in the digital file is that it was a gift of Stewart Dickson.
Where was it made, by whom????

Stewart Dickson (1902-1977)

A little poking around found that Stewart Dickson was a librarian in the Library of Congress. Many history books mention his assistance in the acknowledgements. He was a musician, an organist, who originally specialized in the music department when he began working there in the '20s. He was an only child who never married so we might assume this quilt and another he donated were from his family.

He also donated this impressive mosiac quilt, again no information.
(As a librarian he might be frustrated to find no records!)

I did a post on similar quilts last year, guessing that the maker of Stewart Dickson's
mosaic quilt was from Kentucky or Missouri.

And my guess may have been correct. Stewart was born in Texas. His father was an Army chaplain so Anna Stewart & Thomas J. Dickson may have had few Texas roots but happened to be stationed there when he was born. 

Family Search

According to the 1870 census Thomas Dickson was born in Missouri in 1868 to James and Susan Dickson. Susan was born about 1834 in Kentucky. I wouldn't be surprised if these were Susan Dickson's quilts. Her maiden name may have been Dietle as many social notes tell us Mrs. James Dickson was visiting her mother Mrs. John Dietle (various spellings) in Huiskamp in Marion County.

In 1917 Susan had a quilting party of sorts where they tied
a comforter or two in Huiskamp. A guest was her mother Mary Elizabeth Dietle.

In 1870 and '80 Susan was living in Liberty Township in Marion County, eastern Missouri north of Hannibal; the communities are so small they didn't make the map. 

In 1876 Susan Dickson won first (of two) in the worsted quilt category at the local fair.
This may be the mosaic quilt. Quilts seem to have been a part of her life.

Back to the applique: Three Missouri locations for stuffed-work quilts with swag borders.

There are many coincidences here. If you will recall the first two quilts (LACMA's & the Texas quilt) are attributed to Margaret (Marguerite) Wright Dickerson of Missouri. Dickerson, Dickson....

The third quilt in the DAR Collection is associated with the Poindexter family in Cooper County. Do note in the 1880 census that the Dicksons live adjacent to a Black family headed by William Munday. His wife Peggie Munday's mother is Julia Poindexter. The white Poindexter family is associated with African-American Poindexters in Cooper County.

If you are inspired to make a quilt like Susan Dickson's Mimi Dietrich has patterned the
quilt she calls Chesapeake Rose in her book Quilts from the Smithsonian.

Suggestions for further research:

Look at origins of all quilts one can find with this kind of impressive stuffed work quilting: sampler of images, some patriotic.

More genealogy work in Missouri and Kentucky, particularly Logan County.

More work on needlework curricula in Kentucky boarding schools.


  1. I love your blog! You are a true mentor to so many, especially me!

  2. Very interesting. Your research on these is amazing and I so enjoy reading your posts Happy New Year!

  3. Barbara thank you so much for your research. You find the most interesting things to share!