Quilt historian to speak on antique textiles from Civil War era

Ellis Bennett

In conjunction with the exhibit, “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” which is on display at George Memorial Library from February 23 to April 4, Fort Bend County Libraries will present a special program, “History of Civil War Quilts,” on Saturday, March 2, beginning at 2:00 pm, in the Meeting Room at George Memorial Library, 1001 Golfview in Richmond.

The program is presented by Ellis Bennett, an award-winning quilter who has appraised, restored, conserved, and hand-laundered quilts. In this presentation, Bennett will discuss the history of quilts during the U.S. Civil War years. Learn about popular quilt designs, styles and colors during that era, as well as differences seen in quilts of the South versus those of the North. Bennett will also talk about quilt-making and usage during the war, quilts made specifically for men engaged in the war, and the use of quilts by slaves on the Underground Railroad. Her extensive collection of antique textiles from the Civil War era – including quilts, quilt tops and quilt blocks – will be on hand to illustrate various points during the presentation.

A retired school teacher, Bennett began a second career in quilting by opening her own business, in which she served as a consultant on quilts, evaluating their authenticity and repairing, restoring, and preserving the antique textiles. Arthritis has limited her hands-on work with quilts, but she continues to give talks on the history of textiles, particularly quilts and aprons. She has sewed most of her life, but only started quilting about 20 years ago. Her quilts have won many awards in the Waco Quilt Show, including the “Best Machine Quilting” Award. One of her quilts was even displayed at the American Quilter’s Society Quilt Show in Nashville. She was a member of the Homespun Quilter’s Guild in Waco for many years, serving as president, treasurer, and committee chairman for five Waco Quilt Shows. While in Waco, she was also a member of St. Louis Quilts from the Heart, a church group making charity quilts for Providence Hospital. She currently resides in Katy, where she happily dotes on her first grandchild.

Those attending the program are invited to tour the exhibit, Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, which is on display in the Bohachevsky Gallery in the lower level of George Memorial Library. Drawing on recent scholarship, this exhibition encourages a deeper understanding of Lincoln’s life, policies, and accomplishments.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call the library’s Public Information Office at 281-341-2677.

About the Exhibit
Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, a traveling exhibition for libraries, was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The traveling exhibition has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

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