Tag Archives: Library of Congress

Artistic Endeavors – Free to Use and Reuse

Bless the Library of Congress for making so much good stuff available. To quote from its website,

This page features items from the Library’s digital collections that are free to use and reuse. The Library believes that this content is either in the public domain, has no known copyright, or has been cleared by the copyright owner for public use. Each set of content is based on a theme and is first featured on the Library’s home page.

These sets are just a small sample of the Library’s digital collections that are free to use and reuse. The digital collections comprise millions of items including books, newspapers, manuscripts, prints and photos, maps, musical scores, films, sound recordings and more. Whenever possible, each collection has its own rights statement which should be consulted for guidance on use. Learn more about copyright and the Library’s collections.

I can’t add to that description, but will share some of the delights that appealed to me as I browsed the collections.

Japanese woodblock prints

Doesn’t it look like they’re wearing quilts?


Looks like inspiration for a modern quilt.

I never thought of costumes as Pennsylvania’s prime attraction.


Montana cowboys – the original Marlboro man?

Billie Holiday
Geo. Miles with an impressive ‘stache.
J. E. Hanger. I’d love to know why he wanted to show his prosthesis.

Covers and Miscellaneous

What a great font.

Love the art nouveau styling.

I think that lady better be careful of her foot. The axe wielder looks none too competent.

Word of warning, you can spend many hours poking around the Library’s offerings. And what’s shown on the Free to Use and Reuse Sets is a small fraction of what’s available. The digital collections contain thousands of items, some more esoteric than others.


Filed under Commentary

The Lands’ End Quilt Contest Quilts

To continue my gleanings from the Library of Congress Quilts and Quiltmaking Collection, I’ll share state and national winners I liked from the Lands’ End Coming Home contests held from 1992 to 1996. Most of the winning entries were show quality and demonstrated sophistication in materials and patterns.

According to an essay about this contest, “[i]n 1992, the Coming Home Division of Lands’ End Direct Merchants teamed up with Good Housekeeping magazine to sponsor an ‘All-American Quilt Contest.’ From the entries received, judges selected both a first prize winner from each state and a national winner. The contest was repeated in 1994 and 1996, under the theme “If Quilts Could Talk.” The 1994 winners were invited to submit short essays about their quilts, and in 1996, all entrants were invited to do the same.”

Dixie Haywood Dawn's Early Light Lands EndDixie Haywood is a master of the pineapple block, which she shows off in “Dawn’s Early Light.” It won best of Florida in 1992.

Therese Inverso Arabesque Lands End New JerseyTherese Inverso’s “Arabesque” won best of New Jersey in 1992 with a block she designed.

Coming Home Lands End Oklahoma“Coming Home,” Oklahoma’s 1992 winner by Charlene Kimball is completely different from the others I like. I can’t tell if it’s original or from a pattern. It’s kind of the opposite of the famous Saul Steinberg poster of NYC.

Linda Harshbarger Lands End AlabamaLinda Harshbarger won the 1994 Alabama contest with her original “Seize The Day.” I was taken with the asymmetrical placement of the sun.

Karen Smith Glowing Coils Lands End 1994 Judges ChoiceKaren Smith devised a paper piecing variation she called “Glowing Coils.” It won judge’s choice in 1994.

Marcia Lutz Victorian Kaleidoscope Lands End GeorgeMarcia Lutz designed “Kaleidoscope” to win the 1992 Georgia contest. It’s not my usual style, but I appreciate the attention to detail.

There are many more quilts to gaze at here.


Filed under Commentary

My Tax Dollars At Work

Note: This post had an accidental premature release. It now has pictures.

Thanks to my husband I found a government program I’m happy to fork over my tax dollars for – the Library of Congress’ Digital Collections. He stumbled across “Quilts and Quiltmaking in America, 1978 to 1996” while looking for something completely different.

The collection is described as follows: “Contains 181 segments from recorded interviews with quiltmakers and 410 graphic images (prints, positive transparencies, and negatives) from two collections in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: the Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1982/00) and the Lands’ End All-American Quilt Contest Collection (AFC 1997/011).”

I’ve been browsing the state and national winners of the Lands’ End quilt contest from the early 1990s. Many are traditional quilts, but a few are a bit edgier. I’ll show some of my favorites in my next post, but here I want to focus on the quilts from the Blue Ridge Parkway Project collection.

They represent an earlier period (up to 1978) and a different aspect of quilt making. Some were made to sell in craft shops but others were made for use or pleasure. The quilters lived along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina. Many were born before 1920 and learned to quilt with materials they had at hand. Some used polyester fabric which was widely available in the 1960s and 1970s as cotton was more expensive. Whatever you may think about quilts made with poly, they wore like iron.

All but one of the quilts shown below were made by Carrie Severt of Alleghany County, Virginia. I think her style is a precursor to the modern quilt movement, though I don’t think she was trying to make a statement.

Carrie Severt Star quilt topHere she is on her front porch with a quilt top and her laundry.

Carrie Severt Nine Patch Variation with BarsA nine patch variation with bars.

Carrie Severt Alleghany County VASeveral quilts with this block are shown in the LOC collection. It looks like a complicated drunkards path.

Carrie Severt String QuiltThis string pieced quilt could be entered in the next QuiltCon. I love how the dashed line fabric gives a sense of movement.

Elizabeth Smith Flower GardenI am sure Elizabeth Smith’s Flower Garden was hand pieced. I love how the pattern is occasionally obscured by the color choices. And that bright orange ruffled edge! Ms. Smith was not afraid of color.


Filed under Commentary