|Mountain Mist New York Beauty, c. 1930.|
|This 1880s pieced quilt is an early pattern variation.|
|Mountain Mist New York Beauty pattern, c. 1930|
|The history includes romanticized notions of the pattern's origins.|
|Pages 52-53 from "Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World's Fair" |
Rose Tekippe and her New York Beauty quilt
Pages 60-61 from "Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World's Fair"
Leila Rawls Porter and her quilt
|Chrysler Building, New York, completed in 1930|
Another significant event that boosted the name recognition of the New York Beauty was a cover feature in the April 1981 issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. The cover quilt was a Mountain Mist New York Beauty, c. 1935, from the collection of Bryce and Donna Hamilton of Minneapolis, Minnesota. According to Shelly Zegart's book "American Quilt Collections: Antique Quilt Masterpieces" the Bryce and Donna Hamilton collection included four best-of-kind nineteenth century examples of the pattern known as New York Beauty. Two of those appear in the Quilter's Newsletter article, which was penned by Louise O. Townsend.
If you haven't read the article, it's a must, because it includes much speculation about the pattern's origins and other enlightening commentary about the quilts. Here are a few snippets.
"Most existing examples of this classic American quilt design have been acquired by collectors and museums, and it is a rare treat to see one. Yet nearly all of us recognize the design when we see it because of the strikingly bold colors and intricate piecing. It is a dramatic design which commands respect- one that is hard to forget."
"...the New York Beauty has a very sketchy history. Although the pattern probably first appeared in New England in the early 1800s, there are examples as well as name and color variations during the 19th century which suggest that it moved quickly to the southeastern United States, and farther west to Texas."
"Most well-known examples of New York Beauty quilts date from the last century or the early 1900s, possibly because the intricate piecing and elaborate quilting that are so characteristic of this classic design require much time- a commodity that we are often lacking in our modern, fast-paced world."
"...the Stearns & Foster Company took its New York Beauty pattern from a red, white, and blue original which it dated from 1776."
"...whenever we see one in a museum or at a quilt show, the New York Beauty is truly awe inspiring and spectacular, and we are likely to pause for a long time to admire it. It was, and is, a masterpiece quilt pattern- an American quilt classic."
|1870s variation by Florence Caldonia Corley Shealy of Saluda County, |
South Carolina. No pattern name was passed along with the quilt's history.
|Quilt from the Shelburne Museum (left) and one from Mississippi (right)|
|Pages from Award Winning Quilts & Their Makers, AQS, Vol. 1 1985-1987|
In the 1990s, artists Karen Stone and Jean Wells were highly influential in revolutionizing the genre and promoting the New York Beauty's already widespread name recognition. An article called "New York Beauties" by Jean Wells appeared in the fall, 1992, issue of American Quilter; and Karen Stone's New York Beauty book was released in 1995. These artists introduced foundation piecing to the genre. During the remaining period leading up to today, there have been more books- Stone's "Karen K. Stone Quilts" (2004), which included the daunting Cinco de Mayo quilt; Valorie Wells' Radiant New York Beauties (2010); Linda Hahn's New York Beauties Simplified (2010); and Hahn's recently released New York Beauties Diversified (2013). All of these publications have promoted the name recognition of New York Beauty.
|Cinco de Mayo, 2008, by the Buda Bee Quilters, Texas|
|a variation from Kentucky made in 1868|
With the help of Beth Donaldson, the record was updated last week, and now includes a new full-view image and information about my ownership and previous owners. Although we know the name of the maker's family, we do not know the specific maker or what the maker called the quilt, so it is listed as an unknown pattern. In the record, it is noted that the pattern was later called Rocky Mountain Road, Crown of Thorns, and New York Beauty. When you search for any of the above names, the record will appear. The record includes one additional name, Kentucky Beauty. It's one of my nicknames for the quilt, because a picture of the quilt appeared in the book Kentucky Quilts. The name appears under "owner's name". Most often, I call it the MacMillan Family Quilt, because that's what it really is.
|an early variation, c. 1860, from Kentucky|
|A 1940s example with unusual Nine-Patch cornerstones|