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New exhibit features quilt from 1908

The latest in a series of quilt exhibits at the History Museum of East Otter Tail County features a quilt with a unique and somewhat mysterious history.

The quilt top includes 12 embroidered squares with the names of women, the date 1908, and the place, Butler, Minn. Four of the women - Martha, Pamela, Etna and Elsie - were members of the Pierce family, the first settlers to homestead in Butler Township. The other names include Myrtle, Edith, Margaret and Lottie Woods, Mrs. J.L. Kimball, Mrs. George Kimball, Maude Rader and Anna Hendrickson.

The quilt blocks are all done in what was called redwork, a hugely popular style in the last years of the 1890s and in the first part of the 1900s. The reason for its popularity was that red dyes had finally become stable enough that they could be combined with snow-white fabric without having to worry about the red fading or bleeding on the white when it was washed. The 1908 date on the blocks puts this quilt at the height of the redwork craze.

The designs on the blocks are popular patterns and motifs that were readily available in the ladies magazines of the day and include many symbols of good luck.

Whether this quilt was given for a wedding or a going-away present, no one knows.

Dorothy Roes has loaned the quilt for this exhibit. Vicki Wendel has conducted extensive research on the quilt and the names embroidered on it; Ruby Woods of Glendive, Mont., has provided additional family history.

The museum is located at 230 1st Ave. N., Perham and is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m.

Admission is free. For more information call 346-7676 or visit