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Cool Things - The Garden Quilt

The Garden quilt by Josephine Hunter Craig

Josephine Hunter Craig was a top contender in the fiercely competitive quilting environment in Emporia, Kansas. This quilt is her masterpiece.

Along with other top Emporia quilters like Rose Kretsinger and Charlotte Jane Whitehill, Josephine Craig's quilts often swept state fair contests as well as captured national awards.

The Garden is one of the best examples of Craig's skill and artistry. Appliqued and quilted in Emporia in 1933, it was inspired by an 1857 version of the garden medallion which appeared in Ruth Finley's book Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them (1929). Finley called the garden medallion the "acme of the branch of art." These quilts became the standard of excellence for Emporia quilters, who were inspired to create their own medallion designs.

Friends Elizabeth Goering and Maud Leatherberry collaborated with Craig on the pattern and quilting for The Garden. Although Craig was a contemporary and competitor of well-known Emporia quilter Rose Kretsinger, Craig was a farm wife and therefore not in the same social circle which involved membership in the Garden Club and other city organizations.

Craig's version of the garden medallion won numerous local and national contests. In 1934, Hannah Haynes Headlee (herself an award-winning quilter) was one of the judges who awarded The Garden first prize in a national contest sponsored by Capper's magazine. It also captured First Place at one of the first national quilt contests, the Eastern States Exposition at Springfield, Massachusetts in 1936. Other honors for The Garden included first prizes at the Kansas Free and Kansas State fairs in Topeka and Hutchinson, respectively.

This spectacular quilt was donated to the Kansas Museum of History by Paul and Frances Carpenter of Kansas City, Kansas. Dr. Paul Carpenter is Josephine Craig's grandson.  Four other quilts by Josephine Craig also were donated to the museum by the Carpenters.

Entry: Cool Things - The Garden Quilt

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: May 2001

Date Modified: December 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.