Michigan Quilt Project
Michigan Quilt Project

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Mary Schafer Quilt and Ephemera Collection

Democratic Rose
Betty Harriman blocks, Mary Schafer finishing
1923, 1972
Bunceton, Cooper County, MO and Flushing, Genesee County, MI
Cotton with polyester filling
80 1/2" x 97 1/4"
MSUM# 1998:53.20
Photo by KEVA, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

Mary participated in numerous "round robins," the practice of swapping patterns with others through the mail. Through these exchanges of packages and letters, important friendships were formed and Mary became a part of an active network of quilters. Among Mary's correspondents were Joy Craddock of Dension, Texas, publisher of the 4J's; Glenna Boyd, publisher of Aunt Kate's Quilting Bee; Dolores Hinson, one of the founders of the National Quilt Association; and quilt historian Cuesta Benberry.

One of Mary's strongest friendships to grow out of the round robin exchanges was with Betty Harriman of Bunceton, Missouri. They never met in person, but their friendship flourished first through an exchange of letters and later through regular telephone converstations. The pair frequently worked on the same quilt design, each creating their own interpretation of a pattern. Following Betty's death in 1971, Mary purchased Betty's unfinished quilts and quilting ephemera from her family. Mary has completed at least sixteen of Betty's unfinished quilts. Bringing Betty's projects to completion continued Mary's tie to her friend.

By Mary Worrall from American Quilts from Michigan State University Museum

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