Michigan Quilt Project
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The Cuesta Benberry Quilt and Ephemera Collection

W.P.A. Tulip
Minnie Benberry
63" x 74"
MSU Museum Accession 2008:119.3, Gift of George Benberry
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved by MSU Museum

Minnie Benberry was Cuesta’s mother-in-law. During the Great Depression, the government hired artists and craftspersons to make quilts as a part of the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.). Cuesta discovered that a W.P.A. social worker working in rural western Kentucky gave this quilt’s tulip pattern to quilters in the region. The farm families, scattered over a wide area, were unaware that other families had received the same pattern. When the women gathered in the spring at the churchyard to quilt their tops they were surprised that they each had used the same pattern. They decided to name the pattern “W.P.A. Tulip.”

By Mary Worrall, from the exhibit Unpacking Collections: the Legacy of Cuesta Benberry, An African American Quilt Scholar

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