Written in Thread: The Evolution of Quilting in the Bethel and Aurora Colonies
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According to current models, 19th century American quilts are presented as simple objects of cultural heritage or considered for their similarities to other forms of modern art. This thesis follows a three part approach in order to study these objects which are valuable sources of historical information in their full context. This approach includes the historical, social/aesthetic, and material contexts of the objects. The topic of the study is the quilts of the Bethel and Aurora colonies, 19th century Christian "utopian" sects in Missouri and Oregon. While societies such as the Bethel and Aurora colonies shunned many aspects of modernization, quilts appear to be an area of connection with the outside world. The quilts serve as material evidence for the tension between communal and secular worldviews in the colonies.