Marie Webster

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Marie Daugherty Webster (July 19, 1859 – 1956) was a quilt designer, businesswoman, and the author of the first American book about quilting, Quilts, Their Story, and How to Make Them, originally published in 1915, and reprinted many times since. The latest illustrated edition was published in 2009. Webster was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame in 1991.[1] Her residence in Marion, Indiana, United States, the Marie Webster House, is now home of the Quilters' Hall of Fame and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.


Webster's house in Marion

Marie Webster was born in Wabash, Indiana to Josiah and Minerva Daugherty. She married George Webster Jr. on Valentine's Day of 1884. Although Webster learned the art of fine hand sewing from her mother during her childhood and was a favorite pastime of hers, she did not start designing quilts until she was in her 50s.

For most of her adult life, Webster lived in Marion, Indiana. Her husband died in 1938. In 1942, Webster relocated to Princeton, New Jersey with her only child, Lawrence, and his family. She died in 1956 at the age of 97.


Marie designed dozens of quilts, and her patterns, all applique, are known for their beautiful, mostly floral designs, done in pastel colors.[2] These qualities made them unique at the time. She was inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 1900s.

The Ladies Home Journal (LHJ) printed her designs Pink Rose, Iris, Snowflake, and Wind-blown Tulip in the January 1911 issue.[3] LHJ followed with Poppy, Morning Glory, White Dogwood, and Sunflower in the January 1912 issue.[3] The August 1912 LHJ carried her baby quilt designs Pansies and Butterflies, Sunbonnet Lassies (also known as Keepsake), Daisies, Wild Rose, Morning Glory Wreath, and Bedtime.[3] The Journal also asked her to write articles about quilts. This exposure made her quilt patterns well-known and in high demand.

Quilts, Their Story and How to Make Them was published in October 1915 after Doubleday, Page & Co. hired Webster to research the history of quilting and pattern names. It was the first book ever published on American quilting and was reprinted in 1916, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1943, 1948, and most recently in 2009.[4]

After many requests for Webster's quilt patterns, she published a four-page pattern catalog entitled The New Patch-work Patterns. She founded her own business, The Practical Patchwork Company in 1921. The company consisted of Webster, her sister Emma, and friends Ida Hess and Evangeline Beshore. They packaged patterns, instruction sheets, and fabric swatches and shipped them out to places throughout the United States. The company also sold partially completed quilts.

For a time after the death of her husband in 1938, she did not create any new designs, and friends and associates ran the business.


Webster was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame in 1991. Her residence in Marion, Indiana, United States, the Marie Webster House, is now home of the Quilters' Hall of Fame and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.[5]

Her quilts are featured in museums around the world, in cities including Tokyo and Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Museum of Art holds the largest collection of her quilts in the U.S.[6]

Her book, along with two books of her patterns, have been re-published by one of her granddaughters, Rosalind Webster Perry. The 1990 edition includes a biography of Marie Webster, additional color photos, notes and a bibliography.[4][7]


  1. ^ Once Upon a Quilt. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  2. ^ "The Project Gutenberg eBook, Quilts, by Marie D. Webster". Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Merikay Waldvogel. "Marie Webster:The 20th Century's First Trendsetting Quilt Designer" (PDF) (Spring 2001). Vintage Quilts. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 22, 2006.
  4. ^ a b Marie Daugherty Webster (January 2, 2009). Quilts: Their Story and How to Make Them. Dodo Press. p. 180. ISBN 978-1-4099-1131-9.
  5. ^ "The Quilters Hall of Fame:Welcome!". Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  6. ^ "Textile and Fashion Arts". Indianapolis Museum of Art. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
  7. ^ Marie Daugherty Webster (January 2, 1990). Quilts: Their Story and How to Make Them. Practical Patchwork. p. 248. ISBN 0-9620811-5-9.

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