Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Emma Andres Collection

So, now, you know a little about Emma Andres.  And you are wondering why all of a sudden I am so interested in Emma.   I’ve either done the most marvelous thing or possibly the worst thing I have every done. 

I have loved Emma Andres from the very first time I heard about her from Laurene Sinema in 1990 when Janet Carruth and Laurene were having their article about Emma published in Uncoverings 1990.


You may know Emma Andres quilts, scrapbooks, artwork, and correspondence have been in the care of a family friend for the last 30 years. During seminar in Phoenix in 2016 Janet Carruth mentioned the caretakers might want to sell the collection. In May of 2017 I went to Prescott to visit with the family, just to find out more about the collection and discuss its future.  Did they really want to sell, did it need to go to a museum, and were they willing to sell some or part of the collection?  They very generously showed all of the quilts to me and my husband, Ralph.  I was surprised to learn, not only were there quilts they had many boxes of scrapbooks and notebooks stacked in the hallway that would go with the collection.  They shared the quilt appraisals Gail Van Hosen had done in Sept 2016.  That was pretty shocking to see the appraisal price.  It is always awkward to start the discussion of price and if they were willing to sell any of the quilts separately. They would not consider selling anything separately.  Believe me I tried, I just knew there was no way I could purchase the entire collection at the price they were expecting based on the appraisals. With my husband’s blessings we did make an offer that day.  Several days later we heard they refused our offer and presented what they wanted for the collection.  I began to think of ways to organize and raise $60,000! Time was a major factor with the family.  I called Laraine Jones at the Arizona Historical Society asking for advice about such a large collection.  My thoughts from the beginning were to get the collection somewhere it could be cared for and also the letters and scrapbooks be accessible for research. We discussed a few issues with such a huge collection. It seemed almost impossible on such short notice.  The organizing, the time, the energy, I just did not think I could make it happen.

But I do have the rescuer gene.  Just a good thing my passion is quilts and not animals. As with everyone, lots of other things were going on in our life at the time.  I really wasn’t looking for something else to do.  I am a quiltmaker and quilt collector, not a researcher, nor do I want to become one.  There is so much in the collection it is totally overwhelming!  But again, I felt a calling, that rescuer personality, maybe Emma, Florence Peto, Charles Pratt, Carrie Hall and Laurene Sinema were all together directing this into my hands.  That somehow I was the right person at the right time to make sure Emma and her quilts are not forgotten and can be enjoyed by many for many, many years. Of course I was discussing all this with my best friend, my husband, who appreciates and understand the importance of our history through quilts, especially our Arizona history.  It was totally his idea to purchase the collection ourselves.  We could borrow the money from our retirement account.  It was easy, fast and we would worry about how and what to do with the collection later. He did have to convince me, it was a lot of money!
When we went to Prescott to pick up everything  I had no idea what there really was.  There are 21 quilts total.  14 made by Emma, 4 quilts Emma got from Florence Peto, 1 quilt and 1 top made by Charles Pratt and 1 crazy quilt made by Emma’s mother. A trunk full of handmade dolls by Carrie Hall. Amazing.  Letters and correspondence from Carrie that fill one whole tub.  All of Emma’s ribbons and all of Charles Pratt’s ribbons, over 400.  Art work and paintings by Emma.  Letters from Boys Town and Father Flanagan, Emma was very religious.  So much research is in the boxes just needing to be in the right place for the research to happen.  That can’t happen if they stay in my closet.  It is really all too much for one person.


 

A few of the many topic for research in the Emma Andres Collection.


Emma and her quilts





Carrie Hall and her dolls




Florence Peto and the four quilts Emma acquired from her. Three of the quilts have been published.  This President Wreath Quilt was in Peto's 1939 Historic Quilts.  



Charles Pratt and other men quilters Emma corresponded with.  Many letters in the collection.  Including a metal box with over 400 ribbons won by Charles Pratt in 48 states for his quilts.





Ribbons and entries in the County Fair, controversy about the swastika at the state fair.




Joyce Gross and the Spinning Wheel Lady (Joyce somehow got the Florence Peto scrapbook from Emma and gave it to the LA County Museum of Art) road trip and research on this story. I have found out the LACMA has no record of the scrapbooks being donated by Joyce Gross.  Janet Carruth and Laurene Sinema saw these scrapbooks sometime around 1995. These scrapbooks hold valuable information on the 4 quilts Emma acquired from Florence Peto.

Emma’s artwork and paintings

Emma’s family, the cigar store in Prescott.  Emma’s mothers 1895 Crazy Quilt. 

Boys Town and Father Flannigan                                                             
Other religious experiences, yep there is a scrapbook of those with photos!

Emma's Happiness Museum and the people from all over the country who came to visit, found Albert Small listed in a guest register and a note that he loved Arizona and took home some cactus. 


And this list is just a few things from one scrapbook. The scrapbooks are mostly by subject. Maybe 10 others not including Carrie Hall and Fr. Flanagan.


Emma was a 2009 inductee in the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame.  In 2017 I submitted Emma’s name for consideration into The Quilters Hall of Fame in Indiana. 


As we learn more of Emma and her story, my desire is for her quilts to be seen by many. For her ephemera to be available for further research and her story to be told for all to hear.

2 comments:

  1. What a wonderful (and ongoing) story! This was and is a monumental task, and I admire you for seeing it through, right down to the financing. A plus is that it looks to have some systematic organization happening so you have good starting points for your vision. Congratulations, and thanks for your dedication to quilt history!

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  2. I love this series you've shared about Emma. She sounded like a fascinating woman. I'll keep an eye out for mentions of her in any ephemera I have.

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