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