Made by Bertha Neiden, Lincoln, NE
International Quilt Study Center, Gift of Max Neiden and Sylvia Jacobs, 2008.017.0001
March's Quilt of the Month comes from our newest exhibition, "Posing with Patchwork: Quilts in Photographs, 1855-1955," guest curated by Janet Finley, author of "Quilts in Everyday Life, 1855-1955: A 100-Year Photographic History."
Bertha Neiden of Lincoln, NE, made this 10,222-piece quilt between 1909 and 1914. Bertha was a seamstress at downtown Lincoln’s Miller and Paine department store, and the quilt’s wool fabrics may have been scraps from the custom clothing she sewed for the store. It also may have been from cloth she brought with her when she immigrated to the United States from Russia.
The quilt won a purple ribbon at the Nebraska State Fair in 1914.
Bertha Neiden was born Bayla Schuchman in 1888 in a Jewish village called Gorodish, near Kiev in Russia. When she was 21 she immigrated to Montreal, Canada, with her father and sisters and shortly thereafter moved to Lincoln, where some cousins were already living.
Bertha and her husband Louis raised their sons and daughter in Lincoln, and her children remember her teaching them the importance of quality clothing construction, telling them that “the inside should look as good as the outside.”
Clearly, Bertha was a perfectionist when it came to sewing.