These Small Endearments were made not just to cover and delight that one small child, but to carry a portion of the quiltmaker's best self to another generation... Sandi Fox
"Small Endearments" by Sandy Foxis a unique history book in that it specifically addresses quilts made for children. Although the book is out of print both editions are still available and can easily be found through Amazon and other book dealers.
I would suggest you buy the second edition as it includes more recent research and additional information including a chapter on early chintz quilts. The newer edition also has larger full color photographs and additional pictures including close ups of motifs on some of the quilts.
This book tells the story of children and their quilts during the nineteenth century, a time when children began to be valued in a way that was not possible during earlier centuries.
Better medical care and the Industrial Revolution lessened the struggle for survival giving parents time to focus on their children. This is not to say life was easy and the mortality rate of children was still high compared to today's standards
Starting around the beginning of the century the role of mothers gradually changed. A mother was expected to not only care for her children's physical needs but to educate them as is fit for a citizen of the United States. By 1930 she had plenty of help as much was written on exactly how this should be do. One of the ways a child could be nurtured was to make a baby or child's quilt giving both warmth and beauty.
Sandi Fox takes a fascinating approach when looking at the styles and patterns used for children's quilts. She shows us how these quilts reflect 19th century life from the baskets used to hold and carry to the forests and animals surrounding rural homes. Events also inspired quiltmakers resulting in themes like the pioneer log cabin and patriotic flag quilts. Literature also has a profound influence on children's quilts.
Both editions of this book have plentiful pictures that illustrate these various quilts.
The book has no patterns but there is information on how quilts from this period were made including the fabrics used and details on how the quilts were constructed. If you love making reproduction quilts these techniques along with the pictures in the book can be the basis for making a historically accurate child's quilt.
This is a great book for anyone who enjoys learning about the history of everyday women's lives and their dedication to their children. Amazon has links to resellers for both the first edition and the second edition. In the case of the second edition there are even new copies available.