Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Barbara Brents

Number of Pages



Quilting is a reflection of women's roles in the family. What happened to quilting between 1940 and 1970 is important to examine because it tells us much about the transformation of women from producers to consumers. In the twentieth century, quilts were increasingly replaced by mass produced blankets. While quilting literature has argued that quilting, for all practical purposes, ceased between 1940 and 1970, women resisted the change to consumerism by continuing to produce quilts and negotiating their use of mass production; The portrayal of quilting in magazines shifted from an integral role as thrifty and decorative to being almost superfluous to women's domestic roles. In practice however, women combined form and function in unique ways to rewrite their tasks of domestic production. Changing views of textiles as art and valuing creativity and personal expression placed quilts and quilters more firmly in the sphere of art by the 1960s, which created a broad support base for the 1970s revival; In the research, I used three sources of data. First, I use the Nevada Heritage Quilt Project to examine actual production. Second, I do a content analysis of magazine articles to examine how quilting was portrayed in popular culture. Third, I interview twelve women who were active quilters between 1940 and 1970. I combine these sources to analyze the social relations of American quilting from 1945 to 1970. Quilts reflected women's move from household manager in the 1940s and 1950s to personal expression in the 1960s. Women's production blended use value and aesthetics. Women treated mass production as an expanded choice for their quilting, rather than replacing quilts with purchased goods for gifts and maintaining family ties. This research provides a detailed examination of changes in women's roles, leisure, gender and art, and their intersection with mass production in the U.S. from 1945 to 1970.


Art; Commercialization; Context; Cultural; Gender; Quilting; Revivals

Controlled Subject

Social structure; Women's studies; Ethnology; Design


Higher Education

File Format


File Size

6983.68 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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