Designer and successful businesswoman Anne Orr developed a worldwide reputation for sophisticated needlework patterns and accurate instructions. In 1917, the Nashville Banner described Anne Orr as “a pioneer in the application of art to everyday life. No longer does art consist of pictures and statuary for the privileged few. Many of the simplest and least expensive articles of household usage have been made artistic and attractive.”
In 1921, Anne became needlework editor of Good Housekeeping Magazine, a position she held for the next twenty years. From Nashville, Tennessee she contributed a monthly column about needlework, and readers ordered patterns from the magazine’s New York offices. In the 1920s, her needlework articles featured crochet, cross stitch, embroidery, knitting, needlepoint, and tatting, reflecting her personal interests as well the popular needle arts of the time.
At the end of the 1920s she took note of the revival of quiltmaking and added some traditional quilt patterns to her needlework offering. By 1932 she had introduced modern designs to tempt contemporary women who may not have considered quilting as a hobby. Her line of pieced patterns reminiscent of cross-stitch became her trademark in quilt design.
Anne Orr died unexpectedly on October 29, 1946. Her daughter kept the Anne Orr Studio open until the mid-1950s, and one granddaughter maintained the Orr pattern copyrights after the business closed.
Photo courtesy of J. Scott Grigsby
“Do your best in workmanship, design, and careful selection of color, so that the finished article will justify any work and be an heirloom to hand down for generations”
“The Story of Storrowton and Its Quilt Contest,” Good Housekeeping Magazine, Pamphlet No. A-5300 (no date)