Merikay Waldvogel, one of the key players in the late 20th century quilt history revival, has served on the board of directors of both the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) and The Alliance for American Quilts (AAQ). She has been a key player in building The Alliance’s online Quilt Index. Waldvogel is a fellow of the International Quilt Study Center (IQSC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she has worked with graduate students and has built an important database of quit kits.
In 1983 Waldvogel began her collaboration with TQHF Honoree Bets Ramsey to co-direct the Quilts of Tennessee project through its mission of documenting the quilts of that state. Together they wrote the book Quilts of Tennessee: Images of Domestic Life Prior to 1930, and put together a traveling exhibit, one of many exhibits Waldvogel
has curated over the years. They later collaborated on the book Southern Quilts: Surviving Relics of the Civil War. In 2003, Rosalind Webster Perry and Waldvogel co-edited the first book of articles about the Honorees, The Quilters Hall of Fame.
In addition to serving quilt history organizations, Waldvogel is recognized as an expert on quilts of the twentieth century quilt revival. Her own book, Soft Covers for Hard Times: Quiltmaking and the Great Depression, is the key work on mid 20th century
quilts and quiltmaking. Her collaboration with 2001 Honoree Barbara Brackman on Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World’s Fair was a major contribution to quilt research. Her “Uncoverings” articles for AQSG were all groundbreaking research. Her latest book, Childhood Treasures: Doll Quilts By and For Children, highlights Lincoln, Nebraska quiltmaker Mary Ghormley’s extensive doll quilt collection.
By Karen B. Alexander, Quilt Historian
Photo courtesy Merikay Waldvogel
"What is it about quilts that makes them so alluring and enduring? This still-unanswered question has intrigued me ever since I bought that first anonymous quilt."