1966-1976. 100" x 102"
Collection of The State Historical Society of Iowa
Mary Pemble Barton was a fabric collector, respected quilt historian, and talented quiltmaker. She was born in 1917 in Indianola, a small town south of Des Moines, Iowa.
She began "Heritage Quilt" in 1966 to pay tribute to her ancestors and their 19th century journey to settle the country.
Her quilt holds in fabric symbols of the pioneer life. Women walking among quilt blocks, men with the tools needed to settle the wilderness, covered wagons like those that carried Mary's family, all moving in a westward direction.
In one corner is a map detailing the route Mary's ancestors took across the country to reach their final destination on the plains of Iowa.
Another corner has an inscription of family names, dates and places of migration. The center of the quilt reflects the central values attributed to those pioneers, love of god and love of country, symbols of freedom to attend the church of their choice and the emblem of their new homeland.
Some 30 years later, at the age of 82, Mary wrote that she still looked back on that quilt with pride and joy.