Florence Peto, Quilt Expert
Florence Peto (1881-1970) was a renowned quilt authority who played matchmaker between great quilts and museums, lectured with a flip-chart of patterns, and talked about quilts on WNYC radio shows. She owned the quilt that this rendering from the Index of American Design presents. The quilts pictured below are attributed to Mary Totten or her sisters of Staten Island. Esther Lewittes, a supervising artist and researcher for the IAD, worked closely with Peto to learn about geographic and temporal quiltmaking characteristics. Peto was not an official employee or consultant for the IAD, but she did seem to connect quilts in private hands to the New York City project. Eventually, Peto sold this quilt to the Coopertown Farmers’ Museum. Barbara Brackman has researched the quilts made by the Tottenville sisters, writing about them in a series of blog posts.