Sunburst

By Charlotte Winter

Index of American Design

National Gallery of Art

Florence Peto, the 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, owned this quilt. Like others she “discovered,” this quilt is attributed to Mary Totten 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.

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