Picture of author.

Barbara Brackman

Author of Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns

43 Works 1,837 Members 20 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: via Moda Fabrics

Works by Barbara Brackman

Encyclopedia of Applique (1993) 145 copies
Kansas Quilts and Quilters (1993) 74 copies
The Dog in the Picture (2002) 6 copies
Kansas Trivia (1997) 5 copies
The Cat in the Picture (2003) 2 copies
Blockbase 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Barbara Brackman
New York, New York, USA
Places of residence
New York, New York, USA (birth)
Lawrence, Kansas, USA
University of Kansas (BA|art education|1967)
University of Kansas (MA|Special Education}1974)
quilt historian
fabric designer
American Quilt Study Group
Awards and honors
Quilter's Hall of Fame (2001)
Short biography
Brackman is best known for her Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns (1979), which identified 4216 pieced quilt patterns, and Encyclopedia of Applique (1993), which identified 1795 appliqued quilt patterns. Both books are based on quilt collections and published sources from roughly 1800 to 1970. These books have also been released in electronic form under the title BlockBase (DOS version in 1995, Windows version in 2000). Clues in the Calico, published in 1989, was one of the first studies to use an anlaytic approach to identifying vintage quilts and other textiles on the basis of their color and design attributes. Brackman has also been active in debunking the fanciful myths surrounding the so-called "underground railroad quilt code".



Amazon description: Quilt historian Barbara Brackman offers a beautiful sampler quilt reminiscent of the Civil War in The Kansas City Star's 2007 blockof the month project. Each block is dedicated to a woman whose life was touched by the conflict on the Kansas/Missouri border.
Q.U.I.L.T._Inc. | Aug 19, 2021 |
Beautiful revamp of a classic. Color diagrams
TeriLB | Dec 7, 2020 |
Barbara Brackman is one of my favorite quilt historians and bloggers. I love how she combines history, genealogy research, quilting and women's work, and women's history in her research.

Her newest book, Divided Hearts , arose from her free block of the month patterns on her Civil War Quilts blog.

Inspired by friendship quilts created between 1840 and 1861, Brackman focuses on women with 'divided hearts', Northern women living in the South, and Southern women educated in the North, or with families divided by the Civil War.

The twelve blocks represent the most popular pieced quilt designs of this time, frequently found in friendship quilts. The blocks are presented in 12" and 8" sizes. The patterns include patterns for inked signatures.

Blog followers who participated in sewing the blocks and completing the quilt are represented in the book. The variety of interpretations is broad, from reproduction fabrics reflecting those of the mid-19th c. to the use of contemporary fabrics with a modern vibe.

Brackman is a premier quilt historian who created the first collections of existent pieced and applique quilt patterns. Her knowledge on quilt history is outstanding. But she goes further with her deep research into the women who made quilts or owned quilts.

In Divided Hearts, readers learn about twelve women's lives that spanned the divide. Photographs and maps accompany the biographies. History comes alive through these women. Resources are given for those who want to 'read more'.

*Indiana Fletcher, from a Yankee family who moved to the South. Wandering Lover quilt block
Mary Lyon and Mount Holyoke. (Emily Dickinson attended Mount Holyoke briefly.) Lend and Borrow quilt block
*Constance Fenimore Woolson, a Northern girl who attended school with Southern girls. Friendship Star quilt block.( Read my review a biography of Woolson by Anne Boyd Rioux here.)
*Sarah Powell Leeds, a Quaker teacher. Quaker Pride quilt block
*Charlotte Forten Grimke' was the daughter of a Freeman. Charlotte married Rev. Francis J. Grimke. Francis's father was brother to Angelina and Sarah Grimke, plantation born women who became Quakers and abolitionists. His mother was Nancy Weston, Henry's slave mistress. Cross and Crown quilt block. (I first read about Charlotte in Lift Up Thy Voice: The Grimke Family's Journey from Slaveholders to Civil Rights Leaders by Mark Perry.)
*The Petigru Sisters, Southern women who went to school in the North. Mary Petigru Chestnut and Sue Petigru King had a contentious relationship. Mary Chestnut's diary is quite famous. Madame's Star quilt block
*Caroline Russell Seabury, a New England educator who taught in the South. Chimney Sweep quilt block.
*Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt, Teddy's beloved mother. The Southern Bullochs summered in the North. Southern Cross quilt block.
*Mary Ann Todd Lincoln was born in Kentucky and her family were Confederates. Lexington Belle quilt block
*Elizabeth Keckley and Anna Burwell. Keckley was a servant in the Burwell household. She became Mary Todd Lincoln's dressmaker and trusted friend. Carolina Lily quilt block.(I first read about her in Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly : The Remarkable Story of the Friendship Between a First Lady and a Former Slave by Jennifer Fleischner.)
*Emily Wharton Sinkler was the daughter of a Philadelphia lawyer who wed a Southern man. Double Star quilt block
*Emma Willard and her 'every-widening circle' is represented by the This and That quilt block.

Each block includes instructions and examples. Various settings are offered: straight setting; alternating with double nine-patch blocks; on-point with sashing and applique; on-point with pieced border; on-point as a wall hanging of five blocks. A Gallery of finished quilts completes the book.

Quilters will have fun making the quilt their own. You don't have to be a quilt maker to enjoy reading the history and biographies of these amazing women.

Read Brackman's blog post about her book at


I was given a free egalley by the publisher. My review is fair and unbiased.
… (more)
nancyadair | May 15, 2020 |


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