Lecture/Show-and-Tell: America’s Misunderstood Coverlet Weavers

Matthew Monk, PhD candidate, Department of History, University of Delaware

Jacquard-woven coverlets with figural designs from the nineteenth century can be found in almost every museum’s collection, but they are often overlooked, misinterpreted, and collected as artisan handicraft.

Matthew Monk, PhD candidate in history at the University of Delaware, will demonstrate that textiles are important artifacts and documentary evidence of America’s path toward industrialization. Many of the known coverlet weavers were not weavers at all, but rather early American entrepreneurs engaged in a system of regionalized investments in industrial production. These early American capitalists quickly and readily incorporated state-of-the-art technology and labor practices to produce decorative domestic textiles for regional clientele, remaining competitive with larger, urban industrial textiles until the start of the Civil War.

Rug and Textile Appreciation Mornings bring together textile experts and enthusiasts for a thematic show and tell of personal pieces. Free; no reservations required.