|Why do people live in neighborhoods?|
Neighborhoods consist of houses, as well as stores, schools, hospitals, churches, fire and police stations, and other civic buildings. By having these services nearby, people can help their neighbors and get their own needs met at the same time.
What Primary Sources Can Tell Us about Where We Work and Live
Primary sources provide a wealth of information about peoples’ homes, places of employment, and places that provide service.
A Homemade Quilt
Mrs. Bill Stagg with her state quilt in Pie Town, New Mexico
In 1992, 1994, and 1996, Coming Home, the linens and home-decorating division of Lands’ End, Inc. teamed up with Good Housekeeping magazine to sponsor an All-American Quilt Contest. The rules for the contest specified that quilts must be of an original design or an original interpretation of a traditional pattern, and no quilts made from kits would be considered. From the entries received, judges selected both a first prize winner from each state and a national winner. Rosemary Bawn, the Massachusetts State Winner said of her entry, “when I read of the 'All American Quilt' Contest, I wanted to picture the 4th of July in Hometown, USA. Somehow, yellow ribbons from Desert Storm found their way into my quilt also." Marianne Webb of Georgia won the contest that year. Her quilt and the quilts of the other contest winners were donated to the American Folklife Center by Lands' End in 1997. Contest winners used a variety of designs and fabrics to sew images of American symbols, our country’s landscape, and our nation’s diverse culture.
Aerial view of a housing development
A Short History of Quilting
Quilting consists of sewing two layers of fabric together with a filling (usually cotton) between them. Since the resulting product can be used for decorative purposes alone or to create bed coverings, pillows, or clothing, quilting is considered both a craft and an art form. One of humanity’s oldest crafts, quilts existed in ancient Egypt, China, India, Russia, and Mesoamerica. Women of early America became known for their patchwork quilts—quilts made from patches or scraps of fabric. According to one source, patchwork quilts covered three-quarters of the beds in the United States by 1883. Once inexpensive machine-made bed coverings became available, however, fewer people in the early years of the twentieth century bothered making patchwork quilts. Quilts made a comeback during the Great Depression when people started sewing again to save money. The craft enjoyed another revival in the early 1970s as America’s bicentennial celebration of the Declaration of Independence neared. Quilting remains a popular hobby for many people.
Creating Quilts of “Hometown, USA”
1. Share with the children the picture of the homemade quilt. Ask the children if they know what this item is, how it was probably made, and where you can usually find others like it. Add to the children’s knowledge of quilting in general and this one in particular, as appropriate, using the information provided above
2. Tell the children, that according to the woman who made the quilt, her goal was to show “Hometown, USA” on the Fourth of July. Then ask:
3. Tell the children that the woman who made this quilt gave it the name “Homefront Close-Up.” Explain that, during a time of war, the “front” is what people call the battle zone where soldiers are fighting. The “home front” is where the soldiers’ families are, back home. This quilt was made in 1991 when Americans were involved in a conflict called the Persian Gulf War. Read to the children the words that are sewn along the quilt’s edges. Be sure the children understand generally what all these words mean.
4. If possible, distribute an enlarged copy of the quilt to each child along with five circles of construction paper that they can use to glue over the five circles on the quilt. Then have the children draw their own pictures of “Hometown, USA” on their construction paper circles to cover the five that are shown. (As an alternative, have the children glue pieces of origami paper to a larger sheet of construction paper to create their own “quilts.” Then provide the children with circles on which they would draw their own “Hometown, USA” images.)
5. Display the children’s completed “Hometown, USA” quilts on a classroom bulletin board.
Additional Primary Sources
Image credits: a. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division: LC-DIG-fsac-1a34106; b. David Buffington/Getty Images