|View in a Nutshell
Patricia L. Cummings is a prolific quilter, needleworker and writer. Since 1999 Pat's column "Pieces of the
Past" in The Quilter magazine has offered articles about antique quilts, museum collections and directions
for making either her own designs or reproductions of quilts she has collected! More articles are in the
works! She has been published countless times in publication venues, worldwide, including but not limited
to: Fabric Trends, Scrap Quilt Favorites, Country Handcrafts, Miniature Quilts, Patchwork Tsushin,
Civilian.Conservation Corps Legacy Newsletter, UnRavel the Gavel newspaper, The Appliqué Society
Newsletter, etc. and her historical research is cited in the books and research reports of other authors.
Known for her love of Redwork Embroidery and its History, she wrote three books on that subject, In
addition, her other books include one about quilt care, display and storage; two biographies, and an in-depth
reference catalogue of quilts in a museum collection (unpublished). One of the biographies features the life
story of her father, founder of what is now called "Granite State Credit Union" as well as 16 other credit
unions in New Hampshire. Her latest book Sweetheart & Mother Pillows is a landmark, one-of-a-kind book
that provides an overview of collectible military textiles.
Pat loves to share information about quilts, embroidery and printed textiles, based on a lifetime of interest in
needlework of all kinds. She enjoys singing and playing guitar, preferring folk music, and she writes poetry,
short stories and journalistic non-fiction articles. She is a former classroom teacher of Spanish and a
grandmother of two! Her son, James Patrick Gorham, is an Adjunct Professor who teaches English
Literature at the University of Rhode Island and in December 2013, he passed all the requirements for a
Ph.D. degree (to be officially awarded in May 2014).
Patricia Cummings in a photo taken by Ken Williams
for The Concord, Monitor newspaper in 2000
A More Detailed Summary
Patricia graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1973 with honors. She was awarded a B.A.
degree in Spanish, having earned 48 credits in her major, whereas only 32 credits were actually needed to
fulfill degree requirements. Her minor, as well as graduate work, was in the field of Education. In 1972-73,
she studied at the University of Navarra, a small Catholic university, nestled in the rainy mountains of
Pamplona, Spain. There she studied the History of Spanish Art, Spanish Architecture, and German and
earned a certificate of sobresaliente (A+) for her work.
At the University of New Hampshire, her studies included courses in the History of Latin America, as well
as a graduate level course about the History of Spain, taken as an undergraduate. These supplemented her
Spanish language courses in conversation, culture and civilization. On the night that she was inducted into
Sigma Delta Pi, the national collegiate society to honor Spanish scholars, she had the privilege of meeting
Jorge Luis Borges, a famous writer from Argentina who flew in from that country for the special occasion.
Before becoming a full time studio quilter, and a professional writer on topics of quilt history, she taught
Spanish at the college level, and substitute-taught English, History, Spanish, and Science in grades K-12.
Here and there, she has done a lot of teaching, including instruction in English As A Second Language for
Spanish medical students, as a private group tutor, with classes held at the University of Navarra.
Pat has taught private quilting classes and has given classes for quilt guilds and Community Education. She
has provided talks for museum groups and historical societies since 1991, In the year 2000, she was
certified as a "master craftsman in quilting" by the Embroiderers' Guild of America, after 9 years of
working toward the goal. She has served as a quilt show judge. In 2001, Pat participated in a distance
learning class, "History of Quilts" at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Pat's 355 page biography of NH quilt historian, Ellen Emeline Hardy Webster (1867-1950), is offered for
sale as an e-book on CD-ROM.
Patricia is a member of the American Quilt Study Group, The National Quilting Association, The Appliqué
Society, the Smithsonian, the New Hampshire Historical Society, and The Association of Historical
Societies of New Hampshire, and has lent support to many other institutions and museums over the years.
An article from the Concord Monitor (Concord, NH), Mar 5 2009:
"E-book pieces together quilt history - Decades ago, one woman worked to
Concord Monitor (NH) - Thursday, March 5, 2009
Author: SARAH M. EARLE ; Monitor staff
In the ubiquitous quilt of the 19th century, Ellen Emeline Webster saw something worth saving. Using
fabric, paper and paint, she created extraordinarily detailed charts preserving the patterns she found on
quilts all over New England and beyond.
Nearly six decades after her death, Patricia Cummings has picked up where Webster left off. Her 355-page
e-book, on sale through the New Hampshire Historical Society, is part biography, part quilt history and part
loving homage to a fellow quilt enthusiast.
"Quilt history is a relatively new field. It's really just taken off in the last 20 years," said Cummings , a
certified master quilter and creator of the website quiltersmuse.com. "The highlight of all this for me is to
recognize that a woman in Franklin, New Hampshire, was so far in the forefront . . . in the study of quilts."
Cummings, of Concord, discovered Webster's charts in 1994 when she was doing volunteer work for the
Historical Society. "Someone who was a curator came into the room where we were working, and had one
of Ellen's charts, and said, 'What do you make of this?' " Cummings said.
Intrigued, Cummings got permission to peruse the rest of the charts, which she learned had been donated
to the society in 1968 and kept in storage since then.
All told there were 200 quilt designs, constructed from cloth, wallpaper and paint, and mounted on heavy
paper of various sizes.
"There's no one I know of that made quilt charts in the way that she did, by actually applying fabrics or
paint or wallpaper to re-create the designs," Cummings said. "This is a very special collection that the
Historical Society has."
Cummings noticed that many of the charts appeared to have been trimmed with scissors and began
wondering what Webster had used them for. A trail of phone calls led her to Webster's nephew, who
brought her photos, diaries and other items he'd saved.
Cummings learned that Webster was a prominent member of the Franklin community during the late 1800s.
A former college professor and wife of a local dentist, she was a nature lover and prolific writer. Her
passion for quilts took her all over New England, New York, Illinois, South Dakota and Virginia, and she
used her charts to conduct lectures around the region (hence the trimming).
Many of the quilts had stories of their own. One was made by Lucy Hutchins Webster, the daughter of
Colonel Gordon Webster, who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill under Gen. John Stark. Another was
made by Reliance Phineas Jones, a descendant of Plymouth Plantation founder William Bradford.
Others had less auspicious roots. One was found in a grandmother's secret drawer in her bureau. Another
had been used as armchair stuffing, and a third hung in the front of a shed door for 40 years.
Like Webster, Cummings saw the value of preserving long-forgotten bits of history. A regular contributor
to The Quilter magazine, she didn't believe a magazine article was enough to commemorate and
complement Webster's work. So she got to work on the book, enlisting her husband, James, as
photographer. The voluminous work ultimately came out as an e-book on a deceptively slim CD.
"One bit of information leads to another. It's just a historical trail that never ends," Cummings said. "I know
more about history by being a quilt historian than I ever would have known otherwise."
Ellen Emeline (Hardy) Webster (1867-1950), Her Amazing Quilt "Charts," Her Writings, and Her Life can
be purchased for $24.95, plus shipping, by contacting Patricia Cummings at email@example.com or
through the New Hampshire Historical Society's gift shop at nhhistory.org. For more information on the
book, visit quiltersmuse.com.
Jim Cummings in a recent photo taken while hiking in the White Mountains
James Cummings serves as the official photographer for Quilter's Muse Publications. His photos have
appeared in a number of books and publications. "Jim" loves to read, especially about history. Although he
first began studying Botany and Forestry at the University of NH, before being called into the U.S.
Army,most of his academic training is in Behavioral Science and he has spent s lifetime working in various
institutions related to human services. At home, he gardens, does woodworking, and loves to cook, He
writes a blog called "Vintage Cookery." We love living in New England and enjoy its rich history, natural
beauty and the change of seasons.
2013. Patricia and James Cummings, Quilter's Muse Publications, Concord, NH. firstname.lastname@example.org