04 April 2013

A Week in Topeka: The Countdown Begins!

I've always loved road trips, and I'm especially excited about the one I'll be taking later this month. Why? Well, for one thing, I won't be footing the bill! Not entirely, anyway.

It was around this time last year that I applied for the Edward N. Tihen Historical Research Grant, an annual award given to "non-academic" or "amateur" historical researchers by the Kansas Historical Foundation. This year's application deadline is coming up on April 15th, so if you think you could make good use of the collections at the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka, I strongly encourage you to apply!

I honestly had no idea what my chances were when I sent in my application. Had I talked myself out of applying, I wouldn't be looking forward to this trip.

The working title for my research project is Piecing Together a Kansas Woman's Community: The Regina Mills Chambers Signature Quilt as Historical Record. There's a picture of the quilt in the Kansas Memory collection, and if you enlarge the picture, you can see some faint handwriting on the white diamonds that make up part of the quilt's repeating Tumbling Blocks pattern.

Those are handwritten names, about 180 of them, and only two were recorded by the quilt's cataloger. In addition to all the names, some of the inscribed diamonds also have places, occupations, and years. Just think about all the genealogical information that could be gleaned from this artifact . . . are you getting goosebumps? If not, take some of mine!

Thirty days 'til I leave for Topeka . . . I can hardly wait.

Copyright © 2013, Madaleine J. Laird. All rights reserved.

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