Lebanon County Documentation Project

Lebanon County Quilt Documentation Project

The Lebanon County Quilt Documentation Project is an educational and historical outreach of the Lebanon Quilters Guild. From 2019 to 2022, the guild sponsored eleven documentation days around the county. The public was invited to bring quilts made before 1970 and share the known history of them. Over 500 quilts, tops, and comforters currently in the county, or made in the county, were brought to be recorded and photographed.

Records are held by the Lebanon Quilters Guild and the Lebanon County Historical Society. Additional detail photographs of most quilts are available there. Two historical organizations’ collections are included in the project:  Lebanon County Historical Society and Historic Schaefferstown, Inc.

Click Here to Visit the Quilt Index

and View the Quilts


The Lebanon County Quilt Documentation Project is ongoing, as we hope to preserve the county’s rich quilting history by documenting older (pre-1970) quilts, quilt tops, and comforters currently in the county or any pre-1970 quilt, top, or comforter made in Lebanon County regardless of its current location.

Most quilts made before 1970 have already changed hands at least once. We hope to capture their stories and those of their makers before that information is lost forever. Lebanon County has a varied and prolific quilting legacy that deserves to be preserved for future generations and quilt historians and researchers.

                                                                             Eligible Items

    Any quilt, quilt top, or comforter MADE BEFORE 1970

                 AND EITHER made in Lebanon County OR

                   currently owned by a county resident.

Upcoming Documentation Days–By Appointment Only:

To schedule an appointment:
Please email the guild President to schedule an appointment.

Check back periodically for additional days.

What to expect:

Bring your eligible quilts, tops, and comforters to any of our documentation days. Whether passed down through the family or acquired some other way, we welcome all pre-1970 quilts currently in the county and any quilt made in the county before 1970 regardless of where it now is located. The event is free and owner information will be kept confidential and not be part of the public record.

Please note NO monetary appraisals will be given on documentation days.

Your quilt(s) will be assigned a unique documentation number in our project. You will receive a cloth label with this number to attach to the back of your quilt. This label will direct future generations to seek the documentation records of the quilt.

You will be given the opportunity to consent to or decline being contacted later by Lebanon Quilters Guild regarding opportunities for your quilt such as inclusion in a book or quilt exhibit, or being further researched by a quilt historian or scholar.

One of our volunteers will record any information you have about the quilt’s history or maker on a Quilt History form. Or, if you prefer, print out the form to fill in beforehand and save time on the day of the event. Go HERE to view and print out the form.

Our volunteers and team of quilt historians will examine your quilt and identify its physical characteristics. You will learn much about your quilt including its approximate age, types of materials used in its construction, etc.

Your quilt will be hung on a stand to be photographed. This may be the first time you have seen your quilt hanging vertically and at a distance, rather than folded up or draped across a bed. You may be surprised at the colors and patterns that jump out at you.

At our exit table, we will ensure we have collected all the forms and information for your quilt. Quilt care information will be available for you to take home, and we will offer you the opportunity to have the documentation cloth label sewn to the back of your quilt before you leave.

What happens to the records?

All collected information will be compiled into a database and maintained by the Lebanon Quilters Guild. A copy (minus quilt owner names and personal information) will be archived by the Lebanon County Historical Society. In the future, we hope

to upload our files to The Quilt Index, a national repository of records of thousands of quilts.

In addition, a book featuring quilts we document is a possibility we are excited about. A community quilt exhibit may also be arranged to showcase Lebanon County’s wonderful quilts.

Tell me more…….

What is documentation?

Documenting includes a physical description of the item; its style, patterns, fabrics, colors, condition, quilting designs, batting type, binding type, construction methods, size, and much more are all noted. Any known history or stories of the quilt and its maker are recorded, such as chain of ownership, birth and death dates of maker, how s/he learned to quilt, whether the quilt was ever entered in contests, etc. Photographs are taken of the quilt along with any special characteristics it has. The gathered information preserves the histories and stories of quilts for future generations and is useful to those in various fields such as quilt studies, women’s studies, and folk art.

The history of documentation:

As the modern quilt revival of the 1970s gained momentum, quilt documentation projects began in the 1980s. Those who loved old quilts realized the need to gather information to understand what had come before and was being lost to time. Measuring, describing, and photographing thousands of old quilts provided data for understanding the development and movement of quilt styles and patterns in our growing country. Gathering the stories of quilt makers broadened our understanding of culture and quilt makers’ contributions to it.

To date, most documentation projects have been carried out at the state level. The exception is Pennsylvania, whose diverse and prolific numbers of quilts are instead documented at the county level. About two-thirds of the state’s counties have completed projects to date. We are eager to add Lebanon County’s data to what is known about Pennsylvania quilts.

I have questions….

Please contact the guild President.

Quilt Repair:

Do you have a quilt that needs repair?  Finally, there is someone in the area that will do this.
                   Roberta DeSantis
*leave message.  She will respond in a few days.