Online Collection

Memorial quilt by Ruth Buckhanan

Object Number: 2003.002.0001
Category: Artifacts
Type of Object: Quilt
Date: June 1966
Dimensions: 77 x 83 in. (195.6 x 210.8 cm)
Medium: Cloth
Quilt made by Ruth Buckhanan of Whitesboro, Texas, about 1966; quilted by Frances Harris. Ruth Buckhanan made and sold a number of these memorial quilts in the 1960s.

This almost-square quilt is made with a cream cotton-muslin background. An 8-point star occupies the center and most of the quilt top. There is an American eagle in each of the four corners of the quilt. The eagles each have one stick-on googly eye. In the center top section of the quilt is a red embroidered message: JFK BORN MAY 29, 1917. The center right section has this red embroidered message: INAUGURATED JAN. 20, 1961. The center left section has this message, also embroidered in red: DIED NOV. 22, 1963 DALLAS, TEX. The bottom center section says: BURIED WASH. D.C. NOV. 25, 1963.

The quilt edge is scalloped with red trim. The bottom left corner has two small embroidered red signatures: MADE BY RUTH BUCKHANAN MAY 1966. And "Quilted by Frances Harris June 1966."
Curator's Notes

From January to April 2012 this quilt was on display at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, in an exhibit titled, "Campaigns & Commemoratives: Quilts for Presidents." - Lindsey Richardson, Curator of Collections

For her entire life, Ms. Buckhanan lived in her family's home -- the same house where she was born in 1916 -- in Whitesboro, Texas, located approximately 70 miles north of Dallas.  After the Museum received one of her John F. Kennedy memorial quilts in 2003, I embarked with my colleague Arlinda Abbott on a roadtrip to meet Ms. Buckhanan and record her oral history (2003.001.0005). 

In addition to sharing her story of the Kennedy assassination, Ms. Buckhanan took the time to demonstrate her quilting technique and explain the process for those who might later watch the recording.  Although she rarely visited Dallas, she made a special trip to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in 2003 to see her quilt on display as part of a local "Quilt Mania" event coordinated by the Quilters' Guild of Dallas. - Stephen Fagin, Curator

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