CRAZY QUILT, 1875-1890
Women personalized their crazy quilts—which otherwise look very similar—by adding embroidered or appliqued motifs chosen for aesthetic reasons or to express their interests.
Helen Dounce included two popular sports in her “crazy”: the high-wheeled bicycle and roller skates. As she was in her late thirties to early fifties at the time she made the quilt, it’s unlikely she herself engaged in these sports. The high-wheeler was dangerous and mostly ridden by men.
Helen L. Dounce
67” x 72”
Gift of Virginia Mayo Herrick, 86.47
“District of Columbia … a fashionable roller- skating rink,” 1880
After Georgie Davis, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper
Library of Congress
Roller skating and bicycling were huge crazes, but skates were cheaper, while offering similarly thrilling speed. Roller skating rinks opened up in cities across America.