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African American Quilts in the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Collection

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s textile collection includes examples by many leading African American quiltmakers. Thirteen of these quilts were collected by Ella King Torrey (1957-2003), an innovative and dynamic arts leader in Philadelphia and San Francisco, who had a long-standing interest in popular culture and folk art. While a graduate student at the University of Mississippi she became especially interested in African American quiltmaking. Her research and fieldwork included extensive interviews of two of the quiltmakers included in this resource guide: Sarah Mary Taylor and Pearlie Posey.

A number of these quilts were included in the exhibition Quilt Stories: The Ella King Torrey Collection of African American Quilts and Other Recent Quilt Acquisitions, August 2008 through February 2009.

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