In November of 1973 a group of
women from Contoocook Village, New Hampshire, got together to discuss the idea of their making a quilt which would portray
their twon and represent those people who serve the community daily--the
Doctor, Policemen, and Firemen. It was decided that the quilt would consist of 42 squares, each
one to be made by an individual who would choose the scene she
wished to depict, with
the services of artists available to those who needed it.
With three exceptions, each square shows places that are now in existence--either as they look today or as they looked in
By January, 1974, work had begun; the
method to be used in making the quilt was applied applique.
Each square has as its base a piece of white
cotton sheeting. Over this, colored materials of cotton, wool, silk, and felt were applied to make the desired picture.
the detail is done in crewel embroidery as well as in the basic embroidery
stitches; and all of the quilt is hand sewn, except for the border, which was machine-stitched to prevent stretching
when the quilt was hung. The entire quilt measures 109"x 94"
The women who worked on the Contoocook Village
Quilt varied from silver-haired ladies to two young people aged 15. Among the group were schoolteachers, businesswomen,
artists, a nurse, and young mothers. Some of them were long-time residents of the village; others were to new to
the community. Most had never done anything even remotely resembling applied applique.
Husbands and children took a great interest
in the project, and friends of the quilters sent materials and pictures and gave advice and encouragement. Each woman
wrote a short history of the scene depicted in her square, and this drew even more people to the quilt.
By mid-April, 1974, when every square
was completed, the quilt was assembled and hung in Bates Library in Contoocook, where it is currently on display from
1:00 to 8:30pm Tuesdays, and 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., and 1:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays.