Domestic Affairs: Jack Handford Award & Linda Baumgarten at the de Young

Pieced quilt top fragment, England, 1700–1730, silks and metallic threads over earlier paper templates. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation via

There are many great changes afoot here at Worn Through. While we are sad to see some of our contributors leave, it is exciting to bring in new voices and perspectives, and all the changes have enabled us to notice a gap in our coverage: namely those fashion and dress studies events happening here in North America. So with no further ado, I present my new column, ‘Domestic Affairs’, where I hope to fill that gap by sharing exhibitions, lectures, book publications, and anything else related to the study of fashion and dress here on Worn Through’s home continent, if you will.

I cannot possibly travel to every happening, but I am committed to bringing as much information as possible to our readers, so if any of you have an event coming up, or know of one you would like featured, please email me at I am happy to conduct interviews over email or by phone to gain deeper insights and perspectives on exhibitions and lectures, and I will travel to those events I can. Or you can always let me know about something in the comments (as well as letting me know what else you would like to know about something already covered)!

This week I can report on two events. The first is the Costume Society of America, Western Region‘s announcement of the Jack Handford award. The Jack Handford Summer Internship awards a $2000 stipend for a student internship at an accredited museum or educational institution with a costume or dress collection. The Western Region is currently seeking applicants AND accredited institutions to participate for the summer of 2014. Applicants must be current CSA Western Region members, and the internship is open to undergraduate students about to commence their senior year and to graduate students.

Applications for both students and institutions are available at the website above. Though for more information please feel free to contact Jeremy Miller, Student Awards and Summer Internship Chair for the Western region.

Application deadline is January 10, 2014.

The second event is Linda Baumgarten‘s return to the American Decorative Arts Forum of Northern California, with a lecture on the amazing history of quilt-making in America. Since 1978, Ms Baumgarten has been the curator of textiles and costumes for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and is responsible for its collections of antique quilts and coverlets, costumes and textiles, and will be presenting “400 Years of Quilts, Styles, and Influences”. The lecture will be on November 12 in the Koret Auditorium at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. There will be a mini-exhibition at 7:15 pm, and the lecture will begin at 8:00 pm.

Ms Baumgarten’s lecture will ask the question “What is an American quilt?” in the context of the quilt’s history and use within the United States since its earliest years of settlement. According to the event announcement, Ms Baumgarten’s answer to this question is that ‘the story of American quilts is really many stories, “written” in the stitches of the women – and men – who produced them’.

You can read more about the lecture and mini-exhibition at the website above. I will be attending the lecture and will be able to give a summary and review, and I hope a mini-interview with Ms Baumgarten, in my next column (November 20). Are there any questions you would like me to ask? Anything you would like to know about the history of quilts in the United States or about the Colonial Williamsburg collection?

Also, please email me or leave events you’d like covered in the comments below!

Opening image credit: Pieced quilt top fragment, England, 1700–1730, silks and metallic threads over earlier paper templates. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Obtained via

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