GOGGIN, Maureen Daly and Beth Fowkes Tobin (2016). Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles, 1750-1950, London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 978-0-7546-6538-0, paperback, 296 pp., some black and white illustrations, endnotes to each chapter, bibliography, index. Price: GB 43.
"Has the pen or pencil dipped so deep in the blood of the human race as the needle?" (Olive Schreiner)
The authors of this volume have answered this question with a resounding NO! The book is divided into three main sections, namely, “Identity, embroidery, and sewing”, “Cultural identity, piecing, quilting, and lacemaking”, and “Politics and design in yarn and thread”. Within each section there are various articles by art historians, design historians, museum curators, as well as practicing textile crafts people. The emphasis is on American subjects and forms.
This is a paperback version of a book that first appeared in 2009. It is also a print-on-demand form and as a result the black and white illustrations are not of a high quality.
Recommendation: This is a specialist book for those specifically interested in textiles and needlework from the mid-18th to the mid-20th century in the USA. It is also a book aimed at those studying the role of material culture in social, economic and political history in general, and women’s history in particular. It is, however, a book that will make you wonder about what happened in, for example, Europe during the same period.
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, March 2020.