Historian Sue Reich to discuss WWII-era quilts at Allegheny Township fundraiser
There is so much history behind these quilts. They are more than the colorful fabrics they are made from. They tell stories of the “Greatest Generation,” those men and women who served their country in World War II.
Coming to Pittsburgh to share the tales of the quilts is Sue Reich.
The quilt historian and lecturer, who has been head of the Connecticut Quilt Search Project for more than a decade, will be the guest speaker at 2 p.m. Nov. 5 at St. Mary's Parish Center, 608 High St., Freeport. The event is a fundraiser for Allegheny Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 1.
Her talk is titled “Quilt Making That Saw Us Through World War II.” During the years of America's direct involvement in the war, women were keeping the home fires burning, working in the defense industry and planting victory gardens as their men fought on the battlefront, Reich says. Her presentation will show that women were making quilts for the Red Cross, Bundles for Britain and their own families.
“Learn how these women of the ‘Greatest Generation' distinguished themselves through their quilt making,” says Reich, who grew up in Penn Hills and now lives in Washington Depot, Conn.
After her presentation, Reich will share information about the quilts made between 1941-45 that she owns. There will be a local Quilts of Valor group in attendance and a surprise moment for some veterans.
Guests also will enjoy an afternoon tea.
The event is timely because Veterans Day is a week away, says Kathy Wagner, Allegheny Township Volunteer Fire Company secretary, who is a former classmate of Reich's.
Wagner of Murrysville, who is a former Allegheny Township resident, hopes this event will create interest. She says they are always looking for new topics to discuss as a way to help raise money for the fire company.
“We are excited to welcome Sue,” Wagner says. “I believe this event will appeal to a lot of people. There is so much to learn about these quilts and the time period they represent. It's part of our history and our freedom.”
Reich attributes her passion for World War II quilt-making history to her father, Joseph Winklmann, who served in the Navy on the USS Saratoga during World War II. She was inspired to find these quilts after a trip to Washington to see the World War II Memorial. She saw images and posters from that era and started looking for quilts in the same designs. Many baby boomers are cleaning out their parents' basements and attics and finding these quilts and selling them. So she decided to buy them and write a book about the quilts.
“If my dad didn't come back from war, I wouldn't be here,” she says. “It was an honor to put together the quilt trunk show and it is humbling. The ‘Greatest Generation' lived through the Depression and World War II, and when they came back they got back to their lives and their jobs and their families. These quilts help us hang on to the memories because we are losing our World War II veterans daily.”
Tickets are $20.
Details: 724-845-8900 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org