• 1. Introduction. Click each number below to listen to and read Grace's story. Click the Mute button to turn off the sound. Run your mouse over a blue word to get a definition. Also, run you mouse over any image with a magnifying glass to take a closer look.
  • Princess Feather, Covered Wagon States, Mrs. McGill's Cherries, and Grace at age 23

    © Grace Snyder Descendants

    © No Time on My Hands, Grace Snyder Descendants

    Grace Bell McCance Snyder’s story mirrors the story of Nebraska in the late 1800s and early half of the 1900s. It was an era of amazing growth in our state, and Grace reflects both the hardships and joys of that period in her life and in her quilts. The culture, traditions, history, and family tales portrayed in Grace’s astonishing quilts tell the story of Nebraskan homesteaders, farmers, and ranchers in the Sandhills.

    Quiltmaking fulfilled many needs in Grace’s life. Her quilts were not just practical necessities for warmth or show‐stopping needlework displays.

    Today they are artifacts that demonstrate Grace’s artistry, family responsibilities, and role in her community. Grace made dozens of quilts just for her family and friends as well as many especially for exhibition at county and state fairs and competitions.

    An audio clip about Grace Snyder
  • Lincoln Quilt, 1939 and prairie goldfield flowers

    © IQSCM #2009.032.0002

    One of Nebraska’s most famous quiltmakers, Grace Snyder has been recognized from coast to coast for the technical complexity and quality of her quilts. An example of Grace’s exquisite craftsmanship is the Lincoln Quilt, based on an Anne Orr pattern by the Lockport Cotton Batting Company.

    This stunning yellow, orange, and off-white
    hand-appliquéd and hand-pieced quilt illustrates Grace’s skill in combining different designs as well as incorporating her life-long love of flowers and gardening.

    An audio clip about Grace Snyder
  • Lincoln Quilt, 1939

    © IQSCM #2009.032.0002

    Use the magnifying glass to look even closer at the Lincoln Quilt. The patterns on a quilt should be viewed not only as a beautiful whole, but also in detail to find clues to the inspiration of its design, to discover information about the maker, and to delight in the skillful needlework that is in every small part of the quilt.

    Each setting block contains 128 small, yellow squares surrounded by 4 eight-pointed stars that contrast with the soft curves of the scalloped quilt edges. Notice how Grace’s detailed quilting gives each border leaf a natural vein structure. Grace also quilted 1939 and her initials GBS into the background.

    An audio clip about Grace Snyder
  • Grace feeding 2 bum lambs, abandoned by their mother; Home on the Range, Hexagon Mosaic, Flower Basket Petit Point quilts

    © Yvonne Hollenbeck, received from Billie Snyder Thornburg

    © Grace Snyder Descendants

    © NSHS #7828-8

    © IQSCM #2009.032.0001

    A quilt is an original artifact, an item created by people in a certain time and location. Original artifacts tell us about the values, ideas, and attitudes of a particular community at a given time. Artifacts reflect the beliefs of the individuals who made, had them made, purchased, or used them and consequently, the beliefs of the larger society.

    As one of the few acceptable creative outlets for women for generations, quilts serve as a primary source for women’s history, giving voice to generations of women who otherwise had none. Quilts are a personal part of life that share a unique glimpse into a particular historical period. As you travel through Grace’s story, note not only the intricate details of her work, but how she incorporates her life into every quilt.

    An audio clip about Grace Snyder
hardship
Life conditions that cause trouble or suffering.
quilt
A bed covering or blanket, usually created in 3 layers: a decorative top, an interior batting made of cotton, wool, or polyester fibers for warmth, and a backing. Quilting is the process of stitching all three layers together.
Traditional 6-Step Process
  1. Select a pattern, fabrics for top and back, and interior batting.
  2. Measure and cut fabrics to the correct size to make blocks from the pattern.
  3. Piece (sew together) blocks to make a finished top layer. Add embroidered details or appliqués, if desired.
  4. Make a quilt sandwich by layering the quilt top with batting and backing, usually using a quilt frame to hold the fabrics taut.
  5. Quilt (stitch) the three layers together.
  6. Square up and trim excess batting from the edges, sew the binding to the front edges of the quilt, and then hand-stitch the binding to the backing.
homestead
To settle free or cheap land given by the government. Also, the name of the land that is homesteaded. Most homesteads were farms.
farm
A piece of land used to grow crops to sell, not just for home use. Animals may also be raised, but the crops are the main product.
ranch
A piece of land used to raise animals for sale, usually cattle.
artifact
A physical item created by people in a certain time and location, anything from a quilt to a trashcan to a piece of pottery.
exhibition
Public display or competition for works of art or handcrafts.
pattern
A guide design or example used to help create other designs.
batting
Stuffing for the interior (middle layer) of the quilt to make it warmer, usually out of cotton, wool, or polyester fibers.
hand-appliqué
An appliqué that is sewn on by hand rather than by machine.
appliqué
In needlework, a decorative piece of material applied over a foundation material.
hand-piece
To stitch or sew a quilt by hand rather than by machine.
piece
Sewing together small pieces of fabric for a quilt top. Quilts usually start with a number of smaller blocks that are then sewn or "pieced" together.
scallop
A series of curves in a row that make a border.
primary source
Anything created by humans who experienced an event firsthand. Primary sources include documents (diaries and letters), artifacts (physical items, such as tools and clothing) as well as interviews (oral elements). A quilt is both an artifact and a primary source.
intricate
Very detailed, complicated, or complex.