Quilt, “Morning Glory” pattern

Bessie Lee Sikes

About 1930-1935

At the end of the nineteenth century there was a temporary decline in quiltmaking. The art was revived in the twentieth century, especially with concern for thrift and economy during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Women everywhere were encouraged to sew. Patterns popular in the nineteenth century were introduced, but new designs based on contemporary themes were also used. The Morning Glory quilt is typical of the bright floral quilts in the Art Deco style. Water lilies, irises and orange blossoms were also popular. Fabrics of this period frequently featured strong geometric designs, reflecting the Art Deco affinity for North African motifs.

Little is known about the quilter, Bessie L. Sikes, other than what can be gleaned from the 1930 United States Census. According to that record, she was the daughter of William and Buena Sikes of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She was 27 and worked as a clerk in the tax assessor’s office. That fact that Ms. Sikes was gainfully employed during the Great Depression may account for the good quality of the quilt’s fabric and its exceptional size.