About This Artwork

Jennie C. (née Achenbach) Trein (American, 1879–1977)
United States, Pennsylvania, Nazareth

Sunday School Picnic Quilt, 1932

Appliquéd, pieced and embroidered quilt; dyed and printed cotton, linen and rayon plain, twill, satin and patterned weave fabrics; cotton, silk and rayon embroidery fabrics; plastic liberty bell charm
214 x 213.2 cm (84 1/4 x 84 in.)

Robert Allerton and The Christa C. Mayer Thurman Textile Endowments, 2001.450

Jennie Trein, an accomplished quilt maker who reportedly made over one hundred quilts, designed this one to commemorate the collected memories of many a Sunday picnic. In a compression of time and space that mirrors the nature of memory, the quilt depicts both recurring and singular events as happening simultaneously. For example, in the border of the quilt, at top right, Trein depicts herself with her small twin daughters en route to the picnic, but in the central picnic scene, she illustrates one of her daughters as an adult, dressed in her nurse's uniform and with a dog on a leash. Similarly, the young couple hiding behind the cabin is also shown eloping on horseback off in the distance.

Making Memories: Quilts as Souvenirs, October 20, 2017-April 1, 2018

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Art Institute of Chicago, Making Memories: Quilts as Souvenirs, Galleries 57-59, October 20, 2017-April 1, 2018

The Art Institute of Chicago, Elizabeth F. Cheney and Agnes Allerton Textile Galleries, Exploring Quilts: Art, History and Craftsmanship, March 17–September 12, 2004

Publication History

Jeanette Lasansky. In the heart of Pennsylvania : 19th & 20th century quiltmaking traditions (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Oral Traditions Project of the Union County Historical Society, 1985).

Woodard Greenstein. Twentieth Century Quilts (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1988).

Cathy Rosa Klimaszewski. Made to Remember: American Commemorative Quilts (Ithaca, New York, 1991).

Lacy Folmar Bullard. Quilts: From Colonial to Contemporary (Illinois: Publications International, Ltd., 1992).

American Quilts 1993 Calendar (Illinois: August Publications International, c. 1993).

Robert Bishop and Jacqueline Marx Atkins. Folk Art in American Life (New York: Viking Studio Books, 1995).

Mary Clare Clark. Story Quilts and How to Make Them (London: Museum Quilts, 1995).

Robert Shaw. Quilts, A Living Tradition (New York: Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, 1995).

Mary Leman Austin. The Twentieth Century's Best American Quilts: Celebrating 100 Years of the Art of Quiltmaking (Golden, Colorado: Primedia Special Interest Publications, 1999).

Interpretive Resources

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