Marcia Kaylakie speaks about the Margaret Lea Houston "summer spread" on March 17,2011, during a TSLAC Speakers Series event at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building.
The TSLAC Speaker Series hosted quilt expert and author Marcia Kaylakie Thursday, March 17, at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building in Austin. But the real star of night was the 19th-century "summer spread" attributed to Margaret Lea Houston, Gen. Sam Houston's wife.
The quilt, the only known surviving work of Houston's third wife, is in the Texas State Library and Archives Commission collection. The history, symbolism, imagery and expert needlework of the quilt were the subject of Kaylakie’s informative talk, which was preceded by a special viewing of the award-winning documentary, Quilts in Women’s Lives, by Pat Ferrero.
The audience of quilting enthusiasts and history buffs were then treated to a viewing of the muslin spread appliquéd with symbols in different colors. Kaylakie’s research identified symbols on the spread associated with fraternal organizations. The spread is technically not a quilt, according to Kaylakie, because it contains no batting. The event was the fourth in a special series of talks, book signings and displays celebrating the completion of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s flagship building at 1201 Brazos Street in Austin.
Marcia Kaylakie answers questions about the fragile spread, donated to TSLAC's Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center by Elizabeth Houston Paulus Henderson, Margaret and Sam Houston?s great-granddaughter.