National Museum of the American Coverlet
322 S. Juliana St   ♦  Bedford, PA 15522   ♦   (814) 623 1588   ♦
(Mostly) Red, White & Blue
This year of all years, we have many things to celebrate.  In addition to the waning of the pandemic and the approach of our Nation’s July 4 birthday, there are a few things that you might not have heard about.  The year 2021 is the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the Coverlet Museum’s home town, Bedford, Pennsylvania, in 1771.  (Coincidentally the earliest dated coverlet in our collection is dated 1771.)  It is also the 15th anniversary of the Museum itself. Celebration

There is something else to celebrate:  The wonderfully generous gift of 83 more coverlets from the collection of Jude Fera.  The SIGNATURE WORKS exhibition, just prior to this current one, focused on 94 coverlets from Jude’s donation of 158, back in March of 2020.  The current exhibition, CELEBRATION in (MOSTLY) RED, WHITE & BLUE, shows another 83 coverlets that she gifted to the Museum in March of 2021.  This latest gift brings the total to 241 coverlets from a single collector. 

That said, the most significant aspect of Jude’s gift is the overall quality of these coverlets.  It is not just their number, but also their importance, condition and visual appeal.  Jude’s many years of collecting, her knowledge and her selectiveness have certainly resulted in a group of textiles that is unique in its focus and exciting to see. 

The description of our previous exhibition, SIGNATURE WORKS, is still posted below.  It includes more of the background story on Jude and her collecting.  We hope you will enjoy reading it once again, this time with even greater appreciation for her wonderful gifts to this Museum!

inscriptions, trademarks and identifiers

Tribute to Jude Fera
By Melinda Zongor, NMAC Director/Curator

The National Museum of the American Coverlet is pleased and honored to offer this exhibition entitled SIGNATURE WORKS - Sweet Dreams are Made of These.  The exhibition focuses on inscriptions, trademarks and other identifiers. 

Jude FeraThe entire exhibition is comprised of coverlets recently donated by our friend Jude Fera, (pictured at left) who has very generously given the Museum 158 of her cherished coverlets along with one panel of ingrain carpet.

This gift represents the magnificent and steadfast support of someone who has been “on board” with the coverlet museum from its inception.  The very first planning meeting for what was to become NMAC was held on December 3, 2005 with a small group of interested folks to assess the concept and viability of a coverlet museum – Jude Fera was one of those people.  When the doors opened a few months later, Jude enrolled as a Charter Member and served on the initial board of directors.  Her input was, and still is, valued and appreciated.
Over many years Jude has been a knowledgeable, careful and selective collector who assembled an outstanding group of textiles.   Her collection is as important as it is sizeable.  Although she acquired a large and varied assortment of coverlets both geometric and figured – and from many states of origin - Jude, a Connecticut resident, has always had a special interest in New England coverlets, and particularly signed, labelled and/or dated geometrics. 

Having grown up in Connecticut myself (Dad was from New York State and Mom was from Rhode Island), I especially appreciate her choices!

It is useful to note that New England coverlets don’t seem to make their way to us here in Pennsylvania as often as coverlets from other parts of the country.  The Fera coverlets, how in the NMAC permanent collection, are significant and welcome additions to our efforts to show and preserve coverlets from around the country. 

Although figured and fancy coverlets, those with realistic, curvilinear Signature Works - catalogpatterns, often bear inscriptions (name/date/location, etc.), it is rare to see geometric coverlets (patterns based on circles and squares), especially those of overshot weave structure, having inscriptions, either woven or embroidered.  In this important collection, which is comprised mostly of geometrics, several are inscribed with initials and/or dates, some in the weave and some embroidered, while others have early handwritten labels sewn on.  These coverlets are truly uncommon. 
Jude not only has had an eye for these outstanding examples, but wherever possible she has also kept notes of their origins and histories in her written inventory.  It is unusual to have this information come along with any coverlet, let alone a geometric, and even more unusual for a collector to be organized enough to document it.
For this exhibition Museum personnel selected 94 coverlets from the Fera collection, including a variety of examples, many of which are Jude’s most precious New England geometrics.

Jude Fera’s contribution to the Museum and its mission of preservation and education is an exciting and meaningful one.  This new exhibition is a must-see tribute to Jude, her service and her generosity.  We hope you will enjoy seeing these great coverlets as much as we enjoy working with them. 

Attendees to Coverlet College 2020 learned more about our friend Jude, her collection and what makes New England coverlets special.

   Full color exhibition catalogs available now -- $35 plus $3 postage

Join the Museum!  Become a member – receive free admission, a 10% discount on shop purchases and reduced rates for program events like our annual Coverlet College weekend.

Help support our mission of preservation, display, study and enjoyment of these
and other wonderful coverlets in our fast growing permanent collection.
They are America’s national heritage.