Brackman, Barbara 1945-
BRACKMAN, Barbara 1945-
Born July 6, 1945, in New York, NY; daughter of Benjamin H. (an accountant) and Cecelia (a homemaker; maiden name, McNally) Brackman; married James H. Holmes, 1981 (divorced, 1992). Education: University of Kansas, B.A., 1967, M.S., 1974. Politics: Democrat.
Office—3115 West 6th, No. C-237, Lawrence, KS 66049.
Educator in special education, University of Kansas and University of Illinois, 1970-85; freelance writer, 1976—. Also freelance consultant and museum curator for various facilities, including Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas Museum of History, and the Knoxville Museum of Art.
Clues in the Calico: A Guide to Identifying and Dating Antique Quilts, EPM (McLean, VA), 1989.
Encyclopedia of Applique, EPM (McLean, VA), 1993.
Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, American Quilters Society (Paducah, KY), 1993.
(Editor) Kansas Quilts and Quilters, University Press of Kansas (Lawrence, KS), 1993.
(With M. Waldvogel) Patchwork Souvenirs, Rutledge Hill Press (Nashville, TN), 1993.
Kansas Trivia, Rutledge Hill Press (Nashville, TN), 1997.
Patterns of Progress: Quilts in the Machine Age, Autry Museum of Western Heritage (Los Angeles, CA), 1997.
Quilts from the Civil War: Nine Projects, Historic Notes, Diary Entries, C & T Publishing (Lafayette, CA), 1997.
(Editor, with Cathy Dwigans) Backyard Visionaries: Grassroots Art in the Midwest, University Press of Kansas (Lawrence, KS), 1998.
Civil War Women: Their Quilts, Their Roles, and Activities for Re-enactors, C & T Publishing (Lafayette, CA), 2000.
Create Your Family Quilt: Using State Blocks and Symbols, C & T Publishing (Lafayette, CA), 2001.
(With Jane Brackman) The Dog in the Picture, Sirius Press (Lawrence, KS), 2002.
America's Printed Fabrics, 1770-1890: 8 Reproduction Quilt Projects, Historic Notes & Photographs, Dating Your Quilts, C & T (Lafayette, CA), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Quilter's Newsletter.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Research into cowboy boot history and women's history.
Though born in New York City in 1945, Barbara Brackman's historical and cultural interests lie in Kansas, where she now lives, and the Civil War era, as her books on quilting, the Civil War, Kansas, Civil War quilting, and Kansas quilting show. Her books are characterized by extensive historical research that includes primary sources and period photographs, into both the times and the lives of the people making and using the quilts and the fabrics and techniques of the quilts themselves. The result is books that critics and readers praise for their historical and technical accuracy and readability.
For Quilts from the Civil War: Nine Projects, Historic Notes, Diary Entries, Brackman integrates contemporary materials such as letters and diaries into the narrative and illustrates her book with archival photographs, period engravings, and color photos of quilts from that period to show how women in the 1860s lived and quilted.
Brackman continues with this topic when she recounts the lives of nine Civil War-era women on both sides of the conflict in Civil War Women: Their Quilts, Their Roles, and Activities for Re-enactors, including Lucy Stone, an abolitionist; Susie Taylor, a freed slave; and Belle Boyd, a Confederate spy. Brackman researched nineteenth-century quilt patterns and matches one to each of her subjects as a quilt that this woman might have made; she then provides complete patterns and instructions so readers can recreate them.
To write Kansas Quilts and Quilters, Brackman and her fellow contributors sifted through the documentation collected by the Kansas Quilt Project on more than 13,000 quilts either made in Kansas or brought to the state. Brackman and colleagues also interviewed quilters and their descendents and did their own historical research. In the book, they examine different types of fabrics, patterns, and quilt designs and discuss the results produced by various geographic and ethnic quiltmaking communities such as Mennonites and African-Americans as well as quiltmakers working in the last half-century and in current times.
Clues in the Calico: A Guide to Identifying and Dating Antique Quilts, Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, and Encyclopedia of Applique are more reference and resource books than are the others. In Clues in the Calico, Brackman describes five areas used to date heirloom quilts: fabric, style, color, technique, and pattern. She does delve into the history of how this identifying method was developed, which required the scrutiny of 900 dated quilts, providing some quiltmaking lore in the process. Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns comprises more than four thousand pieced patterns; Brackman identifies them and provides illustrations and sources. Create Your Family Quilt: Using State Blocks and Symbols is a how-to book that comes with a CD-ROM that has seven hundred pieced-block patterns and appliqué patterns from all fifty states and Canada to help users design their own quilts. Library Journal reviewer Janice Zlendich wrote, "Using a mix-and-match approach, the quilter picks the elements for the quilt… and sets them into a predetermined quilt layout. Once the quilt design is complete, the quilter can print out a block pattern, full-sized templates, and rotary-cutting instructions for any original quilt from crib to king."
Backyard Visionaries: Grassroots Art in the Midwest is not about quilting. Brackman celebrates this form of folk art, including sculptures, paintings, and assemblages, discovered across Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma. In this editorial configuration, Brackman is writing as a member of the Kansas Grassroots Art Association, the country's oldest organization devoted to preserving this type of art. It is the creative impulse more than conventional artistic "talent" that surfaces in grassroots art, which tends to be made from junk or other nontraditional materials. Samuel P. Dinsmoor and his Garden of Eden, Claude Melton and his Nativity Rock Museum, and Ed Galloway and his six-story-tall totem pole are among the artists and works profiled and illustrated.
Dogs in the Picture is a definite departure from Brackman's other work. Written with her sister Jane, the book illuminates the place dogs have had in people's lives. Brackman did engage in her usual investigations into old letters, diaries, photo albums, and periodicals; the Brackmans then matched the period photographs with quotes from these sources to serve as the narrative celebrating the relationship between dogs and their owners.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Reference Books Annual, 1995, review of Encyclopedia of Applique, p. 426.
American Studies, Karal Ann Marling, review of Backyard Visionaries: Grassroots Art in the Midwest, pp. 200-201.
Antiques & Collecting Hobbies, December, 1989, review of Clues in the Calico: A Guide to Identifying and Dating Antique Quilts, p. 30.
Bloomsbury Review, November, 1999, review of Backyard Visionaries: Grassroots Art in the Midwest, p. 14.
Bookwatch, October, 1995, review of Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, p. 3; January, 2002, review of Create Your Family Quilt: Using State Blocks and Symbols, p. 12.
Journal of the West, October, 1994, Kathy Brown, review of Kansas Quilts and Quilters, p. 105.
Library Journal, December, 1993, review of Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, p. 120; December, 1997, Jan Zlendich, review of Quilts from the Civil War: Nine Projects, Historic Notes, Diary Entries, p. 102; April 15, 2001, Jan Zlendich, review of Civil War Women: Their Quilts, Their Roles, and Activities for Re-enactors, p. 88; April 15, 2002, Jan Zlendich, review of Create Your Family Quilt: Using State Blocks and Symbols, p. 82.
Small Press, August, 1990, review of Clues in the Calico: A Guide to Identifying and Dating Antique Quilts, p. 30.*