Guide to the Knotted Bedspread Collection, 1970 - 1974, undated

Summary Information

Title: Knotted Bedspread Collection, 1970 - 1974, undated
Collection: AC.186
Extent: 0.25 linear feet (1 half-sized manuscript box)

The Knotted Bedspread Collection is a collection of materials related to the handicraft of knotted bedspread-making. This collection contains black and white photographs of knotted bedspreads, a related academic paper regarding Watauga County knotted bedspread, and one notebook containing the names of Watauga County women.

Creator: McGowan, Thomas A.

Biographical/Historical Note

The notebook originated from Laura Riley, mother-in-law of Varian Fry, who ran a knotted bedspread company. Employing Watauga County women who produced the bedspreads, Riley sold her products to upper class families in the neighborhood surrounding Vassar College, where Riley's husband taught. Riley's daughter Annette Fry operated this business after her mother's death.

Scope and Contents

The Knotted Bedspread Collection contains one fragile notebook containing the names of Watauga County women who sewed bedspreads for Laura Riley. A photocopy of the notebook is available. "The Making of Traditional Knotted Bedspreads in Watauga County, N.C." is the transcript for a 1974 slide show by Thomas McGowan of Appalachian State University's English Department. McGowan focused his research on knotted bedspread makers Bertha Cook and Annie Watson. The photographs and negatives are of women making bedspreads and of the bedspreads. Various designs are illustrated. The photographers are not identified but are believed to be Thomas McGowan and Varian Fry.


The collection is organized by material type.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room. An appointment for research is recommended. The Dougherty Reading Room is located on the 4th floor of Belk Library in Special Collections.

Acquisitions Information

Provenance is unknown. This collection was opened to the public on 21 February 2003.

Processing Information

Processed by Kathryn Staley, 21 February 2003; Encoded by Kathryn Staley, 28 June 2005; Revised by Cynthia Harbeson, July 2014. This collection was reprocessed as part of a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The grant funded extensive processing of the backlog within the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection between 2012 and 2014.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], AC.186: Knotted Bedspread Collection, W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA.

Container List

  Box Folder

"The Making of Traditional Knotted Bedspreads in Watauga County, N.C." by Thomas McGowan, 1974 

1 1

Notebook [with photocopy], undated 

1 2

Notes, undated 

1 3


1 4

Photographs, 1970, undated 

1 5

Slides and negatives, undated 

1 6