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Embroiderers' Guild of America, Plum Grove Chapter records

Identifier: IWA0794

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Scope and Contents

The Embroiderers' Guild of America (EGA), Plum Grove Chapter records date from 1976 to 2009 and measure 2.5 linear feet. The records are arranged in seven series: Historical information, Administrative records, Education, Projects, Shows, Newsletters and Photographs.

The Historical information series documents the Plum Grove Chapter's history from its inception. It includes a certificate from the Embroiderers' Guild of America dated January 21, 1976 as well as newspaper clippings, member lists, show handbooks, correspondence, and photographs.

The Administrative records series consists of by-laws and policies, annual financial reports, membership information, minutes, and officers' notebooks. Membership reports and lists from 1999 to 2006 record newly added and renewing members and the officer's notebooks include an EGA history timeline and provide guidelines and procedures on publications and education.

The Education series contains an officer's notebook and guidelines that describe the organization's introductory programs such as how to teach needlework for adults and children, a selection of embroidery materials, and the value of needlework. A guide for successful exhibits is included, entitled "Sharing Embroidery," which clarifies organizational, financial, and judging policies for members.

The Projects series contains the smaller projects undertaken by individual members. The Petite Projects consist of various how-to pamphlets, which guide members in creating anything from a Victorian heart necklace to Swedish weavings. The sampler threads project contains embroidered samples of member work such as the jack rabbit sampler and the heart sampler.

The Shows series contains details of large-scale displays that the membership participated in. Materials about the annual Herbert Hoover Library tree holiday exhibit include correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs from 1991 to 2008. The Plum Grove chapter celebrated its 25th anniversary with the Silver Threads and Silver Needles show in 2001 at which members displayed both contemporary and traditional samples of handwork. The labels from these exhibits provide brief descriptions of techniques such as Pulled thread embroidery and Reticello lace.

The Newsletters series contains some general regional newsletters from the Embroiderers' Guild of America but the collection is mainly a comprehensive collection of the Plum Grove Chapter newsletters from 1986 to 1995. In 1995 the newsletter changed its name to Gatherings. Early newsletters were smaller and emphasized embroidery projects and meeting times whereas the later editions become more comprehensive, the main features being a calendar of upcoming events and programs, as well as community, regional, and national news. The October-December 2007 newsletter focuses on the chapter's decision to disband.

The Photographs series consists of photographs taken from two photo albums. The Plum Grove Chapter's Silver Anniversary show in 2001 is of particular focus and loose photographs make up the rest of the collection, from small workshops and social events to larger projects such as the Iowa State Fair and the Herbert Hoover Library Christmas Tree exhibition. Photos of each member's embroidery work are contained in this series.


  • Creation: 1975-2009


Conditions Governing Access

The records are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

The Plum Grove Chapter of the Embroiderers' Guild of America was founded on January 21, 1976 in Iowa City and located in the Plum Grove Historic Home, built in 1844. The national organization of the Embroiderers' Guild of America (EGA) was founded in 1958 by women who enjoyed needlework and sought to preserve old and new stitching techniques by sharing them with others interested in needle arts heritage. By 2005, an estimated 20,000 members belonged to 300 local chapters across the country.

Meetings and "stitch-ins" of the Plum Grove Chapter were held monthly and included a business meeting, show and tell time, and a short class or workshop. Every two years the Plum Grove Chapter presented an exhibit of members' work at the Plum Grove historic site. Each year the club participated in a variety of shows and special projects, ranging from "Hooverfest" to Habitat for Humanity, as well as the popular Hoover Library Christmas Tree exhibit where they displayed their embroidered ornaments. The Plum Grove Chapter disbanded in 2007.


2.50 Linear Feet

1 videocassette [V438], 1 DVD [d0076], photographs in Box 7 boxes

Language of Materials



The guild taught needlework skills and participated in shows.

Method of Acquisition

The records (donor no. 1184) were donated by Vicki Walsh in 2009.

Related Materials

Edith Edmund Johnson papers (IWA): This collection includes the records of two Fairfield, Iowa, clubs - the Fancy Work Circle and the Luthern Church Women's Quilting Club.

Percival Needlecrafters (IWA): This collection includes scrapbooks with photographs of quilts made by club members.

Rosemary Riess, 2010.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)