Do you have one of your grandmother's old quilts, a comforter or coverlet stored away in a trunk or tucked way back on a closet shelf somewhere?

Maybe you collect old quilts and proudly display them throughout your home.

The Palmerton Historical Society (PHS) is planning it's next display for the Palmerton Area Heritage Center, located at 410 Delaware Ave. which will feature antique quilts and coverlets. They are hoping people will come forward to offer their keepsake quilts and coverlets for the display to be featured from January 2011 to the fall of 2011.

The items will be returned, unless you would like to donate them to the PHS.

The idea came about one day when Vinita Horinko recalled that an antique quilt had been donated to PHS in 2006 by Mildred and Harry Klotz of Lake Harmony.

"It has become the cornerstone for our next display," says Betsy Burnhauser, PHS member.

The quilt is very old, dating back to 1868. It is 80" by 89". There are 30, 11" by 11" blocks of pink and clay-patterned triangles and rectangles with a green border. In the center of each block is a 4" by 4" square of off-white muslin. Each one of those squares has hand cross-stitched names, like "P. Keller and L. Keller" and "E.D. Hawk and E.E. Christman." The one that gives a clue to its origin is the square that is stitched "Miss E.E. Behler June 1 A.D. 1868 Trachsville Carbon County Pa." Could she have been the creator of this piece of American folk art?

It is a heady feeling to hold something that old and trace a finger over the 142-year-old uneven stitches of perhaps the Miss E.E. Behler. It leaves you yearning to know the hand that held the needle. Did she cut out the little shapes and stitch them together during a long winter's night? What was she thinking as she sat and cross-stitched each name? Did she know each one personally? Were some of them family members like "J. Behler and S. Behler"? How was the quilt used? To keep herself warm on a cold snowy night? Was it used for decoration to brighten up a parlor? Or did it provide comfort and warmth for someone dear to her? Was it a gift? Was she asked to make it?

According to Elnora Clay of Summit Hill, the quilt was in Harry Klotz's family for generations. The Klotzs had no children and decided to donate it to Palmerton Historical Society to preserve it.

If anyone would have any information about E.E. Behler, circa 1868, contact PHS at 610-767-2711.

If you would like to have your quilt/s and coverlet/s as part of this homespun display, (to be returned) PHS asks you to be sure to include your name, address, phone number and any info you may have about the quilt and its origins, who made it, when, where it came from, etc.

PHS will accept any antique quilts, comforters and coverlets you wish to donate.