On this day in 1938 U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, later renamed the March of Dimes Foundation.
A predominantly childhood disease in the early 20th century, polio wreaked havoc among American children every summer. The virus, which affects the central nervous system, flourished in contaminated food and water and was easily transmitted. Those who survived the disease usually suffered from debilitating paralysis into their adult lives. In 1921, at the relatively advanced age of 39, Roosevelt contracted polio and lost the use of his legs. With the help of the media, his Secret Service and careful event planning, Roosevelt managed to keep his disease out of the public eye, yet his personal experience inspired in him an empathy with the handicapped and prompted him to the found the March of Dimes.
This Wedding Ring, or Friendship Wreath Variation, quilt was pieced and hand quilted by Ava West of Nobe, West Virginia in 1935. West contracted polio when she was five years old and quilted as a pastime, but was also paid to sew. The quilt was documented by West’s sister-in-law during the West Virginia Heritage Quilt Search.
View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.
Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance