Monday, December 7, 2020

Chapter 2: Autographs, The Details

Chapter 2

I was excited to see that so many of you
were interested in our
 3 year autograph quilt project.

Our daughters rallied to the 
idea and as names and people continued
to come to light, 
they would send out more requests.

Collecting autographs of celebrities
isn't any thing new.
There are many popular categories.

George Bush


General Norman Schwarzkoph

General Colin Powell
4 Star General, Politician, Diplomat  

Larry Bird
Basketball player

Billy Jean King
tennis player

Movie Stars
Robert Redford

Geena Davis 

Television Stars

Carol Burnett

Captain Kangaroo
American Children's TV show 1955 - 1984

Mary Engelbreit

Maya Lin
Architect and Sculptor 
designed the Vietnam War Memorial

Social and Religious Leaders
Gloria Steinem
spokeswoman for the feminist movement

Jesse L. Jackson
American Civil Rights Activist

Dr. Gertrude Elion
American Biochemist, Noble Prize 1988 in Medicine

Carl Sagan


Ted Kennedy

Sandra Day O'Connor
Supreme Court Justice, 1981 -2006


John Glenn

Sally Ride
First Woman to fly in space


Aretha Franklin

Neil Diamond


Children's Authors

Author and Humorist

Influential Women

Julia Child

Ruth Baden Ginsburg
Supreme Court Justice  1993 -2020

Liz Claiborne
American Fashion Designer and Business Woman 

Local celebrities

Thomas Sutherland, Dean of Agriculture at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, was kidnapped by Islamic Jihad members near his Beirut home on June 9, 1985. He was released on November 18, 1991 at the same time as Terry Waite, having been held hostage for 2,353 days.

Anne Dal Vera
1992 lead the first all female team to cross Antarctica to the South Pole
without dogs or motorized vehicles


One of the big questions is:
Are these signatures authentic?

There is actually no way of knowing
for sure other than if we had seen them
being signed in person.

Many celebrities use a rubber stamp.

Julie Andrews
Actress and Singer

Maya Angelou
American Poet

Clint Black
American Singer-Songwriter, Country music

Another means of signing a person's name 
is with an autopen which is a robotic machine.

First  woman to hold Secretary of Commerce, cabinet position
under President Carter, an American Economist 

Some celebrities authorize secretaries to sign
or another trusted person.

Big Bird

Bugs Bunny

And many sign with a few simple strokes.

Jay Leno
Comedian/ Late Night Talk Show Host

On a few occasions the person from whom
we requested an autograph signed the 
backing paper rather than the fabric.  
In that case, and in a couple other situations,
 the signature was copied
 onto a heat transfer paper
and applied to the fabric.  

My thoughts were that we weren't selling
the signatures or the quilt. The project  
was for our own personal use and I believed it was okay
for that to be done.

One signature that I wanted to include was
Mother Theresa's.  She had sent her name on
a card and I wanted to include her name, of course,
because her very important contributions.

She died a year after we finished collecting.

 Who didn't sign

We had many rejects.

For some we were never able to
find a reliable mailing address.  Some
of them were returned as undeliverable

and others, 
I believe, were simply disposed into
someone's circular file.

Many of them were returned with a note
and an explanation as to why someone
was not able to fulfill our request.

Our first denial was from Charles Schultz

and we were very disappointed. 

Here are a few other letters that we received.
Notice the dates.
American Chemist, Biochemist,  the importance of Vitamin C

A note from the White House

The reject letters added a wonderful chapter 
to our story as well.

So here's the question:
If you could think back to 1994 -1996
who would you have wanted to include in the quilt?

Next time I'll share some great stories
around some of the signatures and then who 
were some our favorites.

Here are a couple others
that you were interested in seeing. 

Roy Rogers
Singer and Cowboy

Gene Autry
Singer , Cowboy

Hopefully, you'll stay tuned for the rest of the story.

Radio Broadcaster
Famous for "the Rest of the Story"

Until Next Time-


  1. Oh, Kyle, this is one of the most interesting projects I have ever seen and I love reading about the journey. I hope most of those signatures are authentic! The reject letters are fascinating too. I will stay tuned for the rest of the story.

  2. What a delightful read! I'm glad that you included the rejects as well. I'm waiting for the next post!

  3. Yes, definitely need the rest of the story! Fascinating group of signatures.

  4. This is such an amazing project! I can’t wait for the next instalment. The reject letters are so interesting as well. Mother Teresa! Wow!

  5. Oh wow this is even more amazing than I imagined. I know that autographs were really popular around my high school days and earlier, but I am not sure the exact time frame. I remember getting lots of autograph signing books from the library - the kinds that told you what to write with your autograph "roses are red...", "when this you see, remember me", etc. Did you get Tom Hanks or John Travolta? Mariah Carey or Celine Dion?

  6. Wow, just wow. Scrolling through the names I smiled, awwwwed, gasped, the gamut. Your daughter really got some great signatures, and the rejection letters are very interesting too. Some more gracious than others, ha ha.

  7. This is absolutely fantastic and it just gets better and better! I am in awe of this amazing project and the documentation that goes with it. It's such a feel-good quilt and I smiled when reading all the returns (and rejects). I was especially moved to see Tom Sutherland's autograph. Roy Rogers and Gene Autry took me back to my childhood and we listened to Paul Harvey all the time! Can't wait for Part 3 . . .

  8. Simply remarkable! What a tremendous contribution to the quilt world and to history in general. I for one could care less if the signatures themselves are real. It is quite obvious that someone in that person's employ or at least in their "inner circle" made sure that it got sent back to Elizabeth and her friends and that means everything to me. I am beyond impressed at the number of people who did send them back. And, I knew my "Roy" and of course Gene wouldn't let you down. I do hope this will go to a museum someday. Such a great quilt!

  9. What an amazing collection you have. It is also lovely to see how gracious the refusals were.
    Such great memories.

  10. I am absolutely amazed and stunned at the scope of this project. It is incredible.
    You have so many American and World Icons it is hard to believe.
    It was also interesting to see the rejection letters. This belongs in a museum with all the underlying paperwork.
    thanks for sharing

  11. You have some amazing signatures! What a great project.

  12. Ohmygoodness - what a great group of autographs! Some especially poignant now. Would you consider writing a magazine piece about the project? Quilters would be especially interested, but I'm wondering if a publication like the Smithsonian magazine would be interested as well? Anyway, wonderful project and thank you for sharing "the rest of the story" with us!

  13. This is so incredibly fascinating!
    I thought we had done a good thing when we encouraged our daughter to write to her favorite author, Marguerite Henry, and she received a personal reply. That was nothing compared to the scale of your project. I am glad you kept your documentation!