Clayton Pierce Collection consists of eleven quilts created by sisters Emma Russell and Annie E. Dennis, and Emma's friend, Mrs. Cooper, in the Mississippi Delta during the 1980s and 1990s.
In the mid-1980s, Clayton S. Pierce read an article in American Heritage Magazine, written by Roland Freeman, about a group of African American Women in the Mississippi Delta who had a passion for quilting.
Pierce contacted the quilter Annie E. Dennis in Woodville, Mississippi, who explained how she and her sister, Emma Russell in Louisiana, were taught by their mother, Phoebe Johnson, who wanted the family tradition of quilting to continue. Pierce purchased a quilt from Dennis, "Double Wedding Ring," and this began years of correspondence with Dennis and Russell, and the purchase of other handmade quilts.
The quiltmakers, sisters Annie E. Dennis and Emma Russell of the Mississippi Delta, and their friend Mrs. Cooper, learned the art of quilting from their mothers and grandmothers, who had learned this art from their mothers and grandmothers. Each quilt tells a story of patterns and memories passed down through generations.
African American families
African American quiltmakers
Collectors and collecting
Permanent Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum