Written by Karen B. Alexander, Quilt Historian
In 1975, as the United States prepared for its bicentennial, Hazel McDowell Carter was busy making a quilt to commemorate our nation’s two-hundredth birthday, just as American needle-workers have celebrated historic quilts, carrying on a long tradition among quilters of working together to reach a common goal.
Hazel McDowell was born in Salem, Iowa, and learned how to quilt early in her childhood from her mother, Grace McDowell, and her grandmother, Elsie McVey. Hazel still has one of those first hand-pieced blocks in her possession. In 1958, she moved to Washington D.C. to work in the office of her Iowa Congressman, and she continued to quilt. In 1964, she married Joseph G. Carter and was the busy mother of two small children by 1971.