Texas Tech University

Cotton and Thrift Takes Top Book Prize at TAM

Cotton and Thrift

Congratulations to Dr. Marian Ann Montgomery and Texas Tech University Press for winning the 2020 Wilder Award Group VII Category of Books and Catalogues prize by the Texas Association of Museums for Cotton and Thrift: Feed Sacks and the Fabric of American Households. This book, based on the 2019 exhibition of the same name, showcases the almost 6,000 examples of printed cotton sacks, likely the largest at a public institution, in the collection of the Museum of Texas Tech University. 

This "free fabric" that held flour, sugar, chicken feed and other household staples was important to those during the difficult times of the early 20th century.  In the 1930s in an effort to fight off the competition from paper sacks, the cotton manufacturers printed their bags with pretty prints.  From this fabric Americans made clothing, quilts, curtains and toys.  Many remember going with their parents to select the bags with their favorite fabrics.  The exhibit and book features swatches, embroidered pieces, quilts, clothing and other household items made from cotton sacks.