Main Library Displays Knitting from Victorian Era to WWII

Posted Dec 13th, 2010 by Rhonda Sewell  Category: Arts & Entertainment,


(Released December 10, 2010) – Knitting images may not be as popular for collecting as books, wine or art, but do have merit.

Retired Toledo Blade newspaper editor Eileen Foley, an avid knitter, thought when she started collecting knitting images a decade ago, she might find perhaps 50 images of mature women knitting alone at home.

Foley’s private collection now easily numbers into the hundreds and contains many formats and topics, some of which are covered in the Library’s most recent exhibit, Rare Purls: Knitting Images from the Victorian Age through World War II, on view now through February 1, 2011 in the Blade Rare Book Room at Main Library, 325 Michigan St. The special exhibit is located in the Local History and Genealogy department on the third floor.

Included in the exhibit of 85 images are pictures of men knitting, topics such as the relationship between knitting and war and knitting with pets among others.

The exhibit debuted last night during the annual meeting of The Antiquarian Society of the Library Legacy Foundation, whose members help support and foster rare additions to the Library collection. The group also honored Foley, who spoke about her collection.

“Ms. Foley’s collection not only illuminates the history and culture of knitting, but demonstrates the fact that the act itself of collecting can be an enjoyable and educational activity not only for the collector, but those fortunate few who can experience its tangible result,” said Mike Lora, the Library’s Special Collections Coordinator.

Foley, a native of Maine, moved to Toledo in 1989 to take the position of City Editor for the Toledo Blade. She began her journalism career in the 1960s at the Detroit Free Press. Foley is a graduate of Brandeis University and The University of Michigan. When Foley started collecting knitting images 10 years ago, she started with 19th Century images then moved toward 20th Century and World War I and II images.

The exhibit, Rare Purls, featuring the private collection of Eileen Foley is generously supported by The Antiquarian Society of the Library Legacy Foundation

NOTE: For additional information visit, or call 419.259.5233.

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