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Suzanne Labry named Bybee Scholar in 2019!
LA GRANGE, TEXAS—January 21, 2020—Continuing a tradition of recognizing and rewarding those who are committed to the study of quilts and quilting history, Suzanne Labry of Austin, Texas was named the Bybee Scholar for 2019.
Suzanne Labry (center) receives her Bybee Scholar certificate from Museum co-founders
Karey Bresenhan and Nancy O'Bryant Puentes
The award is presented on behalf of the Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Foundation and the Texas Quilt Museum. The annual distinction aims to recognize the body of work an individual has accomplished in furtherance of the study of quilts, quilting, and quilt history.
Labry received the honor for her landmark book TexasQuilts, Texas Women (Texas A&M University Press), her scholarly research published in Uncoverings (the Journal of the American Quilt Study Group), and her online articles featuring quilters, quilt groups, and quilt history for the long-running Quilts.com column “Suzy’s Fancy.”
“We've known Suzanne for decades. She, along with Kathleen McCrady and the two of us, founded the Texas Sesquicentennial Quilt Association to see that the contributions of Texas women were not forgotten when our state celebrated its 150th birthday,” said Museum co-founders Karey Bresenhan and Nancy O’ Bryant Puentes.
“Suzanne was an integral supporter in the 1980’s of all the components of TSQA: the Texas Quilt Search, the historic Quilt Conservation Seminar, Texas Quilt Appreciation Week, the exhibition of quilts in the Texas Capitol rotunda, and subsequent tour of antique Texas quilts through museums. Also the Great Texas Quilt RoundUp of prizewinning quilts celebrating Texas themes. Suzanne has truly been a lifelong friend of quilts, quilters, and quilting.”
“I'm thrilled and honored to be the newest Bybee Scholar!” Labry said. “I know and admire all of the previous honorees, and I feel privileged to become a member of this group of very special women who inspire me.”
Labry started writing Texas Quilts, Texas Women back in the late 1970s, although it wasn't published until 1984. And the research took a bit of time. “Given the almost overwhelming abundance of books, magazines, and scholarly articles on quilts that we enjoy today, it’s hard to remember just how little written material there was about quilts back then,” Labry recalls.
“There was no internet. All my research was done either in libraries, museums, via written correspondence, or through in-person interviews—all very ‘old school.’ But Texas was then—and still is—fertile ground for anything to do with quilts. Quilts and the women who made them were a vital part of Texas history, and I believe they will continue to be a relevant part of its future.”
As for the state of quilt scholarship in 2020, Labry says we live in an exciting time. “So many people are doing such fascinating research on every imaginable aspect of quilting,” she says. “Groups such as the American Quilt Study Group and its various state affiliates produce terrific scholarly work. And other groups, museums, and individuals as well. There really has never been a better time for quilt scholarship!”
Award namesakes Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee were well-known Houston philanthropists and noted collectors of American decorative arts. They established the Texas Pioneer Arts Foundation to preserve the architectural and decorative arts legacy of German-American immigrants in Central Texas. Previous Bybee Scholars include Teresa Duryea Wong, Kate Adams, Kathy Moore, Marcia Kaylakie, and Dr. Marian Ann Montgomery.
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