EBHQ History

Founded in 1978, East Bay Heritage Quilters is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving and continuing the traditions, culture, and history of quilting, sponsoring and supporting quilting activities, and contributing to the growth and knowledge of quilting techniques, textiles, and patterns through our meetings and exhibits. 

A striking feature of EBHQ is how fast it grew up and how much it accomplished in its infancy. Helen Goeriz, president for EBHQ's first two years, and other founding members recall the group's early days.

The guild began with the purpose of mounting a quilt show to benefit the Fir Branch of Children's Hospital Medical Center in Oakland. Helen went to the newly opened American Quilt Museum in San Jose to ask about borrowing frames for the show. She spoke with Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association's Sylvia Morre, who shared her group's bylaws and gave advice on how to incorporate.

A handful of East Bay women made up a steering committee. The name East Bay Heritage Quilters was chosen to reflect the geographic location of the group and a historical perspective. Each contributed $12 in dues to get a treasure started. They then printed 1,000 copies of the first newsletter announcing the initial meeting in June, 1978, and sent them to students of Roberta Horton, Glendora Hutson, and Hope Hightower, who had been giving quilting classes through adult education. The first meeting was held at Kensington Youth Hut and brought 200 women; 150 became the charter members.

Other activities in the first months included working out the tax status, renting a Post Office box, adopting the Friendship Knot as the group's logo and the name of the newsletter, developing the bylaws and two-year staggered terms for officers, surveying the membership for program ideas and developing monthly programs, and finding a meeting place — Kensington's First Unitarian Church. Jan Inouye and Peggy Kitchen designed a banner with the Friendship Knot, which Adele Ingraham appliquéd.

While board members were learning to work together, keep on top of paperwork, and stabilize finances, planning continued for the quilt show. This first show, directed by Glendora Hutson, ran October 7 and 8, 1978, at the Scottish Rite Temple in Oakland. More than 3,000 people attended "Quilts: An American History," and impressive display of 117 quilts which provided a textile chronicle of 200 years of American quiltmaking.

EBHQ membership, now numbering close to 350, includes professional and amateur quiltmakers who are artists, fine sewers, beginners, and old hands at quilting. Some experiment with fabric, color, and techniques to create exciting art works. Others make traditional patterns into bedcovers for their families, as did their foremothers. Some don't make quilts, but love them, and perhaps collect them for their beauty and the stories they tell or the graphic impact they make. All agree that quilts are an important part of their lives and that EBHQ brings together those who want to share their skills, knowledge, and the enjoyment of quilts and quiltmaking.

  • EBHQ members Helen Goeriz, Janet Shore, Carol Schwarts, Anne Ito, Harriet Stull, Dorothy Annesser, and Dawn Moser contributed to this history