Franklin Cushman

FranklinCushman self portrait.jpg

Franklin Cushman, self portrait watercolor

Franklin R. Cushman (1870-1952), great-nephew of the original quiltmaker Susan W. Crouch, inherited the trunks in which the family belongings were stored. He taught in Rhode Island schools for forty years, on subjects ranging from industrial design to history. With these broad interests, he became intrigued by the technical aspects of the textiles he discovered. Franklin assembled swatch books using samples cut from clothing as well as un-used fabrics to share with students and colleagues. 

Franklin donated the first group of garments, accessories, household textiles and other artifacts to the Historic Textile & Costume Collection in the Spring and Summer of 1952. After his passing later that year, his brother Charles donated many other items to the university on behalf of the family. Colleagues continued to donate objects, such as the sample book from Grace Whaley. The Cushman Collection now houses about five hundred objects, from photos and watercolors to household linens and personal accessories.

Franklin continued Susan and Hasell’s work on the mosaic quilt tops throughout the 1930s and 1940s, adding blocks to the incomplete tops. This work is readily identifiable by examination of the papers used as patterns for each individual hexagon. These can be seen on all three of the unfinished tops and date from the late 1700s to the 1940s.


Franklin Cushman and the Cushman Collection