History of the American Needlepoint Guild, Inc. 1982 - 1998

Webmaster's Note: This article is a departure from others in the ANG Archives in that it is not from a past issue of Needle Pointers. It has been written for publication on ANG's Web site to complete the history of ANG. For a look at the early years, of ANG, read the story of the ANG's first ten years.

Several of the activities mentioned in this article are still a part of ANG. Click on the links to see how ANG has grown.

The organization has grown steadily over twenty-six years from a small group of thirty women to 9964 members and from one chapter to 160 chapters in the United States and Canada. Approximately 35% of the members are "At-Large" members who are not affiliated with chapters. Life Patron membership was made available for a one-time fee payable to the national Treasurer. As of December 31, 1998 the number of Life Patron members stands at 382. Membership numbers were significantly impacted when the Internet Committee offered membership registration on the Web site.

In 1985 ANG established four areas, each with an elected Area Representative to act as liaison with goals of membership and chapter development, cataloging and identifying needlework in the area and developing talent files. With a membership over 6500 the Guild hired a professional computer service to process memberships. In 1987 the Presidents Notebook was developed and distributed to each chapter. In 1988 the areas were reapportioned and a fifth area created. The stated goal was to establish a communication plan for future growth and development of the Guild and to strengthen communication between local chapters, members-at-large and the Board of Directors.

As stated, early educational events centered on excursions abroad with trips to Monaco and Mexico, cruises and visits to significant museums. As the organization grew, the Fall Festival developed into an Annual Seminar. The site of the Seminar was chosen because it was a significant historical area, offered museums and places of interest for participants and had a chapter close by willing to help in planning and hosting the visiting group. As the following report indicates, a varying site location also afforded persons living in the immediate area of the Seminar the opportunity to conveniently participate.

Hilda Cook submitted the following report in November 1998:

"From diverse settings as Williamsburg (1983) to Scottsdale (1984) members were exposed to excellent teachers and the latest in needlework tools and innovative yarns and fibers.

Boston brought the "Freedom Trail Exhibit" in 1985 and Newport Beach gave a new world touch to its "El Camino D'Oro" seminar in 1986. In 1987 "A Streetcar Ride" in New Orleans was nostalgic but also opened new vistas for stitchers.

In 1988 Clare Adelson, President welcomed the American Needlepoint Guild to the "Heart of America" in Kansas City. This was followed by a "Tropical Fantasy" in Orlando in 1989, then to the West to savor "Centuries of Santa Fe" under Nancy Bowers' direction in 1990.

The American Needlepoint Guild indulged itself in "Chicagoland's Cornucopia" of culture, shopping and big city living in 1991. Houston was the scene of "Discover

Houston Spirit" in 1992 with Kay Cline, President. Open skies, tall mountains and Western hospitality greeted the Guild at Denver's "Prairie to Peaks" in 1993.

Southern hospitality was abundant at "Salem Celebration" in Winston-Salem in 1994. Ann Caswell served as President. "Needles to the Needle" was the theme in Seattle in 1995 in the shadow of the famed Space Needle. Back across the country to the banks of the Mississippi for "Making Memphis Memories" under the leadership of Eula Malson. Then, on to Detroit in 1997 for "An International Celebration of Stitching".

1998 brought the Seminar to San Diego for "Sand, Sea and San Diego" at the Del Coronado Hotel. 906 ANG members stitched, learned and enjoyed shopping in the Bookstore and the Shop." Cathy Felten, President, presided.

Hilda Cook, November 1998

Through the years education continues as the primary focus of The Guild. Materials are provided for all skill levels from beginners to the most advanced. Programs are presented through three publications: The Chapter Project Booklet, The Education Directory and Needle Pointers.

The Chapter Project Booklet, first published in 1985, is distributed to all chapters every other year. It contains program suggestions in the form of projects appropriate for use in planning chapter programs.

The Education Directory is distributed to all members in years alternating with the Chapter Project Booklet. Enrollment in any of 35 correspondence courses is offered to members; three of these are youth courses. A committee of ANG members selects correspondence courses from submissions by qualified teachers. The appointment of the Internet Committee in 1996 added new dimension to this program. 1998 was the first time registration was offered via the Web site as an On Line Group Correspondence Course (OLGCC). This proved highly popular.

Needle Pointers is ANG's journal, published bi-monthly as a benefit to every member. In 1996 an Editorial Committee was appointed to guide the development of the magazine. The Board of Directors has worked diligently the past five years to offer an updated, full color magazine to the membership. The magazine contains educational articles, stitching projects, news of local chapters, book/video reviews and national events.

The Master Teacher program, established in 1981, with three levels of certification has been expanded to five levels. The Judging Certification program, established in 1987, offers judging certification training to assist in the development of qualified evaluators in all phases of needlework for needlework shows and exhibitions. Two new certification programs are under development at this time.

In addition to publications, the Guild maintains a Visual Education Library. A wide variety of slide programs and videos is available for rental to all members and chapters. The objective is to provide expanded opportunities for learning.

1998 saw the creation of two new committees: The Exhibit Committee which will be in charge of national exhibits; The Publications Committee will develop publications to provide quality educational materials.

The Guild has been a leader in developing a working relationship with its sister organizations. 1991 saw the establishment of the International Council of Needlework Associations. ANG joined The National Needlework Association (TNNA) in 1997 and continues to seek ways to strengthen its relationship with local shop owners and wholesale distributors.

Continuing with the goal of placing needlepoint in historic places, the following national projects have been completed since 1982:

1982 The State Seal Rug was presented to the DAR Museum in Washington, DC.
1984 Fourteen Departmental Seals were presented to the General Services Administration for displaying in each Department of the GSA building in Washington, DC.
1985 The Princess Grace Memorial Altar Cloth was presented to the royal family in Monaco.
1992 An Agnese Map depicting the world as seen by Christopher Columbus in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the new world was stitched by Alice Jergens and Bert Kroenig.
1994 The Congressional Club Seal stitched by Fox Chapter, Illinois, Kathy Matthews, President, hangs in the First Ladies room of the Club in Washington, DC.
1995 Ducks Unlimited is located in the national headquarters of Ducks Unlimited in Memphis, TN. Stitchers were from Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Denver Chapters.
1995 & 1996 Members from across the nation designed and stitched Christmas stockings for the White House Christmas trees.
1997 Chair seats covers were presented to Blair House, Washington, DC.
1998 The current project is the stitching of 8 x 8 inch designs representational of the mission patches designed for each NASA flight. The finished project will hang in the John Stennis Space Center Visitor Center in Mississippi.

Additionally the Guild partially funds projects for display in public buildings stitched by ANG chapters.

Sincere thanks to Hilda Cook, Historian, Cathy Felten, President, Diane Trobaugh, VP for Chapters/Areas and Bonnie Sue Wooldridge, Treasurer for their contributions in compiling this data.

Written by Eula Malson, ANG President 1996 - 1998