While pondering this question, it so happened that I had just developed a crush on a new book, The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns, by Ginny Beyer. This book is great. I got into a library habit with this one too, then I broke down and bought it.
In it, I found a reference to this, the Giant Dahlia Quilt. Its pattern was originally published in 1933 in the Des Moines Register with the following wording:
"Here is a modern design for the woman of today who wants to create a quilt that is new and different and will go down in quilt history as one of the new designs for 1933. You will enjoy making this treasured heirloom for the years to come."
Giant Dahlia Quilt
73.5 x 79"
Photo from West Virginia Department of Archives and History
I found that quilt photo on the Quilt Index and then contacted the West Virginia Department of Archives and History for permission to use it. There was some problem with the film when the photo was taken so the top portion of the quilt is cut off. But can't you just see that uploaded to the Fresh Modern Quilts Flickr group? I'm smitten.
Another "modern" reference I found in Ginny's book was the Modernistic Star, published in 1931.
Modernistic Star Quilt Top by Tim Latimer.
I also read Barbara Brackman's book ("read" standing up and in two minute increments between my toddler's dangerous and destructive acts) Making History: Quilts and Fabric from 1890-1970. In there she mentioned a magazine called Modern Priscilla (published from 1887-1930), that included, among other things, patchwork patterns. Interestingly, Barbara makes a point in her book that quilts of the past several decades have been affected by cultural shifts in the reaction to the influence of modernism. I tell you, Barbara Brackman is my dream quilter date right now. I would love to ask her about a hundred questions!
So anyway the concept of "modern" and quilts have gone together for 80+ years at this point!
Thanks for all the thoughtful responses to my other posts in this series. A lot of you have your blogger profiles set to "no reply" which is tormenting me because you say such interesting things I would love to reply to you but your email address is not available to me, so I can't. If you want email replies to your thoughtful comments (or if you ever want to, say, win a blog giveaway from leaving a comment) you can Fix It!