Sunday, October 22, 2023

Blanche Greenstein – Quilt & Hooked Rug Authority…


BLANCHE GREENSTEIN, a leading authority on antique textiles passed away at home in New York City, October 14, 2023. Blanche was so kind to pick up the phone or answer my emails on a number of occasions regarding hooked rugs.


A recent photo from Woodard & Greenstein Antiques shop showing 2 antique hooked rugs for sale – a Grenfell & a Pennsylvania rug.

Over the years, she had bought & sold many a hooked rug - including ones attributed to James & Mercedes Hutchinson & Magdalena Briner Eby. The last time I spoke to her, I was privileged to share a little Hutchinson insight, & it was a pleasure chat with someone who had a mutual passion. Here are a couple of the Hutchinson rugs that passed through Blanche’s hands…

A Fair Exchange Is No Robbery

This rug was exhibited in The Great Cover-up, American Rugs on Beds, Tables & Floors, at the American Folk Art Museum, New York City, New York in 2007

The Kiss, Something Made of Nothing (But Tasting Very Sweet)

This rug was exhibited in The Great Cover-up, American Rugs on Beds, Tables & Floors, at the American Folk Art Museum, New York City, New York in 2007


She will be missed in the antique world for her wealth of knowledge, talent & contributions. My condolences go out to her longtime life & business partner Tom Woodard & the rest of her family.


If you aren’t familiar with Blanche, I thought you might enjoy reading a little about her life & work… Blanche was born in the Bronx, New York, to Libby and Ben Greenstein in 1939. Graduate of New York University. A former stylist for photographers and television producers, her interest in antique textiles began as a hobby. This was the genesis of what became Woodard & Greenstein Antiques, a leading source for American Quilt Collectors in the US, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia and the Far East.




As a specialist in antique quilts and American folk art, she co-authored Classic American Quilts, Classic Crib Quilts, The Poster Book of Quilts, and 20th-Century Quilts 1900-1950.

In 1971, Thomas K Woodard & Blanche Greenstein opened their first shop on Lexington Avenue selling American Antiques, specializing in Antique Quilts. Their gallery presented special exhibitions, including rare collections of Shaker furnishings and antique Garden Furnishings. A long list of celebrities frequented their gallery in New York City. 

Blanche & Tom with some of their Quilts in 1991.

Kate Winslet appeared on the cover & inside the November 2013 issue of VOGUE magazine. While Tom & Blanche were known for textiles & furniture, they also sold other antiques. Kate was wearing some of their antique jewelry in this Vogue issue & it was noted in the article. Kate was one of many celebrity clientele of Woodard & Greenstein

 With Tom, Blanche served as a guest curator for the Museum of American Folk Art's 1979 exhibition of Hawaiian Quilts, the first time the collection was shown on the mainland. 

One of the Hawaiian Quilts from the Exhibit.

Her interest in restoration led the pair to projects involving the saving of several 18th- and 19th- Century houses and New England barns which were moved to Eastern Long Island, faithfully restored, and filled with American antiques. Photographs of these projects published in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, World of Interiors, Country Living, and other publications and books on historic design.

Tom & Blanche with Nina Williams (holding the shovel), editor of Country Living / Country Gardens Magazine - as they take a break from a 1992 photo shoot to imitate the famous Grant Wood painting.

An old barn on Wainscott, Long Island, decorated by them. Photo in Country Living Magazine, April 1997, page 143. Do you recognize the hooked rug over the mantle?

Dogs, Cats, Birds, and Turtle

attributed to Magdalena Briner Eby

Rug Hooking Traditions with Magdalena Briner Eby book, page 49  

A bedroom in a house they decorated in the 1990s. Photo in Country Living Magazine in July 1992. Note the charming Owl hooked rug above the bed.

For many years, they were exhibitors at major antiques shows in New York, London, and others. Friends of Art of US Embassies, which places American art in embassies throughout the world, received a quilt from Woodard and Greenstein for their collection.

Woodard & Greenstein Antique booth at the Olympia Fair in London, England in 1990.

Woodard & Greenstein Antique shop on Madison Avenue circa 1994.

Woodard & Greenstein Antique shop in Architectural Digest, September 1982. Great horse hooked rug over the bed.

Woodard & Greenstein Antique shop on Madison Avenue circa 1980s. Lovely hooked rug over the drysink.

In 2004, the Woodward & Greenstein began designing & manufacturing their exclusive collection of WOODARD WEAVE handwoven and hooked rugs in authentic American designs - based on 19th-century American Shaker and Amish designs.


The exterior of the shop, the window displays both antiques & their line of WOODARD WEAVE HANDWOVEN RUGS. In the bottom left corner is an antique Teddy Roosevelt campaign bandanna/scarf (circa 1912). I love this photo – as I have that exact bandanna!

The Woodard Weave Handwoven Rug/Runner is installed on the staircase.

An ad for Woodard Weave Handwoven Rugs – Classic stripes & colors. So very Americana!

Blanche's exquisite, unerring taste, along with her passion for American quilts and folk art, have set the bar very high. She has inspired us all to always seek the exceptional, when only the best will do.

A more recent Woodard & Greenstein booth at an Antique Show.

Spend some time enjoying your ANTIQUES today --- they have value, tell a story & add pleasure to our lives! Teach the next generation about antiques!


For more info on the Magdalena Briner Eby or James & Mercedes Hutchinson hooked rugs please check our website:


Thank! Kathy