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Author & Speaker
Veteran & Genealogist
Travels from: Orlando, Florida

“A testament to her grandmother and the women who made an impact on her childhood, Elmore’s text is an ideal choice for readers interested in memoir and history, plus stories about Black women, feminism, and quilting.” — Library Journal

Phyllis Biffle Elmore was raised by her grandmother Lula Horn (1883-1988), in rural Alabama during the mid 1950’s and 1960’s. Her book “Quilt of Souls: A Memoir,” is dedicated to the memory of her grandmother; a quilter and storyteller who only made quilts from the clothing of people who had passed on. Her quilts were called “quilts of souls”. Each piece of clothing told the story of how that person lived and died.

Phyllis has spoken in over 100 venues throughout the United States. Ms. Elmore is also a 20-year Air Force and Army veteran and received her Master’s Certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida.

Phyllis's Featured Titles

Quilt of Souls: A Memoir

Imagine |

The Yellow House meets Hidden in Plain View in this multigenerational memoir that celebrates African American quilting, family, and honoring the past.

At age four, Phyllis Biffle Elmore was plucked off her front porch in Detroit and dropped on her grandmother Lula Horn’s doorstep in rural Alabama. Phyllis felt utterly abandoned until Grandma Lula showed her both all-encompassing love and her intricate “Quilts of Souls.” Phyllis listened intently as Lula told epic stories of folks who had passed on as she turned their clothing into breathtaking quilts for their families.

Grandma Lula’s generosity of spirit, strong will, and creative soul animate every page and through the quilts, she paints portraits of extraordinary Black women born before and after the Civil War. They are enslaved people, laundresses, storytellers, healers, and quilters whose stories have gone untold until now.

Beautifully written and brilliantly told, Phyllis weaves back and forth through time, piecing together true tales of racism, sexism, and colorism, but also strength and pride, creating a multigenerational patchwork honoring her family and ancestors. From the lush visuals to the powerful history, Quilt of Souls is oral tradition written and preserved for posterity.


The Untold Stories of African American Women Born After Reconstruction

Stories of women of the rural south whose stories were never told. Unheralded African American women who were storytellers, butter churners, laundresses and quilters. These women should have a special place in history as they often raised their children’s children who were left by their parents who headed north as part of the Great Black Migration.


Quilt of Souls

I was raised by my grandmother Lula Horn (1883 – 1988) who made quilts from the clothing of people who’d passed on. Her quilts told the story of how that person lived and died. These quilts were memorial quilts that was handed to the deceased family member which they kept for posterity. As a child, I would watch and listen to her stories for some of these pieces of clothing oftentimes were from people who lived during and after the Civil War.

Mocha Girls Read Link

Quilters Guild of the Southern Crescent Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Amazon Number 1 Best Seller new book release African American History (December 2022)
Amazon Best Seller African American History 2023
Amazon Best Seller Quilts & Quilting Books 2023
Library Journal Best Book of 2022

Media Kit

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