The Jameses diligently collected all types of American quilts. But as their collection became more comprehensive, quilts with noteworthy and novel characteristics started to catch their eye. And once they found a piece they wanted, they sometimes went to great lengths to acquire it. By chance, in 1990, Ardis spied a lavishly embellished Crazy quilt titled “My Crazy Dream” in an antiques magazine and through phone calls and letters, found the individual looking to find it a new home. Both she and Bob were excited about the extraordinary quilt. Bob wrote: “We are crazy about My Crazy Dream. It is certainly one of the great quilts of its time.” Penny McMorris, advising the Jameses, noted: “It is a masterpiece … This addition would give you an extremely strong crazy quilt sub-collection.”

Quilts can be full of whimsy, a fact that the Jameses appreciated and sometimes looked for when collecting.