Washboards, armchairs, lamps, and pots and pans may not seem to be museum pieces. But they are invaluable evidence of how most people lived day to day, last week or three centuries ago. The Museum's collections of domestic furnishings comprise more than 40,000 artifacts from American households. Large and small, they include four houses, roughly 800 pieces of furniture, fireplace equipment, spinning wheels, ceramics and glass, family portraits, and much more.
The Arthur and Edna Greenwood Collection contains more than 2,000 objects from New England households from colonial times to mid-1800s. From kitchens of the past, the collections hold some 3,300 artifacts, ranging from refrigerators to spatulas. The lighting devices alone number roughly 3,000 lamps, candleholders, and lanterns.
"Domestic Furnishings - Overview" showing 1 items.
- The embroidered inscription “Frances M Jolly 1839” graces the center medallion of this quilt top. This signed and dated silk-and-wool-embroidered quilt top came from an African American family, and the maker, Frances M. Jolly, was said to be an ancestor of one of the donor’s grandparents. The family, of whom little else is known, is said to have lived in Massachusetts and moved to Pinehurst, North Carolina.
- A 37½-inch black square set diagonally in the center with red corner triangles is the focal point of this quilt top. It is surrounded by three borders: a 9-inch black, a 10-inch orange, and an 11-inch black. Appliquéd flowers, leaves, and vines embellished with braid and embroidery decorate the surface.
- The edges of the appliquéd motifs are not turned under, but are held in place by buttonhole stitching in matching or near-matching thread colors. Silk or cotton threads are used for securing the appliqué motifs, stitching, and the embroidery, except for the inscription, which is chain-stitched in red wool. The quilt has both hand and machine stitching. The outer two borders are machine-stitched, indicating that they were joined after 1860 when sewing machines became common in households. Wool fabrics are used for both the pieced sections and the appliquéd motifs. Wool and silk braid and silk ribbon contribute to the overall design.
- Little is known about Frances M. Jolly. A headstone in the White Cloud Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Calloway County, Missouri bears the name “Frances M. Jolly dau of E. H. and A. M. Jolly Feb 15, 1915 and Feb. 11, 1916.” Whether this has a connection to the Frances M. Jolly that is inscribed on this quilt top is a question that remains to be answered with further research and information.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- Jolly, Frances M.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center