National Quilt Collection
"Quilt": A cover or garment made by putting wool, cotton or other substance between two cloths and sewing them together. An American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, LL.D., New York 1828.
The National Quilt Collection incorporates quilts from various ethnic groups and social classes, for quilts are not the domain of a specific race or class, but can be a part of anyone’s heritage and treasured as such. Whether of rich or humble fabrics, large in size or small, expertly crafted or not, well-worn or pristine, quilts in the National Quilt Collection provide a textile narrative that contributes to America’s complex and diverse history. The variety and scope of the collection provides a rich resource for researchers, artists, quilt-makers and others.
Part of the Division of Home and Community Life textiles collection, the National Quilt Collection had its beginnings in the 1890s. Three quilts were included in a larger collection of 18th- and 19th-century household and costume items donated by John Brenton Copp of Stonington, Connecticut. From this early beginning, the collection has grown to more than 500 quilts and quilt-related items, mainly of American origin, with examples from many states, including Alaska and Hawaii. Most of the contributions have come to the Museum as gifts, and many of those are from the quilt-makers’ families. The collection illustrates needlework techniques, materials, fabric designs and processes, styles and patterns used for quilt-making in the past 250 years. The collection also documents the work of specific quilt-makers and commemorates events in American history.
Learn more about the quilt collection and step behind the scenes with a video tour.
"National Quilt Collection - Introduction" showing 1 items.
- This silk quilt, delicately appliquéd and embroidered with baskets and sprays of fruit and flowers, was made by Mary Jane Green Moran when she was a young bride in Baltimore, Maryland. The blocks are set diagonally and separated by a white silk sashing appliquéd and embroidered with bud-and-leaf vines, echoed by the undulating leafy vine in the border. The silk top is closely quilted, 12 to 15 stitches per inch, to a muslin backing. It was said that 1,001 skeins of silk thread were used in the quilting. A woven and knotted golden-colored silk fringe is stitched to three sides of this example of mid-nineteenth- century needlework.
- Mary Jane (Mrs. Dr. Moran) exhibited her needlework at various fairs and exhibitions. Her entries won awards. It was noted in one Maryland Exhibition in 1851 that the silk quilt with scarlet lining she made and exhibited "is entitled to notice for the labor and industry evinced." This quilt in the Collection is a fine example of her work.
- At the time of Mary Jane Green’s marriage in 1846 to Dr. Jonathan J. Moran, he was a resident physician at Washington University College Hospital in Baltimore. It was in that capacity that he attended the dying Edgar Allan Poe in October 1849. Dr. Moran in later years wrote several versions of those last hours that he spent with Edgar Allan Poe, and lectured on the topic as well. From the accounts, it appears that Mary Moran also nursed the dying Poe, reading to him as well as preparing his shroud.
- After the closing of the hospital in 1851, the Morans moved to Falls Church, Virginia, where they were both active in the community and the Dulin Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Jonathan Moran became the first mayor of Falls Church in 1875 and served until 1877. He died in 1888, and Mary Jane died the following year.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- Moran, Mary Jane Green
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center