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 white-work child's quilt belonged to Ann Bender Snyder in the 1840s, whether it was intended for her own child is not known. Forty years later Ann Bender Snyder gave the quilt to her god daughter, Nina Knode, as a baptismal gift when she was six months old. Nina Knode Heft always felt that it was a "museum piece" and that "after she was gone nobody would be interested in taking care of [it] in the same manner as she had." William Heft, Nina Knode's husband, followed his wife's wishes and donated it in her name to the Museum in 1940.
- The all white cotton quilt has a center medallion consisting of a basket of fruit above the quilted initials "A B S" enclosed in a feathered vine. This in turn is surrounded by an undulating vine bearing grapes, flowers, and pineapples. Stems and straight lines are stuffed with cotton roving. The border has a zigzag row of pointed oval leaves. Three sides of the quilt are edged with a 3-inch netted fringe.
- Ann Bender was born in about 1830, and married Oliver H. Snyder on 15 September 1847. In 1848 they had a daughter, Alice, who died at age five in 1853. Both Ann and Oliver Snyder lived in Funkstown, Maryland. Both died in 1887 and are buried in the Funkstown Public Cemetery.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- Snyder, Ann Bender
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center