The 50,000 objects in the textile collections fall into two main categories: raw fibers, yarns, and fabrics, and machines, tools, and other textile technology. Shawls, coverlets, samplers, laces, linens, synthetics, and other fabrics are part of the first group, along with the 400 quilts in the National Quilt Collection. Some of the Museum's most popular artifacts, such as the Star-Spangled Banner and the gowns of the first ladies, have an obvious textile connection.
The machinery and tools include spinning wheels, sewing machines, thimbles, needlework tools, looms, and an invention that changed the course of American agriculture and society. A model of Eli Whitney's cotton gin, made by the inventor in the early 1800s, shows the workings of a machine that helped make cotton plantations profitable in the South and encouraged the spread of slavery.
"Textiles - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Eliza Rosecrans Hussey personalized her pieced wool-and silk-star quilt with symbols of the Masonic Society. The embroidered motifs are interspersed between twenty-five blocks pieced in a variation of the “Feathered Star” pattern. Another silk quilt in the Collection was also made by Eliza, and was embroidered with symbols and inscriptions of the Odd Fellows. Edward Simmons Hussey, her husband, was an active member of both the Masons and the Odd Fellows.
- Eliza, born about 1817 in Pennsylvania, went with her family to Indiana as a young child. In the early 1830s she married Edward Simmons Hussey in Carlisle, Indiana. They lived in various Indiana towns while Edward worked as a merchant, hotel manager, book keeper, and express agent.
- By 1860 they had settled in Brazil, Indiana, where Eliza worked as a milliner. There they raised their family of ten children. Eliza, after some years as an invalid, died in 1880. Her carefully designed and crafted quilts are a reminder of the importance of benevolent societies such as the Masons and the Odd Fellows in the developing towns and cities in the Midwest in the first half of the nineteenth century.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- Hussey, Eliza Rosenkrantz
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- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center