1784 Overshot Coverlet

The weaver and original owner of this very complex, well worn, single-woven, linen, cotton and wool, overshot coverlet, dated 1784, are unknown. The letters “E M” and the date are woven into the coverlet on the lower right hand side, using a hand technique. We do not know if
“E M” stands for name of the owner or the weaver. In the 18th century it was not unusual for textiles to be marked with the initials of the owner, but it was usually done with embroidery. The initials identified the coverlet as the woman's property. Women could own and inherit "moveable" property.
The overall patterns used in this coverlet are “Rose” and “Tables,” and there are two shades of indigo blue used in a band effect. The coverlet was woven in two sections, and then sewn together. The original size of the sections and the coverlet as a whole are unknown, as there are no original edges present. This coverlet was found in Massachusetts. In the18th century, a young woman might commission the weaving of a coverlet or receive one as a gift, and put it in her dowry (hope chest) saving it for use after marriage.
Currently not on view
Object Name
coverlet, overshot
Object Type
date made
Physical Description
cotton, linen and wool (overall material)
overall: 76 in x 66 1/2 in; 193.04 cm x 168.91 cm
Place Made
United States: New Hampshire
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Domestic Furnishings
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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