1840 Eliza Hussey's Masonic Symbols Quilt`

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
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Hussey, Eliza Rosenkrantz
Physical Description
fabric, wool, silk, cotton, velvet (overall material)
thread, cotton, silk (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 75 in x 73 in; 191 cm x 186 cm
place made
United States: Indiana
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Benevolent Associations
Domestic Furnishings
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Lucia K. Englehart
Additional Media

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