1849 Elspeth Duigan's White-work Quilt

Elspeth Duigan crafted this fine example of a white-work quilt in 1849. She divided the center into 8 large and 4 small squares each enclosing stuffed floral motifs. According to family information, she quilted the initials “E.D.” in one of the corner squares and it incorporates the date “1849” with the edge of the square a “1”, the “E” is also an “8,” the “4” is represented by the “D” (the fourth letter of the alphabet), and “9” is the top part of the “D”. The lining is a very thin cotton layer, and the motif stuffing is cotton and cotton cord. All the motifs are outlined in quilting. The background is quilted with parallel diagonal lines 3/16-inch apart, 13-14 stitches per inch.
Elspeth Duigan was born in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1831. She married Mr. Thompson in Jamestown and later they moved to Lexington, Kentucky. During the Civil War they moved further West to Lexington, Missouri. Elspeth died in 1894.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Duigan, Elspeth
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 88 in x 81 in; 224 cm x 206 cm
place made
United States: Virginia, Jamestown Island, Jamestown
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Civil War
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. Georgia Jacobs
Additional Media

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