1830 Jane Valentine's "Irish Chain" Quilt

On the front of this “Irish Chain”-patterned quilt is found an inscription in ink: “Commenced in 1825 & Finished in 1830 by Mifs Jane Valentine Scipio Cayuga Co. N.Y. No. of Pieced Blocks 168 Small Blocks 4,2,42." Another inscription in a different hand and ink on a back corner states: “My Mothers 5040 Blocks 1832 In Case of My death to be given to My Sister Hattie Blodgett.”
The quilt is made of 3-inch plain and pieced blocks. The blocks are comprised of about 130 different roller-printed cottons with small print motifs. An examination of the quilt reveals that there are 348 white blocks and 348 pieced blocks; the segments of the pieced blocks are 5/8-inch square, and there are 10,092 of them. Diagonal grid quilting follows the “chain.” The plain white blocks are quilted, 6 stitches per inch, with a floral motif. The “Irish Chain” pattern was in use in the early 1800s and may have been adapted from weaving patterns.
Margaret Jane Valentine was the daughter of Peter Valentine (1784-1865) and Elizabeth Hilliker. Jane married Benjamin Brown Jr. on November 16, 1831. Harriet Brown was born in 1848 and married Charles Blodgett. It was Mrs. Harriet E. Blodgett who in 1915 donated this quilt and a coverlet. At the time she wrote that the quilt was “. . . pieced by my mother. Commenced in 1825 when she was about fourteen finished 1830. . . I feel a great desire to put them [both quilt and coverlet] where they will be preserved.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Valentine, Jane
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 88 in x 72 in; 222 cm x 184 cm
place made
United States: New York, Cayuga
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
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Harriet E. Blodgett
Additional Media

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