1851 Ellen Calder's Presentation Quilt

Description
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania friends of Ellen Winebrenner Calder presented this quilt to her in 1851. It was a farewell present for Ellen, a young bride, who was accompanying her husband, Rev. James K. Calder to Fuh-Chua, China. They worked under difficult circumstances in China for two years as missionaries for the Methodist Episcopal Church before returning to the United States. Ellen Calder, born in 1824, died in 1858 at Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. She is buried in the Harrisburg Cemetery.
This cotton quilt consists of 36 blocks appliquéd with a fleur-de-lis motif often used by religious groups for presentation pieces. In the center circle of each block is penned a name and on many the place and date as well. Also penned on the quilt are a few pertinent religious inscriptions such as:
"When on the bounding wave,
Or in a Heathen land,
May God in Mercy Save,
And guide you by the hand.
And when your labors cease,
And you no more must roam,
May you return in peace,
To your beloved home."
In the mid nineteenth century the album or autograph quilt was a popular token of affection, often presented to someone leaving the community for a long journey or a new home far away.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
quilt
Object Type
quilts
Date made
1851
user
Calder, Ellen Winebrenner
quilters
unknown
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 86 in x 85 in; 218 cm x 216 cm
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Harrisburg
ID Number
TE*T08114
accession number
144655
catalog number
T08114
subject
Quilting
Church
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Religion
Quilts
Family & Social Life
Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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