1888 Stevens Family Silk Crazy Quilt

Description
In 1945, when Gertrude O. S. (Cleveland) White donated this parlor throw, she wrote: “The silk crazy quilt [parlor throw] was made here at Intervale Manor [Quinebaug, Conn. / Dudley, Mass.] just previous to the year 1888. My initials and the year are on one corner of the lining. My mother, my sister and myself made it.” Eben Stevens, the donor’s father, was a founder of Intervale Textile Mills in Quinebaug.
Intervale Manor was a large private home in the late 19th century when the two sisters and their mother made this parlor throw. In the 1940s Intervale Manor became a tearoom, operated by a family member and known for its hospitality, exceptionally fine food, spacious grounds, and comfortable accommodations. Presently, what remains of the Intervale Manor estate has been converted to small apartments.
Twelve 14 ½-inch heavily embroidered blocks are framed by a 7 ½-inch border. Set off by a gold silk cord and dark red velvet sashing, each of the crazy-patched blocks is given focus and order. Among the embroidered motifs are birds, dragonflies, cats, a ladder, a shooting star, anchors, butterflies, flowers, and geometric motifs. Various initials are embroidered, including “G.O.S. 1888” on the lining and “C.S.” for the two sisters, Gertrude and Celia. An embroidered “A Merry Xmas” may have indicated the deadline for finishing the parlor throw. The crazy patch blocks are embellished with cross, feather, buttonhole, chain, herringbone, outline, running, satin, and couching stitches. The lining is tan glazed cotton.
Gertrude Olney was born May 1850 and married Eben S. Stevens in 1873. They lived in Dudley, Worchester County, Mass. One daughter, also Gertrude, was born in November 1873. She married Clarence Cleveland in 1894. Another daughter, Celia, who also worked on the parlor throw was born in 1874. In 1887 and 1888 the two teenagers and their mother created a neat and orderly version of the crazy-patchwork that was quite popular at the time.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1888
maker
Stevens, Gertrude Olney
Stevens, Celia
Physical Description
fabric, silk, satin, velvet, cotton (overall material)
thread, silk, cotton (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 77 in x 61 in; 196 cm x 154 cm
ID Number
TE.T09127
accession number
169638
catalog number
T09127
Credit Line
Gift of Gertrude O. S. Cleveland
subject
Quilting
Christmas
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Quilts
Family & Social Life
Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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