1853 Rachel Roseberry's "Album Patch" Quilt

A date of “August 1853” inscribed on seventeen blocks provided a clue to the possible origins of this “Album Patch” quilt. Names and places inscribed on other blocks gave further information. Probably Rachel Young Roseberry started this quilt when the family moved to Brentsville, Va., from Phillipsburg, N.J., in 1853. At the time she and her husband, Michael, had four young children: Emma (1838-1897), Annie (about 1840-?), John (1843-1915, and, Alice (about 1844-?). The names of friends and relatives appear to have been written by the same hand, maybe at different times, and many are further embellished by different floral drawings.
Thirty-six nine-inch “Album Patch” or “Friendship Chain” pieced blocks are composed of plain red and white or printed green and white cottons. The “Album” blocks are framed by a 1 ½-inch border of printed green and plain white triangles. All blocks are signed in ink denoting name, and sometimes a date and/or place. Ink drawings are added to several of the inscriptions. The same red and green cottons and thread were used throughout the quilt and nearly half are inscribed “1853.” The addition of dates of “1858,” “1859,” and “1871,” suggest signatures may have been added after the quilt was completed. Places included Washington, D.C., Youngsville ?, Newark, N. J., and Brentsville, Va.
Rachel Roseberry’s quilt represents a personalized textile document containing names of friends and family and associated dates that may represent visits, marriages, deaths or other significant events related to that name. Album quilts such as this were popular in the mid-19th century, as was the use of the red and green color combination.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 76 in x 74 in; 194 cm x 188 cm
place made
United States: Virginia, Brentsville
United States: New Jersey, Phillipsburg
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Domestic Furnishings
Cultures & Communities
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. Lillie K. Tier

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