1900 - 1905 Pocahontas Virginia Gay's Quilt

Named the “The Pocahontas Quilt” by the family of the maker, Pocahontas Virginia Gay, it is a wool counterpane that displays both her design and needlework skills. The thirty-six 11-inch blocks are appliquéd with motifs cut mainly from wool fabrics. These are further embellished with embroidery, silk fabrics, ribbon, and details in pencil or ink.
Pocahontas based her motifs on popular illustrations of sentimental vignettes and Southern heroes, as well as the Victor dog trademark adopted in 1901 by the Victor Talking Machine Company. Proud to be a seventh-generation descendant of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, she included a likeness of the Indian princess as she appears in a 17th-century engraving frequently reproduced in genealogies.
Pocahontas Gay, or “Aunt Poca” as she was known to family, was born in Virginia on September 5, 1831. She was the daughter of Neil Buchanan Gay and his wife Martha Talley. She never married and remained connected to the family home, Mill Farm in Fluvanna County, Va. She died on October 14,1922.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Gay, Pocahontas Virginia
Physical Description
fabric: wool, silk, cotton (overall material)
thread: cotton, silk, wool (overall material)
overall: 68 in x 67 in; 173 cm x 169 cm
Place Made
United States: Virginia, Fluvanna
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. Edward McGarvey
Additional Media

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