1850 - 1900 "Pinwheel" Child's Quilt

This lively pieced child’s quilt was made in the second half of the nineteenth century and the maker is not known. It was part of a donation to the Smithsonian by G. Ruth McHenry in 1961. It may have been in the family of Jane Winter Price, who made a “Carpenter’s Wheel” quilt that is also in the Collection.
Green and white pinwheels within red circles surrounded by pieced chains of green pointed ovals give a sense of whirling animation to this small quilt. Inside the 1½-inch border are semicircles of printed cotton. White thread is used for the outline and concentric line quilting on the red circles and white ground. Green thread is used for the outline and concentric line quilting on pinwheels and chained ovals, and for the herringbone quilting in the border. All are quilted 9 stitches per inch. The use of color and the complex pieced pattern combine to make this child’s quilt dynamic.
Currently not on view
Object Name
quilt, child's
date made
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 58 in x 41 in; 146 cm x 104 cm
place made
North America
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 Miss G. Ruth McHenry
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.