1870 - 1886 Margaret Tormey's Crazy-patched Quilt Top

It took Margaret Tormey sixteen years to carefully craft this 86-inch quilt top, dated 1886, and two matching pillow shams. She included campaign and club ribbons that name New York and Brooklyn; printed silks from the Robinson Company with such motifs as the Statue of Liberty; and brocaded silk pictures to personalize her project. Examples of chromolithograph printing on silk are also found on the quilt top. A multitude of embroidered motifs typical of the era embellish the crazy-patchwork.
Margaret McNamara was born in Ireland (about 1835) and immigrated with her family to the United States about 1848. In 1861 she married Patrick Tormey, who was also born in Ireland (about 1835) and immigrated as a teenager. They lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. Patrick, a Civil War veteran, was keeper of the Brooklyn City Hall for many years. He died in 1900. Margaret died in 1910.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Tormey, Margaret McNamara
Physical Description
fabric, silk, velvet, satin, ribbon (overall material)
thread, silk, cotton, chenille (overall material)
overall: 86 in x 86 in; 218 cm x 218 cm
Place Made
United States: New York, Brooklyn
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Government, Politics, and Reform
Cultures & Communities
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 Miriam M. Tormey
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.