1800 - 1820 Brown-Francis Family's Patriotic Quilt

This early-nineteenth-century patriotic quilt was owned by members of the Brown-Frances family of Canterbury, Connecticut, before being donated to the Museum in 1947. The donor's grandmother had acquired possession of it along with other household furnishings that were in the eighteenth-century family homestead.
The focus of the quilt, the large center block, is an adaptation of the Great Seal of the United States. An appliquéd eagle holding an arrow in one claw and a leafy sprig in the other dominates the block A shield with fifteen stars that indicate the number of states from June 1, 1792 until June 1, 1796 is behind the eagle. Appliquéd floral and bird motifs complete the block. This center block is set in a field of 4¾-inch blocks alternately plain and pieced in a nine-patch variation. The fabrics include thirty-eight roller-printed, plain colored and white cottons. It is quilted in parallel diagonal lines ¾-inch apart, 7 or 8 stitches per inch. From the late-eighteenth century the American eagle motif has signified patriotism and sacrifice. This quilt by an unknown Canturbury, Connecticut, quilt maker displays a unique rendition of that powerful symbol.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, linen, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 98 in x 95 in; 248 cm x 240 cm
Place Made
United States: Connecticut, Canterbury
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Patriotism and Patriotic Symbols
Government, Politics, and Reform
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Normal L. Kilpatrick
Additional Media

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