1860 - 1869 Cynthia Hobby's Pieced and Appliqued Quilt

“Pieced by Cynthia Hobby in her 90th year” is the inscription prominently quilted in the center block of this quilt, a variation of the “Meadow Lily” pattern. The quilt is composed of thirty 12-inch blocks, with a 4-inch border. One pieced block has the quilted name “Emily Seamans,” and another the name “Julia F. Seamans.” In the border are the quilted names: “S H Seamans,” M E Seamans,” “J A H Fay,” and the date “March 1869.”
Two of the plain blocks include a quilted outline of a small hand; one with “M” for Millie (1865-1956) and the other “J” for Julia (1867-1960). They were the great-granddaughters of Cynthia Hobby. “We can remember reaching over the edge of the quilting frame to have the outlines of our hands made.” (Family information.)
The quilting was done in 1869 by Mary Elizabeth Hitchcock Seamans (1839-1881) and her sister Julia Ann Fay. Mary married Cynthia Hobby’s grandson, Stephen Harris Seamans, Jr., in 1864.
Cynthia Husted Hobby was born September 22, 1770. She married Squire Hobby (1766-1811). Cynthia died April 5, 1863 a few years after she pieced this quilt at age 90.
This family textile document is one of three quilts donated by the same family.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Seamans, Mary Elizabeth
Fay, Julia Ann
Hobby, Cynthia
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 82 in x 70 in; 207 cm x 178 cm
place made
United States
ID Number
catalog number
accession 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. Margaret Seamans Birch

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.