1844 Susan and Henry Underwood's Album Quilt Top

This album style quilt top belonged to Susan and Henry Underwood of Baltimore, Maryland. The quilt top is composed of twenty-five 17½-inch blocks. Seventeen are signed or initialed by Underwood family members and friends associated with the Methodist Church. Susan and Henry were married in the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore on August 5, 1830.
Album quilts, so popular in the mid-19th century, were frequently made by groups of women for presentation to a friend or relative upon a special occasion or as a token to honor a highly regarded member of the community. The blocks on this quilt top include traditional pieced and appliqued patterns, and original designs. One block is dated and inscribed: “I love to see the falling leaf/ To watch the waning moon/ I love to cherish the belief/ That all will change so soon/ Henry Johnson/Baltimore March 9th/ 1844."
The blocks or assembled quilt top were given to Susan and Henry, with Susan expected to finish the quilt. The top, never lined or quilted, was passed down through the family to the donor, Susan Underwood's great-granddaughter.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton, silk (overall material)
overall: 103 in x 103 in; 262 cm x 262 cm
place made
United States: Maryland, Baltimore
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Miss Effie Wilkinson
Additional Media

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