1840 - 1860 Hasbrouck Family's Applique Counterpane

This counterpane, with a version of the “Tree of Life” motif, portrays a vignette of family life in the mid-nineteenth century. It was said to have been made for the Hasbrouck family by an Englishwoman. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses, Mary Ward, who was born in Ireland, lived with them and worked as a domestic servant. Perhaps the counterpane was made by her or Elisabeth Tompson, who is listed as part of the Hasbrouck household on the 1860 census. In 1975, the Smithsonian acquired the counterpane from Josiah and Ellen Hasbrouck’s grand-daughter, Margaret Blauvelt Hasbrouck Elliot.
Block- and roller-printed dress and furnishing cottons from 1800 to 1845 are used for the design. The ground is white cotton stamped or printed “Fine Sheeting” with the number “31” in a wreath of leaves, and a vase of flowers on a platform. Embroidered details on the counterpane are worked in both silk and cotton. The border is appliquéd with a flowering vine, and the counterpane is edged with appliquéd scallops.
Josiah Hasbrouck was born in 1830. He married Ellen Jane Blauvelt in 1856, and had five sons, the first of whom died in infancy. They lived in Esopus, Port Ewen, Ulster County, New York, where Josiah Hasbrouck was a physician. The idyllic scene may have represented Josiah and Ellen Hasbrouck and their four sons Walter, John, Gilbert, and Josiah enjoying the banks of the nearby Hudson River.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton, silk (overall material)
embroidered (overall production method/technique)
overall: 100 in x 80 in; 253 cm x 204 cm
place made
United States: New York, Ulster county
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
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