1876 Emma St. Clair Whitney's Pieced Silk Quilt

“1876 Emma St. Clair Whitney Centennial” is printed on the center rosette of this silk quilt. Two-inch plain colored silk hexagons are pieced into rosettes, each separated by black hexagons. An 8-inch silk border is quilted, 8 stitches per inch, with a 5-banded cable pattern. The silk lining is hand-quilted in a shell pattern in the center with a 4-banded cable pattern on the border.
Emma St. Clair Nichols was born on September 26, 1840 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. She married William Whitney (1823-1899) on October 2, 1862. He was a lawyer and Civil War veteran. They raised four children. In 1891 Emma published a book, Michael Hillegas and his Descendants, a memoir of her great grandfather. Michael Hillegas (1729-1804) was the First Treasurer of the United States. In the forward she mentioned that, “. . . [it] is hoped that the facts and materials here collected and classified, will be found serviceable to some later writer. . .” Emma died April 4, 1895. Her 1876 Centennial silk quilt is her legacy.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Whitney, Emma St. Clair
Physical Description
fabric, silk, satin (overall material)
thread, silk, cotton (overall material)
overall: 80 in x 74 in; 203 cm x 188 cm
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Pottsville
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 Col. and Mrs. Whitney Ashbridge
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.