1900 - 1905 Pocahontas Virginia Gay's Quilt


Named the “The Pocahontas Quilt” by the family of the maker, Pocahontas Virginia Gay, it is a wool counterpane that displays both her design and needlework skills. The thirty-six 11-inch blocks are appliquéd with motifs cut mainly from wool fabrics. These are further embellished with embroidery, silk fabrics, ribbon, and details in pencil or ink.

Pocahontas based her motifs on popular illustrations of sentimental vignettes and Southern heroes, as well as the Victor dog trademark adopted in 1901 by the Victor Talking Machine Company. Proud to be a seventh-generation descendant of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, she included a likeness of the Indian princess as she appears in a 17th-century engraving frequently reproduced in genealogies.

Pocahontas Gay, or “Aunt Poca” as she was known to family, was born in Virginia on September 5, 1831. She was the daughter of Neil Buchanan Gay and his wife Martha Talley. She never married and remained connected to the family home, Mill Farm in Fluvanna County, Va. She died on October 14,1922.

Date Made: 1900-1905

Maker: Gay, Pocahontas Virginia

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Quilting


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Textiles, Quilts, Textiles, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Edward McGarvey

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: TE.T11694Accession Number: 225103Catalog Number: T11694

Object Name: quilt

Physical Description: fabric: wool, silk, cotton (overall material)thread: cotton, silk, wool (overall material)Measurements: overall: 68 in x 67 in; 173 cm x 169 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-b975-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_556380

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.