1847 Mary Hill's Album Quilt


The large central square contains the inscription: “Presented to Mrs. Mary B. Hill as an expression of esteem by the Ladies of Maltaville.” Mary B. Hill was the wife of Reverend William Hill (1814-1851) of the Presbyterian-Congregational Church of Maltaville, New York. She was born November 13, 1816, to Benton (1786-?) and Elizabeth Barnard in Litchfield, Connecticut. She married on July 13, 1836 and they had one son, Roland. Mary died May 5, 1862, in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1847, women in the church made, joined, lined, and quilted sixty blocks, in addition to the dedicatory center block, to create this example of an album quilt.

Album quilt blocks often contain name, date, or place, and sometimes a poem or verse of special meaning. Almira E. Olmstead added this to her block:

The Tulip and the Butterfly

Appear in gayer coats than I

Let me be dressed fine as I will

Flies, worms, and flowers, exceed me still.

The lines are from “Against Pride in Clothes,” published in 1720 by Isaac Watts (1674–1748), a well-known English hymn writer whose verse is often found on quilts of the period.

The appliquéd blocks are embellished with embroidered details in addition to the inked inscriptions. Flowers, leaves, hearts, stars, crescents, double ovals around the signatures, and other motifs are found in the quilting. As a token of appreciation, this quilt displays the fine quilting skills of the “Ladies of Maltaville.”

Date Made: 1847

Quilter: Ladies of the Presbyterian Church

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: QuiltingChurch


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Textiles, Religion, Textiles, Quilts, Artifact Walls exhibit


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Isaac Carrington Morton

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: TE.T06717Catalog Number: T06717.000Accession Number: 109459

Object Name: quiltObject Type: quilts

Physical Description: fabric, cotton (overall material)thread, cotton, silk (overall material)filling, cotton (overall material)Measurements: overall: 92 in x 91 in; 234 cm x 232 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a4-6f8b-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_620801

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