1760 Eve Van Cortlandt's Quilted Whitework Counterpane

1760 Eve Van Cortlandt's Quilted Whitework Counterpane

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Eve Van Cortlandt's fine white linen quilted counterpane is one of the earliest dated American quilts in existence. The date, "1760" and her initials, "E V C," are embroidered in blue silk cross-stitch on the quilt lining. Quilted with white linen thread, a delicate pattern of flowers, feathery stems, and low open baskets surround a central quatrefoil medallion. The design is set off by a background of quilted parallel lines just one-eighth inch apart.
Eve was born on May 22, 1736, to Frederick Van Cortlandt and Francena Jay each from families of wealthy and prominent New York landowners. She made her quilt for her dower chest while living in the family home. In 1761, Eve married the Honorable Henry White, a businessman and a member of the King’s Council of the Royal Colony of New York. He became president of the New York Chamber of Commerce in 1772 and remained loyal to the King of England during the Revolution.
When the British evacuated New York in 1783, Henry moved his family to England. Henry White died in London in 1786, and Eve returned to America as a widow, most likely to be near two of her children who lived in New York. Of their five children, two sons were in the British service and remained in London, as did one daughter. Eve died in 1836 at the age of one hundred, having witnessed a century of historic events. Since 1897, the family home in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx has been a museum.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Van Cortlandt, Eve
Physical Description
fabric, linen, cotton (overall material)
thread, linen (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 98 in x 87 in; 248 cm x 220 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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"I am a descendant of the Van Courtlands, and have in my possession a quilt made in 1810 by "the Van Courtland ladies ". I am wondering if Eve was one of the ladies that sewed on it. The stiching is exquisite and tiny. The quilt itself is in the log cabin style.. My cousin gifted me with this gorgeous quilt that has been in our family for generations."

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