1835 - 1845 Quaker Trousseau Pieced Quilt

1835 - 1845 Quaker Trousseau Pieced Quilt

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An intriguing note came with this framed medallion quilt when it was donated: “The Quaker Quilt. Phil. ca 1840 made for wedding of bride of early Philadelphia Quaker Abolitionist of pieces from the gowns of her trousseau.” Unfortunately there is no indication of the quilt maker or ownership.
The focus of the 41-inch central square, “Star of Bethlehem,” is set off by a 5-inch octagonal border. Additional pieced and plain borders frame this variation of a medallion-style quilt. The beige, tan, brown, rust, and light grey silks and satins utilized for the pattern would be typical of the Quaker esthetic and period. The quilt is lined with roller printed cottons and filled with wool. It is quilted with a variety of geometric patterns (grid, diagonal, chevron, and parallel lines), feathered and flowering vines in the borders, and a spray of flowers in the corner squares. This quilt is a precisely designed example of Quaker quilts in the mid-19th century.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Physical Description
fabric, silk, satin, cotton, wool (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, wool (overall material)
overall: 107 in x 121 in; 272 cm x 307 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Greenwood
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Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Cultures & Communities
Domestic Furnishings
Family & Social Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Just to thank you so much for displaying a picture of this quilt. Our reading group in Lincolnshire, England has just been reading The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. The art of quilting runs as a theme through the book, and I was intrigued to learn how the skill of quilting was so valued: the quilts themselves being prized as a gift and necessary dowry by the Quakers. Although the quilts are wonderfully described by Chevalier, the photograph of this particularly beautiful example - with it's muted colours and central "Star of Bethlehem" - fits so well with the image of the quilt's produced by the heroine Honor Bright. It brings the novel to life and has really added to my enjoyment and appreciation of the text. I am recommending the novel to my friend in Ohio and hope she will visit when next staying with her brother in Washington. I am also keen to track down any local Quaker history and Quaker Quilts in Museums here for comparison. I was lucky enough to visit with you some years ago and want to thank you for providing such a fantastic resource.

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