1854 - 1858 Ward- Harrison "Love Apple" Appliqued Quilt

1854 - 1858 Ward- Harrison "Love Apple" Appliqued Quilt

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
When this quilt was donated in 1917 it was accompanied by a note: “Quilt pieced by Louise Ward 1854 and quilted by Louise Harrison 1858.” Little further information was given, but they may have been relatives of the donor who was from Iowa.
Red, green, and orange cottons were effectively used to make this mid-19th century quilt. The appliquéd “Love Apple” pattern is framed by a 7-inch border appliquéd with toothed swags and tassels. Outline quilting was used for the flowers, accented by concentric arcs and diagonal lines on the background and quilted at 9 stitches per inch. It is bound with a straight strip of cotton.
The Report on the Progress and Condition of the United States National Museum for the Year Ending June 30, 1917 recorded the quilt as a gift from Dr. Carrie Harrison. “Illustrating household industry in the textile arts... a cotton appliqué quilt, pieced and quilted by a relative before 1859.... At different times, she also donated several other items of interest to the textile collection.
Dr. Carrie Harrison, a native of Iowa, was the first curator at the National Herbarium. In that role she traveled internationally in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. According to A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada 1914-1915 “[Carrie] At 16 taught a country school; at 17-18 managed a farm; later became interested in botany and with a book, dog and horse as companions made several prize collections of Iowa plants. At the time of the Boxer uprising in China [she] was the means of getting a cablegram through to the American Legation in Peking, which probably saved all the foreign embassies in China. This was called by Andrew D. White the finest piece of diplomacy in 1900.”
A woman of many accomplishments, she was known as a suffragette and botanist who coined the 4-H motto “To Make the Best Better.” The “Love Apple” Quilt is an apt donation by a botanist to enrich a textile collection.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Harrison, Louise
Ward, Louise
place made
United States
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 78 in x 78 in; 198 cm x 198 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Carrie Harrison
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

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.


Add a comment about this object