1877 - 1878 Caroline Granger's Prize-winning Child's Quilt

1877 - 1878 Caroline Granger's Prize-winning Child's Quilt

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Agricultural fairs flourished in the mid-nineteenth century and exhibitions of women's needlework skills drew large audiences as they competed for prizes and recognition. A bronze medal, designed by William Barber, was inscribed, “Awarded to Mrs. Joseph Granger for the best Crib Quilt – Worcester, Mass. 1878” by the New England Agricultural Society. A certificate from the office of the New England Agricultural Society states that: “Mrs. Joseph Granger Worcester, Mass. received a Bronze medal awarded at the New England and Worcester Agricultural Fairs, held in the City of Worcester, Mass. September, 1878, for the best Crib Quilt.” Mrs. Joseph (Caroline) Granger’s granddaughter, Claire L. Meyer, donated the quilt, medal, and certificate to the Smithsonian in 1972.
A note with the quilt, written by one of Caroline Granger’s children, states: “Mother’s quilt all hand quilted she made her own designs with a pin. She got first prize at the Sturbridge fair and every time she showed it at the New England fair – there was even questioning that it was machine made so every body had to examine it closely.” Another note, in different hand, that was with the quilt states: “Couverture de berceau piquee a la main por Mmes Joseph Granger qui importa le primier prix – (Medaille d’or) ‘New England Fair’ de 1878.”
The all-white child’s quilt, according to the note referred to in French as a “cradle cover,” is made of cotton. The stylized floral center medallion on a diagonal grid background is finely quilted, 12 stitches per inch. The 9-inch border is quilted with an undulating vine and flowers on a background of parallel diagonal lines. Caroline Granger’s design and precise hand quilting are definitely of prize-winning quality.
Marie Caroline Lamoureux was born on March 3, 1850 in St-Ours, Richelieu, Quebec, Canada. She was the daughter of Antoine Lamoureux and Marie Elizabeth Moge. On January 30, 1873, she married Joseph H. Granger in N. Grosvenordale, Connecticut. They lived in Worcester, Massachusetts, and had twelve children. Two children, born in 1873 and 1875, died before their first birthdays. A daughter, Marie Ida, was about two when Caroline’s quilt won a prize in 1878 and another daughter, Alam Victoria, was born in late 1878. Caroline died on June 9, 1936.
Claire L. Meyer, the Granger’s granddaughter, wrote; “Many thanks for your letter of July 7, 1972 regarding a crib quilt made by my grandmother a hundred years ago. I am also enclosing for your consideration a quilt machine stitched by my grandfather!... I hope it will be worthy of the national collection.” The two quilts are worthy, and provide an interesting contrast between the precise handwork of Mrs. Caroline Granger and the equally precise machine stitching of Mr. Joseph Granger.
Currently not on view
Object Name
quilt, crib
date made
Granger, Caroline
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Worcester
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, cotton (overall material)
overall: 45 in x 36 in; 115 cm x 92 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Edwin P. Meyer
Expositions and Fairs
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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