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Quaker Album Quilt by Sarah Pidgeon

ca. 1850
Origin: America, Virginia, Frederick and Clark Counties, and Maryland
OH 104" x OW 97"; 10-12 stitches per inch
Plain and printed cottons and ink with cotton embroidery threads
Partial Gift, Christopher and Mary Robare and Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2009.609.2
This is an appliquéd album quilt with red, green, yellow, and pink printed and glazed cottons on an off-white cotton ground. The bedcover is composed of 28 blocks (12 1/2" -12 3/4"), 15 half blocks, and 2 quarter blocks set on point. The appliquéd blocks were created in two distinct styles. The first style uses primarily red and green appliquéd motifs whose shapes are independent from the fabric from which the designs have been cut. Motifs include interlocking circles, concentric circles, floral and vine, floral wreaths, and fleur de lis variations. The second style consists of appliquéd printed cotton motifs whose realistic designs of fruit, wreaths, and flowers are based upon the design printed upon the fabric (known as chintz-work). The chintz-work blocks are appliquéd in overcast and buttonhole stitches. The blocks are set on point and separated by two-inch wide sashing in related red and green printed cottons in a latticework pattern. The sashing running left to right is red and the sashing running right to left is green. The bedcover is quilted in clamshells, tulip flowers, maple leaves, feathers, straight and diagonal parallel lines, outline, and chevron patterns in about twelve stitches per inch. There are two borders at the top and three borders at sides and bottom of quilt. It is backed in off-white cotton and bound in a plain cotton 1/2" wide folded tape, which has been stitched in place with a treadle sewing machine.
Label:Family history states that Sarah Pidgeon assembled and quilted this friendship album quilt as a gift for her husband, Samuel Pidgeon, of Clarke County, Virginia, shortly after their 1850 marriage. The appliquéd and "Broiderie Perse" or chintz-work inscribed blocks were collected from friends and family who belonged to Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends in Virginia and Sandy Spring, Maryland, Sarah's hometown. Many of the same signatures are found on other quilts from the region and document the network of relationships within the community of Quakers before the American Civil War. One specific block design, the "Apple Pie Ridge Star" pattern, has been identified on other quilts from the Winchester, Virginia region. Apple Pie Ridge, Virginia, was originally settled by Quakers.
Provenance:Family history states that Sarah Marshall Chandlee Pidgeon (1825-1885) assembled and quilted this friendship album quilt as a gift for her husband, Samuel Pidgeon, of Clarke County, Virginia, shortly after their 1850 marriage. A handwritten label once attached to the quilt reads, “‘Album Quilt’ / Belonged to / Samuel L. Pidgeon / made about 1851.” The note is believed to have been written by Susan Williams Pidgeon, daughter-in-law of Sarah Chandlee and Samuel Pidgeon. A later note written in 1981 by Dorothy Pidgeon Berry, Sarah’s granddaughter, which accompanies the quilt, reads, “This is an ‘autograph’ quilt, so called because the squares were made by different people who frequently wrote their names on the squares. It was made for my grandfather, Samuel Pidgeon, of Circle Hill farm, Clarke Co., Virginia. My grandmother, Sara Chandlee Pidgeon, put the squares together and quilted it Dorothy Everett (Pidgeon) Berry.” The inscribed blocks were collected from friends and family who belonged to Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends in Virginia and in Sandy Spring, Maryland, Sarah's hometown. The quilt descended through five generations of the Pidgeon family until it became a partial gift to Colonial Williamsburg.
Mark(s):See inscriptions.
Inscription(s):Inscriptions:
Block number: Three
Inscription: At mid area of long triangle side ink pen strokes partially visible but no words or letters. See comments for block 43.
Block number: Six
Inscription: M. L. S.
Block number: Seven
Inscription: Inked floral vine and butterfly surrounds ribbon banner with name of Rachel Steer.
Block number: Eight
Inscription: Lydia J. Hollingsworth, Retirement 18__
Block number: Ten
Inscription: Pidgeon, --------; Va
Block number: Twelve
Inscription: Nancy C. Weatherill, Walnut Hill, Virginia
Block number: Thirteen
Inscription: B. I. L.
Block number: Fourteen
Inscription: Susan G. Pidgeon, Brucetown, 1847.
Block number: Fifteen
Inscription: R. R.
Block number: Nineteen
Inscription: Elizabeth J. (T?) idell
Block number: Twenty two
Inscription: Sarah E. Kirk
Block number: Twenty four
Inscription: H. L. Tyson
Block number: Twenty five
Inscription: Susan G. Pidgeon, Bruce Town, VA
Block number: Twenty six
Inscription: Elera Ann Schooley; Inked branch of leaves surrounding inked book with name written across both pages of book.
Block number: Twenty seven
Inscription: Bettie S. (Mick?) all, Mt. Pl------ant
Block number: Twenty nine
Inscription: Esther Ann Brown
Block number: Thirty two
Inscription: Elizabeth S. Stone, Walnut Hill, Virginia
Block number: Thirty three
Inscription: D--- L--- 1849
Block number: Thirty six
Inscription: E. L.
Block number: Thirty seven
Inscription: Sarah Walker
Block number: Thirty eight
Inscription: Rachel H. Hough, Mount Pleasant, Virginia
Block number: Thirty nine
Inscription: Inked ribbon surrounded with leaves and floral designs. Name not legible.
Block number: Forty
Inscription: Rachel A. --------
Block number: Forty three
Inscription: -----Stone, Hill, ----inia
Block number: Forty four
Inscription: Rachel Ellicott