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Eggleston Signature Album Quilt Top

1844-1847
Origin: America, District of Columbia, Baltimore, Maryland, No. VA
OH: 89 3/4"; OW: 88 1/4" (228 x 224 cm)
Plain-woven printed and solid cottons; ink inscriptions; silk and cotton embroidery threads (fiber identification by microscope)
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1999.609.2
This is an appliquéd quilt top made up of 36 blocks, predominately red and green on white. Each block measures approximately 12 1/2 to 12 3/4 square. The blocks are appliquéd with printed calico cottons in designs of flowers, wreaths, basket, anchor, bird, and leaves, with additional inked and embroidered inscriptions. The inscriptions, which are scribed, stenciled, stamped, and stitched, are by friends and congregational members of Rev. and Mrs. William Eggleston. The quilt was probably organized and assembled by Mrs. William George Eggleston (1814-1862). The bedcover is unquilted and unbacked. The edges of the top are turned to the reverse and machine stitched.
Label:Album quilts were typically made by a group of people who signed their blocks and presented the finished product to an honoree such as a bride, minister, or an individual leaving the community. This album quilt top consists of 36 appliqued blocks autographed by at least 26 individuals, presumably parishioners of the Reverend William George Eggleston (1815-1908), a Methodist minister, and his wife, Frances Muse Eggleston (1814-1862). Most of the blocks are dated and include their town of origin. The signatures, dates, and inscriptions of the blocks are variously scribed, stenciled, stamped, and stitched, representing the four principal methods that nineteenth-century women used to mark their quilts.

Following Methodist church practice at the time, Eggleston was transferred to a new congregation every two years. The signed quilt blocks record the Reverend's circuit assignments from 1844 to 1847 and are corroborated by the Traveling Preachers file in the records of the United Methodist Historical Society.

Methodist women sometimes made quilts to present to their departing ministers. However, in this quilt top, it appears that Eggleston's wife, Frances Muse Eggleston, may have been responsible for the organization and assembly of the bed cover. Several of the squares are inscribed with the words, "For Mrs. W. G. Eggleston." Apparently, Mrs. Eggleston collected the signed quilt squares to remember old friends and to ease the pain of constantly moving. She may have designed the quilt blocks for her friends to inscribe, as they have a uniform appearance.
Provenance:Per information on appraisal dated February 25, 1999, presumably provided by previous owner: "Annie Eggleston Wood Barnett gave the quilt to the present owner; she was born in Virginia and died in 1980. The quilt was her grandfather's."

Rev. William Eggleston (1815-1908) was a Methodist minister. Following church practice at the time, he and his wife, Frances Muse Eggleston (1814-1862), were transferred to a new congregation every two years in Maryland, northern Virginia, and Washington, D. C. Rev. Eggleston is recorded as serving at the following locations: 1841-42-- Springfield; 1843-44--Patapsco Station, Maryland; 1845-1846--Washington; 1847-- Stafford. The inscribed locations on the quilt blocks trace the couples' progress, sometimes dated after they had left the area, suggesting continued friendship ties. Places inscribed on the quilt include Ellicotts Mills, Md., Patapsco Station, Springfield, Va., Washington City, Balt[imore], and A[nne] A[rundel] County, Md.

William George Eggleston was born October 23, 1815 to Joseph Eggleston and Sarah H. E. George Eggleston. His hometown was Baltimore. On June 1, 1840, he married Frances Sanford Muse (born February 27, 1814 in Frederick County), the daughter of Robert R. Muse and Elizabeth B. Browne of Frederick County, Virginia. They had one daughter, Sarah H. E. Eggleston (1847-1918). Frances died on May 12, 1862.

The Reverend Eggleston retired from the ministry in 1895 and died in 1908 in Winchester, Virginia where he is buried.
Mark(s):See inscriptions.
Inscription(s):"For Mrs. W. G. Eggleston. March 4th 1847"
Inscriptions on squares, from upper left to lower right: six rows of six squares each. Top row: 1.1 "S. E. Piper", 1.2 "Susan A. Jenkins Ellicotts Mills, MD.", 1.3 "E. Wheary", 1.4 "M. L. Norris 1844", 1.5 "Caroline Wheary", 1.6 "M. A. Pipe"
Second row: 2.1 "An interest in your Prayers I crave That we may meet beyond the grave. Elizabeth Ann Culver Patapsco Station 1845", 2.2 "L. A. Martin", 2.3 (no inscription), 2.4 "Margt. Iles. Ellicotts Mills Nov. 8th 1844", 2.5 "Catherine De La Curlette 1845 Springfield Va.", 2.6 "E. R. Moore E. Mills"
Third row: 3.1 "Louia (?) E. Stanley Washington City", 3.2 "Elizabeth Dunchcomb (or Dinchcomb)", 3.3. "I love to look at nature pure, I love to dwell on friendship's past, And think it all forever sure In one eternal rest at last, Margaret Dushane Balt,. '46", 3.4 "Maria. Louisa. Morcell. Washington City, D. C. 1847.", 3.5 "For Mrs. W. G. Eggleston. March 4th 1847 Presented by Julia D. Terrett of Washington D. C. (Motif of anchor with the word "Hope" and "ed")", 3.6 "C. A. Wheary"
Fourth row: 4.1 "Sarah (?) Jones. Washington City January 19th 1847.", 4.2 "Margt. Iles", 4.3 (no inscription), 4.4 "S. Wheary", 4.5 "Sarah Ann Fell.", 4.6 "Rebecca M. Jones Washington City January 19th 1847"
Fifth row: 5.1 "Martha E. Baldwin. Brotherton A. A. County. M. D.", 5.2 "E. I. (J) Wheary", 5.3 "E. A. Isaac", 5.4 "Jane Iles. Ellicotts Mills.", 5.5 "S ia [Secilia] Dushane. Baltimore 1846.", 5.6 "E. R. Moore E. Mills"
Sixth Row, bottom: 6.1 "Susan A. Jenkins", 6.2 (no inscription), 6.3 "E. Piper", 6.4 "E. A. Hughes", 6.5 "Maria E. Baldwin. Brotherton. A. A. County. M. D.", 6.6 "M. A. Josnell(?)".