"From your Friend" Album Quilt
Origin: America, Connecticut, New London
92 1/2" x 75 1/2" (248 x 192 cm)
Plain and printed cottons, wool; ink inscriptions; cotton and silk embroidery threads
Museum Purchase from the Estate of Muriel and Foster McCarl
Acc. No. 2012.609.5
This is a rectangular quilt made of plain and printed cottons and wool in a variety of pieced, appliqued, and reverse appliqued designs. Forty-two squares feature geometric designs, floral sprigs and wreaths, stars, a basket, a heart, scissors, a lyre, and blocks with the date1860 and an appliqued motto "FROM YOUR FRIEND." The blocks are set on a grid of six blocks across and seven blocks down and are separated by a printed cotton sashing. The outer columns of blocks are pieced in a pattern known as Chimney Sweep. Some of the motifs are stuffed for added dimensions and others are embellished with cotton and silk embroidery threads using chain, satin, and back stitches.
Some of the blocks contain embroidered, stamped, or stenciled signatures: "Louisa" in second column from left, bottom row; "Cornelia Mei[?]s" second column from left, second row up; "Louisa" and "AEM" in 1860 block, top row; "MAG" in wreath block, fourth row down, third column from left; "Loraine" in heart block, bottom row, third column; and "M. Addie Chappell" in the "From Your Friend" block. A twentieth-century typed label sewn to the textile reads, "This quilt was made by Mrs. F. Newton Darrow [sic] and friends in 1860. Property of Rev. and Mrs. E. W. Darrow." The cover is quilted in a grid pattern in 6 running stitches per inch. It is backed in green and brown striped cotton and bound in a folded one-inch brown strip of cotton.
Stitches: back stitch, chain, satin
Label:Nineteenth-century album quilts were usually the joint projects of friends and neighbors, each of whom made one or more blocks that were sewn together into a finished quilt. The quilt was then given away, often as a parting gift for someone leaving the community.
A group of female neighbors joined to create this album quilt intended to be a gift "FROM YOUR FRIEND," according to the words appliquéd into one of the squares. A twentieth-century typed label sewn to the textile reads, "This quilt was made by Mrs. F. Newton Darrow [sic] and friends in 1860. Property of Rev. and Mrs. E. W. Darrow." In addition, several of the quilt makers embroidered or stamped their names into the individual blocks: "Louisa, Addie Chappell, and Cornelia Mei[?]s." The women can be traced to the community of Waterford in New London, Connecticut. The 1870 Federal census for Waterford lists Louisa Darrow as the 27-year-old wife of Newton F. Darrow; this record indicates Louisa was about seventeen years old when she worked on the quilt. Addie Chappell, who signed the "From your Friend" block, must have been Adaline Chappell, who was thirteen when she signed her quilt block.
Provenance:From the estate of Foster and Muriel McCarl. No further provenance is known.