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Star of Bethlehem Quilt

1840-1850
Origin: America, Maryland, Annapolis
OW: 92 1/2"; OH: 100" (235 x 254 cm.)
Printed and plain cottons with roller-printed cotton border and muslin backing
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2010.609.1
This is an almost square pieced quilt consisting of one large eight-pointed pieced star and twenty-six small eight-pointed and six-pointed pieced stars on a white cotton ground. The large star consists of 652 individual diamonds. The overall pattern is commonly referred to as "Star of Bethlehem" or "Lone Star." The floral printed cotton border measures six inches at the sides and eight and 8 1/4" at top and bottom. The printed border is turned to the back and stitched down to form an edge.
The quilt is backed in plain cotton fabric that bears stamped inscriptions suggesting the muslin's place of manufacture, processing and/or wholesale. "WM. M. COOKE & CO.,' "OCHASSET MUSLIN," and "ARKWRIGHT BLEACHERY" are three of the decipherable stamped inscriptions.
The bedcover was quilted in approximately eight stitches per inch in dropped diamond and clam shell designs. The border is quilted in parallel lines.
Label:The large and smaller stars in this pieced quilt were constructed of nine hundred and twenty-eight swatches of printed cottons. The quilt maker or makers had a good eye for color and pattern in creating a precise and pleasing pattern popularly known as "Star of Bethlehem" or "Lone Star." The bedcover was quilted in dropped diamond and clam shell designs. The quilt is attributed to Sarah and/or Emily Sands, daughters of Joseph Sands, a prosperous Annapolis merchant who lived on George Street in a home that still stands today. Until recently, this quilt and other family textiles were stored in a chest on the second floor of the family home.
Provenance:Made by Sarah Sands (1806-1902) and/or Emily Sands (1815-1901);
By descent to their niece, Susannah Sands Revell (1843-1917);
By descent to daughter, Jane Revell Moss (1879-1968);
By descent to her son, Clifton Revell Moss (1908-1991);
By descent to his sister, Margaret Moss Dowsett (1910-2003);
By descent to her children, Ann Dowsett Jensen, Margaret Revell Dowsett, and Frederick R. Dowsett.
Until about 2010, the quilt and other family textiles were stored in a chest on the second floor of the family home, located at 130 Prince George Street, Annapolis, Maryland.

History of quilt makers:
The quilt is attributed to Sarah Sands (c. 1806-1902) and/or Emily Sands (c. 1815-1901), daughters of Joseph Sands, a prosperous merchant who served as treasurer and secretary of Annapolis, Maryland, and his wife, Sarah Rawlings Sands.
Mark(s):Stamped inscriptions on the plain cotton backing: "WM. M. COOKE & Co.," "OCHASSET MUSLIN," and "ARKWRIGHT BLEACHERY"
Inscription(s):A label stitched to the backside of the quilt reads: "Mrs. Margaret Dowsett/ 731 Warren Dr./ Annapolis, Md./ 21403/ 263-3556/ Size 94" x 100" 1988."