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Maryland Appliqued Album Quilt

1860-1875
Origin: Maryland, Somerset County
85 X 86"; 13-14 stitches per inch
Plain and printed cottons
Gift of Mrs. William Hooper Ruark
Acc. No. 1983.609.2
This is a square quilt consisting of sixteen red and green appliqued blocks on a white ground. The blocks are arranged in rows of four across and four down, surrounded by a swag and tassel border on all four sides. The center blocks alternate two different designs, each with leaves emanating from the corners. The field and border were quilted separately in a diamond pattern with running stitches, 13-14 per inch, and then pieced together. The quilt is backed in plain-weave white cotton and bound in a green printed cotton strip of fabric.
Label:In contrast to the work of most Baltimore album quilt makers, who assembled multiple varied designs for their quilt tops, Addie Adams limited the field of her quilt to the repetition of two alternating symmetrical motifs without intermediate bands of fabric, or sashing. The crossed flowers and leaves relate to classic Baltimore quilts, but are designed on a bolder scale, as if folded paper cutouts were used for the pattern. A secondary eye-catching pattern is formed by repeating eight-pointed stars in the center of each unit that are alternatively positive (red) and negative (white). Typical of some other nineteenth-century quilts made in America is the red and green color scheme on a white ground and the use of swags and bowknots as a border. The quilting is worked with 13 to 14 running stitches per inch.

Family tradition states that Addie Adams completed this quilt prior to her marriage to William Henry Ruark about 1872; however, census records indicate the marriage must have occurred during or shortly after 1880. Addie and William Ruark were living in King William, Virginia, in 1900 and 1910. Both husband and wife were buried in the Manakin Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Princess Anne, Somerset County, Maryland.
Provenance:According to the donor, the quilt had the following line of descent: Addie Thayer Adams (1839-1911) to her surviving husband William Henry Ruark (1851-1941); to Ruark's second wife Hannah Hazelwood Ruark; to William Ruark's last surviving sister Lillian (Lily) Ruark Smith (b. approx. 1860); to her daughter Margaret Smith Webb; to William Ruark's nephew William Hooper Ruark (d. 1964); to his surviving wife Evelyn Ruark, donor.