Quilt in the popular album pattern known as Chimney Sweep.
This quilt was documented by Quilts of Tennessee, but the
family thought it might have been made in Lexington, Kentucky.
The chintz border indicates a pre-1860 date. The blocks don't appear
to be signed.
Same pattern, attributed to Ellen Smith Tooke Vanzant,
1901-1929. Kentucky Project
I did find a few Kentucky quilts in traditional album designs like the Chimney Sweep, but they were made long after the Civil War.
Quilt attributed to Elkton, Kentucky, found in Quilts of Tennessee.
Last quarter of the 19th century.
And I really do not see any evidence that anybody signed these blocks.
What I was looking for:
Signatures on the blocks like this one:
Album or signature sampler quilt dated 1843 for Hannah Nicholson
from the Smithsonian's collection
(blocks signed by people from Philadelphia and New Jersey)
How can this be? During the hottest phase of the signature quilt fad there were plenty of quiltmakers and quilts being made in Kentucky. In 1850 Louisville with over 43,000 inhabitants was the 14th largest U.S. city, larger than Newark or Rochester, where EVERYBODY was making signature quilts.
Signature quilt dated 1853. Among the
place names Sumterville, SC. Collection of
the Charleston Museum:
Kentucky had 982,405 residents in 1850 and no one got up one morning and said I am going to make some blocks and get my friends to sign them?
Made in Kentucky about 1900 by Jessie Cummins.
Kentucky Quilt Project
I checked many sources for the elusive early Kentucky album.
The Kentucky Quilt Project was my first idea. I looked through the book Kentucky Quilts by Finley & Holstein and looked at every quilt made in Kentucky on the Quilt Index. Mary Washington Clarke in her book Kentucky Quilts mentions Friendship Quilts or Presentation Quilts, but the earliest she describes in dated 1896.
Mid-20th century album with signatures on the blocks.
Ada Belle Guthrie Bryson, Western Kentucky University.
- Quilt Files at Western Kentucky University
- Kentucky Online Arts Resource: Search Quilt
Here's a great quilt at the Speed Art Museum.
"Sampler Quilt, about 1885, Possibly New York."
They were certainly making quilts in pre-Civil-War Kentucky, but not album quilts. Go to the Quilt Index and search for quilts made in Kentucky. You'll see 945 quilts, which will keep you entertained for quite a while.
Friendship quilt from Kentucky for
Lottie McNeilly Harpole, documented in the Arizona Project,
Can anybody come up with a signed, friendship-style quilt made in Kentucky between 1840 and 1860?