Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Important Quilt in a New Home

Woman's Rights Quilt
About 1880

What a wonderful surprise to come across this quilt in the digital gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a recent acquisition with the accession number 2011.538, indicating it was acquired last year. It's known as the Woman's Rights quilt because several of the pictorial blocks show banners with part of the motto "Woman Rights".              

I first saw this quilt in the 1980s at an exhibit in Chicago. The quilt is a narrative about a woman who is wearing a checkered apron or skirt. It's possibly the story of her life. Here she is riding to give a speech on the topic and the banner says "Woman Rig...."

Her husband seems to be supportive of her mission.
She's waving goodbye and holding a banner that says "Woman R."

He or someone else in the family served in the Civil War.

The last time I saw it was at the American Quilt Study Group Seminar in San Jose where Julie Silber of the Quilt Complex had organized the antique quilt exhibit.

The amazing thing about it is that it is both a Civil War commemorative and a women's rights commemorative: Two rather rare items.
The curators at the Metropolitan organized a purchase with "Funds from various donors, 2011."
Thanks! to those various donors, the curators and to the Quilt Complex.

My new weekly quilt blog will feature 49 blocks to commemorate the fight for women's rights. The first free Block of the Week for Grandmother's Choice will be posted on September 1, 2012. See the Saturday Morning Post by clicking here:


  1. Thanks, Barbara, for bringing to light another fabulous historical quilt! I'd never heard of it. What a charmer and a reminder that we owe a debt to our grandmothers for winning our rights for us. We have it so much better than they ever did.

  2. Barbara-I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading about the civil war era and the quilts women made during that time. I am not as familiar with American history so readying your blog is very educational to me. I don't have a single family quilt passed down to me becuase my overseas born family was not very familiar with hand made quilts. Living in this country made me love pieced and appliqued quilts and my two daughters will definitely have quilts to talk about.
    Thank you for your wonderful posts.

  3. So interesting to see a quilt working with Women's Rights banners. Certainly, quilt design themes have never shied away from political ideas, often even radical ones, how about LINCOLN'S PLATFORM among many others. The only historical author I've read who mentions the suffragists (in support of a woman's right to vote) as inspirational in quilt making (and whose feminism you point out in the introduction) is Ruth Finley.

  4. I really love that quilt and the appliques, defintely something fun to reproduce. I can't wait to see your new BOW, maybe I can try it this time.


  5. What a great quilt! Looking forward to your new BOW!

  6. I live in Allansford in Australia a very small town, but Warrnambool were you go to do you shopping fines you $50 if you over stay your parking eter.

  7. I don't know the price of a ticket, but I'm from Columbus, NE. GO BIG RED!!!