Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Colorful Birds & Album Quilts

Bird and squirrel on an album quilt about 1850
from dealers Woodard & Greenstein 

This photo was the frontispiece in the 1981 Quilt Engagement Calendar. They knew little about their album except that it was spectacular.

We have seen a lot more quilts since 1981. Most of
us would recognize the blocks as typical of Baltimore and Maryland about 1850.

Colorful, accurate birds aren't too common on album quilts. Many of us would
also recognize the quilt and the birds on it as related to the 1851 Mary Brown medallion sampler. 

A typical Mary-Brown-style bird from her 1851 quilt.

The birds with their fancy wings seem to be a signature design in a set of medallions samplers.

This bird is in a quilt dated and signed Mary Jane Carr
in the collection of the Shelburne Museum.

Mary Jane Carr, 1854, Shelburne Museum

This one from an almost identical quilt also signed Mary Jane Carr,
owned by Mary & Joe Koval.

Mary Jane Carr. The best way to tell these two
apart is that the Koval's quilt has dogs in the lower corners.

So when I saw the birds below in a snapshot of a medallion sampler in the collection of Ohio's Western Reserve History Museum they looked familiar.
UPDATE: It's at the Cleveland History Center.

In my notes on this quilt, which is dated 1847, the maker is Martha Pierson of East Nottingham, New Hampshire.

This does not look like what was going on in New Hampshire in 1847.
So I looked at some other East Nottinghams and realized that
Mary Brown was from East Nottingham, Maryland.

East Nottingham is on Maryland's northern border next to

The plot thickens.
I wish I could find that  quilt by Martha Pierson of East Nottingham so I could give you a link. But no.
UPDATE: Lori Triplett found the link I was looking for:
Thank you, Lori.


  1. You have given us a feast for the eyes - thanks!

  2. So interesting to see these birds. I'm working on the Roseville Album Quilt by Kim McLean and recognize many of the birds and the squirrel in the antique quilts as being very similar to the Roseville pattern. It seems too much of a coincidence for Kim to have come up with these patterns on her own since they are almost identical. So curious. The antique quilts are so beautiful and seem to be in excellent condition.

  3. I love it when you link quilts found hither and yon together!

  4. Is it possible a follow up post could be done elaborating on the different quilting styles done on these, or any other old album quilts?

  5. Very interesting. The bird in the Woodward and Greenstein quilt looks like a Piliated woodpecker. I had one in my yard a few years ago. Beautiful and very loud! The bird in the Mary Jane Carr quilts looks like a Painted bunting. I have never seen one in Maine, but we have had Indigo Buntings. I love birds in quilts, realistic or otherwise!

  6. Is this a link???


  7. 1847. Martha Pierson. East Nottingham (MD?) Reported to be in collection of Western Reserve Historical Museum in Cleveland Ohio.
    Find this Pin and more on 1847 QUILTS: DATE-INSCRIBED.
    ) Reported to be in collection of Western Reserve Historical Museum in Cleveland Ohio.

  8. Great detective work there, Nancy Drew! ;)