Members of the Massachusetts Women's Relief Corps
overall: 74 1/2 x 76 in.; 189.23 x 193.04 cm
Gift of the Cloues Family
Grand Army of the Republic Crazy Quilt; comprised of 64 nine inch square blocks, embroidered and some painted; reverse lined with yellow cotton; each block is initialed and numbered by various "Corps" within the Women's Relief Corps Auxilliary of the Grand Army of the Republic. Foundation pieced by hand and machine. Knife-edge binding; no batting.
Family history relates that Mary Eliza C. Knowles received this quilt in recognition for her service as president of the Massachusetts Women's Relief Corps in 1890. The Women's Relief Corps was an auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization Union veterans of the Civil War, but it also carved out its own areas of interest and action. In the 1890s it promoted "patriotic instruction for our public schools" and the related project of displaying flags in schools and other public places. Each of the 64 blocks of this quilt bears the identification number of the Women's Relief Corps' local chapter and, in some cases, the chapter's name and location. Although most of the blocks were made of dress scraps decorated with painted or embroidered flowers and designs, a few makers included the symbols that were especially meaningful to their organization, the United States flag and a Civil War-era cannon.