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Album Quilt with Masonic Symbols
1860-1890
Various makers
USA: Maine, Cumberland County
Cotton; ink
overall: 92 x 90 in.; 233.68 x 228.6 cm
Special Acquisitions Fund
76.36.2

Masonic album-type quilt with 36 blocks (15 1/2" square) separately pieced and appliqued and quilted (all by hand and machine), then joined together. Twenty blocks are signed. Each block is a different pattern of solids and prints with reds and blues predominant. Motifs and symbols include: American flag, faith, love, square and compasses, hearts and stars. Hand-quilted sections have six to nine stitches to the inch. Straight-applied binding on each block. Thin cotton batting. Signatures include: C.A. Clarke, Olivia J. Doughty, Adriana Barker, Willie Latham, Grace G. Billings, Freeman J. Griffin, Abigail Hill, Lucinda Doughty, M.A. Barker, Mrs. Elorett, Benj. Griffin, Alpheus Griffin, Ellen M. Griffin, Mary E. Griffin, S. Bartol, E. Ho.... Annie Burgess, Ada Florett, Nettie J. Latham, and Mary F. Hughey.


This quilt, made by a group in Maine, has the appliquéd words "love" and "faith" on two of the blocks. With these messages, the makers included common nineteenth-century symbols for these virtues, hearts and an anchor. The makers also appliquéd several stylized versions of oak leaves, sometimes a symbol for immortality or endurance. More hearts, Masonic emblems, and a pair of scissors-a possible reference to the tools needed to complete the project-also decorate this quilt. Both women and men left their names on these blocks, but their purpose in putting the quilt together is unknown.