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Unknown Maker

Pieced and Appliquéd Friendship Quilt Top (Hickory Leaf Variation)
1843–45 New England
calicoes, white cotton, and moire-printed furnishing fabric; unquilted
86 3/4 x 87 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Patricia Smith Melton

Constructed of similar appliqué blocks, friendship quilts date from the 1840s and 1850s, decades of great westward migration. Often they record the names of friends and relations left behind by migrants. Others celebrate marriages or births; many are inscribed with poetic verses. At first, friendship quilts were geographically limited to the region of the Delaware Valley, but the fashion soon spread.

This quilt top contains forty-nine squares, each inscribed with a different name, mostly by stamp. Dates inked on various blocks indicate they were completed between December 3, 1843 and May 6, 1845. Nineteen different surnames are recorded, but two—Braddock and Garwood—predominate. The name embroidered in red in the center block, Sarah S. Proud, is probably that of the maker. Possibly Proud was her newly married name, the others those of her parents, grandparents, married siblings and cousins, and friends.