Historical Societies are a treasure trove

The Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) in Baltimore, Maryland, owns the largest collection of Baltimore Album quilts. Lucky me, I live just outside of Baltimore and had the pleasure of participating in an excellent quilt program there this past weekend. Actually, it is a two part program so I’ll be back there next Saturday, too.

Phyllis Twigg Hatcher started us off with a lecture and show-and-tell of pre-1850 quilts (mostly from Maryland) from her own collection. It was heaven for a fabric lover like me. Then we took a walk through the museum’s current exhibit of Maryland quilts plus some folk art and artifacts that are depicted in the album quilts. Following the tour was a slide show lecture about Baltimore monuments which were frequently depicted on the Baltimore Album quilts. We also received kits to make our own album blocks which include an inking of Baltimore’s Washington Monument.

This quilt was a stunner! Called “Mathematical Star” because that is how these star quilts were listed in the records of the Maryland Agricultural Fairs, it is dated to 1835 and was likely made by Adeline Virginia Bartruff Darnall. It is one of the richest looking broderie perse quilts I’ve ever seen. Interestingly, I learned from Phyllis that this technique used to be called “cut-out chintz” instead of the fancier sounding broderie perse. I kind of like that straightforward descriptive title.

Above is a detail photo of the cut-out chintz work and the exquisite quilting and the photo below shows you in detail the rich colors that remain in the fabrics. .

The MdHS is rotating their quilt collection through a small, ongoing exhibition. There are only about 7 quilts currently on display but I think you can tell by these photos, it is worth visiting and savoring the selection. There were also some stunning crazy quilts that are truly examples of some Baltimore needlewomen’s work of a lifetime.

Next week, we continue on beyond the Baltimore album era with more of Phyllis’ collection and may include a little walking field trip to the actual Washington Monument (IF Baltimore’s weather warms up to something higher than frigid).

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  1. I'm a bit late seeing this blog:) but just had to say thanks so much for showing this one – what a beautiful quilt! Just love the broderie perse !! Your photos are wonderful – thanks again.

  2. Help please..
    I found a picture of a quilt with a nice block pattern in internet. Unfortunately, there was no title to or a label. Maybe there is somebody in blogland can help me? I would intressted the name and perhaps the history of the pattern.
    It was a wonderful two-color quilt in blue and white. I made a sketchy picture and put in my blog.
    I would be happy to answer a helping.
    greets from Berlin/Germany
    Kat 🙂

  3. just beautiful…oh my, the colors are to die for.
    makes me want to drive down Saturday to see the Baltimore Album part of this class 🙂
    can't imagine the beautiful quilts she will share.
    lucky you!

  4. What a wonderful opportunity, Taryn, to see some fantastic quilts!! That one is lovely and the colors are still so vibrant. I'm normally not a huge fan of cut out chintz but this one is really spectacular.

  5. Wow! How wonderful that you live so close to the historical society and that quilt is gorgeous. All the detail and colors! Oooh-la-la.

    Thank you for sharing with us to enjoy 🙂

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