Home and Country Early Nineteenth Century Quilts
in the DAR Museum
written by Alden O'Brien,
Curator of Costume and Textiles
A New Catalogue of Quilts from the Collection of
Daughter's of the American Revolution Museum
in Washington D.C.
Here is a chance for you to see and read
about fourteen wonderful early quilts and bedcovers that were on exhibit at the museum
through to April 30, 2005. The DAR seldom puts their quilts into print, but they
have quilts are on display at the museum regularly.* This exhibit also included
Alden discusses the theme in her introduction to the catalogue: "The motto
chosen in 1890 by the newly-formed Daughters of the American Revolution, 'Home
and Country' ('God, Home and Country' became the motto in 1978), can be used to
summarize the lives and experiences of most American women of the nineteenth
century. The childhoods of most gently-born girls were spent in learning the
skills and arts necessary to make a happy home, and to raise sons and daughters
to be good citizens of the republic. In this exhibition, we selected quilts from
the DAR Museum collection that share a vocabulary of decorative motifs and
devices that can be loosely categorized as celebrating home, country, or both.
Some symbols are overtly patriotic, such as the flag, or the eagle. Other
motifs, such as vines, sheaves of wheat, cornucopia, and baskets of fruit and
flowers can be seen to symbolize the bounty of America or the fertility of home.
All, as seen here, demonstrate the taste and skill of the needlewomen who
produced these decorative objects."
In this special edition version of the "gallery guide," written for
the viewer at home, 14 rarely seen bedcovers were chosen to discuss in detail,
including the techniques used, the makers history, prior exhibitions, and a
discussion of the derivations of designs and symbolism of motifs found on the
quilts. Text references and a bibliography are included with each quilt, which
researchers and beginners will appreciate - Thanks Alden!
Appliqué, whitework, pieced and broderie perse quilts are shown in color with
some detail shots included. Some of the whitework quilts are backlit to show the
motif better and others are detail shots that show the raised motifs. Photos of
the maker or previous owners are included when available. The catalogue is
published by Alden and her staff, using desk-top publishing on non-glossy
8.5" X 11" paper in a spiral binding of 49 pages. It is nicely done
and presented and well worth the price, all of which goes to help further the
To purchase your copy email email@example.com,
Nicole Agman is in their gift shop and she will process your order. The
catalogue cost only $12.00. plus $2.00 for shipping for the 1st copy, USPS; for
more than one copy shipping is by UPS at $5.95 for the first $25.00; $6.95 up to
$4.00 0; $7.95 up to $75.00. International shipping available-ask about the
cost. They take Visa, MC, Amex, Discover.
There is also a calendar made for DAR members with DAR-related dates on it,
which features their quilts. Some of the quilts are detail shots and some are
shown on beds in their period rooms; most are not shown full-view/head-on. It is
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call
202-879-3208 (M-F 9:30-4/Sat 9-5 EST).
It may not be as good as having seen the exhibit in person, but it is a view you
cannot get anywhere else. Thank you Alden and your staff for putting this
together to share with us.
*Twice a year they rotate eight quilts and two more are on beds in the
period rooms. Be sure to call ahead to plan the day of your visit, as Alden
informs me they are closed on major and minor holidays, snow days, inauguration
day, between exhibits and during their annual July meetings. Call or check their
website so you won't be disappointed or surprised. I was there between exhibits,
and missed seeing their quilts, but still enjoyed the museum and gift shop.
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