Alabama Department of Archives and History
Patriotic Quilt, ca. 1844-1852
Mrs. E. Todd
Cambridge, South Carolina
The Patriotic Quilt features 16 squares, each centered with a segmented circle with its wedges made of red, green, and a yellow patterned fabric. This color combination was particularly fashionable in the nineteenth-century South. Each star shape at the circles’ center was identified with a paper label that named a state of the Union, many (but not all) of them Southern states. Possibly it was intended that these labels would be replaced by an embroidered designation as a finishing step. Like the Mount Ida Wedding Quilt , this quilt also references the immense popularity of printed cotton fabrics in the nineteenth century. The border is predominantly red fabric with exotic floral forms in green, blue, and yellow. This type of pattern is generically called Palampore after designs originally created in India, and made highly popular by the export trade of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in both Europe and America.
The Patriotic Quilt was donated to the Alabama Department of Archives and History by the great granddaughters of the maker in 1945. According to family tradition, Mrs. E. Todd of Cambridge, South Carolina, made the quilt between 1844 and 1852. Mrs. Todd wrote to friends in the sixteen states listed on the quilt, requesting fabric from their respective state. Each star on the quilt was made from the fabric she received from that state. Following the quilt’s completion in 1852, Mrs. Todd entered it into a contest in Charleston, S.C. According to the family, Mrs. Todd received a thimble as an award. The quilt came to Alabama in the 1850s with Mrs. Todd’s daughter after her marriage.
Back to quilt pair.