“Pieced Together” at NH Historical Society
The New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord has just opened “Pieced Together: New Hampshire Quilts and Their Stories,” which showcases 15 quilts from the 18th to 20th centuries from the society’s collection. In addition, the exhibit highlights more than 50 antique quilt patterns, like the “Blazing Star” design (above), from the society’s extraordinary archive of patterns that Ellen Webster (1867-1950) recorded during travels across Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, South Dakota, Virginia and her native New Hampshire.
The quilts and Webster’s patterns are tangible connections to our past. Around 1931, Webster used cotton and cardboard to copy the “Double T” or “Boxed T” pattern (below) of a quilt owned by a Mrs. Smith of Hebron, New Hampshire. The Ts in the pattern represented the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, founded in 1873 to fight the damage drinking did to families (think domestic violence and financial costs) and society. The group often sang and prayed in saloons, urging bar owners to stop selling alcohol. It was part of a widespread movement that lead to the passage of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed the manufacture, sale and transport of “intoxicating liquors” in the United States from 1919 to 1933.
“Pieced Together: New Hampshire Quilts and Their Stories,” New Hampshire Historical Society, 30 Park St., Concord, New Hampshire, March 23, 2010, to Jan. 10, 2011.
Pictured from top to bottom: Ellen E. Webster “Blazing Star” pattern, c. 1933; Nancy Simes Nutter Hoit Kaime (1793–1875) of Barnstead, “Appliqué Geometric Quilt,” c. 1860; Webster, “Double T” or “Boxed T” Pattern, c. 1931; Webster, "Pressed Quilt" pattern, c. 1933; Webster, “Peony” Pattern, c. 1933; Webster, “Oak Leaf” Pattern, c. 1933; and Webster, “Basket” Pattern, c. 1933.