Quilt (or decorative throw), Crazy pattern

Maker: Tamar Horton Harris North (1833–1905)

Date: ca. 1877

Geography: Made in North's Landing, Indiana, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Silk, silk velvet, cotton, and cotton lace

Dimensions: 54 1/2 x 55 in. (138.4 x 139.7 cm)

Classification: Textiles

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John S. Cooper, 1983

Accession Number: 1983.349


This Crazy quilt is exceptional for a number of reasons, the most important being that it is one of a few well-documented examples of a mourning quilt. It was made as a memorial after the death of twenty-year-old Grace Gertrude North (1856–1877), the only child of Tamar and Benjamin North of North's Landing, Indiana. We assume that Tamar North started work on the quilt soon after her daughter's death. If it was indeed made in 1877, this is a fairly early example of a Crazy quilt. It is pieced of silk and silk velvet, but there are also pieces of cotton and cotton lace. According to family history, North made the quilt from pieces of Grace's dresses, and the types of fabrics utilized seem to bear this out. Many symbols of Grace's death ornament the quilt, such as her birth and death dates, an angel, and her name with a calla lily to each side.