Soon after her marriage in the early 1890s, Rachel Moskovits moved from Cleveland to Lancaster, Ohio, a smaller city in the center of the state. According to her niece, the donor of this quilt, Mrs. Moskovits received it during the early days of her marriage as a gift from the wife of a local farmer. The family always supposed that it was given to her because her name matched the initials “R M” that appear on the quilt.
This is a simple quilt, but in its simplicity, it is an object of great beauty. The front and backing are of plain white cotton, and the diamond-set blocks and narrow zigzag borders are pieced with a dark blue cotton printed with a tiny white dot. The quilting is very fine, with a particularly beautiful feather-vine border that terminates at each of the corners in a feather wreath. In the lower right corner, the feather wreath contains the quilted inscription: “R M/1849.”
Recent research has pointed to the fact that the layout found in this quilt, with its blocks set as diamonds on point alternating with fancily quilted diamonds of plain fabric, and its wide feather-quilted border, as most often employed in the mid-nineteenth century by quilters of German descent. When viewed alongside other quilts in the Museum’s collection, this same overall design relates closely to the collection’s twentieth-century midwestern Amish quilts (1988.128; 2003.313) and the late nineteenth-century Quaker Crazy quilt (1974.34). While these quilts were made by members of groups that set themselves apart from the mainstream of American life, they seem to have been following an earlier, more widely popular model in their quilting traditions.
[Peck 2015; adapted from Amelia Peck, "American Quilts & Coverlets in the Metropolitan Museum of Art," 2007]