Quilt, Tumbling Blocks with Signatures pattern

Adeline Harris Sears American

Not on view

Starting in 1856, Adeline Harris sent small diamond-shaped pieces of white silk to a variety of people around the world, asking each person to sign the silk and return it to her. Eventually, Harris amassed 360 autographs from the most famous Americans (and some Europeans) of her era, including eight American presidents (notably Abraham Lincoln), Northern military heroes of the Civil War, antislavery political leaders, and luminaries from the worlds of science, religion, education, and the arts. She stitched these pieces into a quilt, grouping similar professionals together. The autographs displayed in the immaculately constructed quilt create a patchwork portrait of mid-nineteenth-century America.

Quilt, Tumbling Blocks with Signatures pattern, Adeline Harris Sears (1839–1931), Silk, American

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