Members of the First Reformed Churches of Fishkill and Hopewell, Dutchess County, New York
Cotton; 83 1/2 x 84 1/2 in. (212.1 x 214.6 cm)
Gift of Eliza Polhemus Cobb, 1952 (52.103)
Album quilts were extremely popular in the mid-nineteenth century and were made in every part of the country. They often commemorated a particular event such as a birth, marriage, retirement, or leave-taking. Sometimes, however, this type of quilt was made purely to acknowledge and give expression to the bonds of friendship that linked those who contributed to them. Although the signatures of individual makers do appear on some of the blocks, neither dates nor place names appear on this quilt. It is thought to have been made in southeastern New York State because the unusual names found on the quilt match those found in the towns of Fishkill and Hopewell in Dutchess County. Some of the makers' names were found in the records of the Dutch First Reformed churches for these towns. Stylistically, the quilt could be dated between 1840 and 1870. Nevertheless, a date of about 185560 at the earliest seems most likely because, although the rest of the quilt is handstitched, the white cotton edge binding has been sewn to the quilt by machine. A sewing machine would only have become available to the makers around 1860.