This is a Rare 1861 Stars and Stripes Bed Quilt 34 Star Kansas Peterson’s Magazine Civil War Period. In July, 1861 Peterson's Magazine published a color sketch of "The Stars & Stripes Bed Quilt". The full-page design showed half the quilt. It's the earliest color quilt pattern yet found in an American periodical. The center showed 17 stars, half the official number. The new state of Kansas had recently joined the Union as the 34th State. Several quilters were inspired to make up the design. One quilter, Mary Rockhold Teter, of Nobelsville, Indiana made one of these quilts for her son George Teter, a soldier in the Civil War. That famous quilt is now in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. The appliqued 34 white stars represent the number of states in the Union from July 4 1861 to July 4 1863. Kansas was the 34th state. (Source: Textiles of History by Herbert Ridgeway Collins, and website Civil War Quilts, Barbara Brackman).
This hand stitched cotton Stars and Stripes quilt was in a textile collection in New England. Recently discovered, it is one of the Stars and Stripes quilt featured in Peterson’s Magazine July 1861. Please note one star is missing but the thread holes are present showing that one star was sewn there (it can easily be restored). There are 33/34 five pointed applied stars around the border, but also in the applied center diamond medallion. This quilt measures 79 inches by 80 1/2 inches with a 9 inch border and 2 1/4 inch wide stripes. The center medallion and 34 stars are applied to the center of the quilt. The red stripes are made of double pink cotton calico and the blue fabric was dyed with natural indigo.There is overall discoloration to the indigo dyed cotton fabric not from staining but from aging and the instability of the blue dye. There is some overall aging to the white cotton fabric, and one tan stain the size of a quarter.. The top layer of blue fabric is folded over to make the binding (overall wear to the binding on 3 sides). The backing is homespun cotton muslin in 35 inch width. The hand stitched quilting was done about 11 stitches per inch in 1 inch spaced intervals. The stripes are double pink cotton calico all hand stitched and quilted. There are no holes, and there is rough binding to one corner with cotton fraying. The cotton batting has cotton seeds (battings of this period or earlier had cotton seeds before the invention of the cotton gin).
This is a rare historically important piece of political textile material culture and should be looked upon as such. No longer is it a quilt to be placed on a bed for warmth. I would hope it goes into a significant collection. It has its issues from age not use, and is a fabric documentation about our past in America. It also documents the role women have had in our material culture and their creative textile arts.
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