February, 2012


Maker unknown

Dated 1842 and 1843
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Purchase made possible through the James Foundation Acquisition Fund, 2005.059.0001

The Wistar family Album quilt’s presentation block indicates that family and friends gave the quilt as a gift to Sarah Wistar. The quilt illustrates values important to the Wistar family: an artfully rendered family tree emphasizes family memory, and an inscription dedicated to President William H. Harrison indicates the family’s political allegiance. Religious service to the local community is apparent in blocks listing Quaker organizations in which Sarah Wistar served, including the Widowhouse, Aimwell School, and the House of Industry, an organization founded in 1795 to provide employment for women as spinners and workers in early day-care centers.

Sarah Wistar never married but was obviously close to her young nieces and nephews and admired by her community. The inscribed messages on this quilt indicate that Wistar, like the tall, strong family tree found on the quilt, was a pillar of her family and community.