Probably made in the United States, 1940-1950
Hand appliqué, Machine pieced, hand quilted
Gift of Pat Cox, IQSCM 2012.013.0041
A favorite American myth is that George Washington chopped down his father’s cherry tree, and then demonstrated his honest character by confessing the deed. When confronted, he said, “I cannot tell a lie.” Although unproven, the story and the values it represents endure in the American imagination through images of young Washington, hatchet in hand, beside the cherry tree.
The Cherry Tree quilt echoes the Washington myth through an updated and simplified design inspired by a circa 1850 four-block quilt in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The design became commercialized when The Ladies’ Home Journal Pattern Catalog issued a Cherry Tree quilt pattern in 1924, and Good Housekeeping followed with this simplified kit in 1940.
This quilt is featured in the IQSCM exhibition, “Perfecting the Past: Colonial Revival Quilts,” on view from December 7 through September 1, 2013.