Quilt of the Month


March 2006

March 2006

Birds in the Air
Made by Salome Thorpe
Made in Westport, Pennsylvania
c. 1885
91" x 78.5"
IQSC 1997.007.0781
Ardis and Robert James Collection of Antique and Contemporary Quilts
American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870-1940 Exhibition

An incredible variety of shirting fabrics is displayed in this mosaic-style quilt. The shirting prints--fabrics with small-scale printed designs on a white background--include a man riding a camel, odd geometric shapes, a crying infant, and images of various breeds of dogs. The quiltmaker, Salome Thorpe, embroidered a verse on the back of her quilt: "I'm Bird in Air, Sleep under me and banish care" and included her name and the number of tiny pieced triangles in her quilt--7168!

Salome Thorpe was born April 6, 1836 in Westport, Connecticut to Peter Guyer and Abigail Thorpe. She married a second cousin, Joseph Thorpe, about 1859; their daughter, Hattie, was born in July, 1860. Salome's husband died in 1865. After the death of her husband, Salome supervised the farming of their 200 acre property. The local paper wrote that "when holiday season came around she often had 100 fat turkeys ready for market." Salome and Hattie lived together in the family home at 320 Bayberry Lane until their deaths. Hattie died at age 47. Salome died in 1936, just weeks short of her 100th birthday.