Early American Union Quilt

Border star detail


Broderie perse border block

Early American Union Quilt

Early American Union Quilt This white American quilt features an appliquéd eagle pattern surrounded by appliquéd brown stars and dates circa 1796-1895. Border has blocks of "broderie perse", simple appliqué designs and plain blocks of squares outlined by a floral pattern.

Motif: eagle / floral

Description of Top

Appliqué eagle medallion quilt (87" x 83") with 28 stars. Colors predominantly brown, blues, pinks on cream. Label on back, bottom right: "Aunt Maggie gave this 1918 over 100 years old." Printed fabrics include stripe with geometric. Possibly printed panels. SC states that the center block is homespun linen. Cotton fabric is also used. Flowered chintz is used in the borders. Structure consists of one large center block (60" x 55 ¼"), 7 blocks on top and bottom and 5 blocks on each side (9" x 9"). Block orientation is straight. Basic appliqué and "boderie perse" techniques are used. Appliqué is hand stitched with invisible stitches. Quilt has one outer border 2½" wide. Eagle is bordered and border blocks are sashed. Top border is pieced with 7 different fabrics.

Quilt Back

Coarse muslin, possibly linen in four pieces.


Hand-quilted, medium to large quality (6-8 stitches per inch). Quantity is medium. Filler zig-zag quilting behind eagle. Diagonal and cross-hatch in border blocks.


Edges are straight, corners are square. Quilt is self-bound, front brought to back, though could have been part of another quilt, then cut and turned over?


Poor. Extensive damage: eagle almost totally deteriorated. Fabric deterioration, stains, tears/holes, scorching, extensive mending evident. Netting that protects the eagle needs replacing.


This quilt would be a fascinating  to date. 28 stars date the quilt at 1846-47 (Brackman, B. Clues in the Calico). SC suggests that due to the differing quality of sewing and apparent addition of fabrics that this quilt was made in several stages, the central medallion of the eagle with 15 stars would date the quilt to 1795-1818.

Accession number H15230

Descriptive data collected by Elizabeth Hoffman and Shannon Myers, January 2001