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On view


Artist: Maker unknown (United States)

Date: 1884
Medium: Silk, velvet, wool, embroidery
Overall: 83 1/2 × 75in. (212.1 × 190.5cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 81.28
Label Text
A Friendship Quilt was a special token shared by women as a means of showing affection and remembrance. Friendship quilts could be constructed by friends, family, or members of a woman’s social group as a gift when she moved, either to be married or just as a matter of course. In a time when letters were the only means of consistent communication, their sentimental value cannot be underestimated.

This Friendship Quilt was constructed for Pauline Erhardt (1860-1944). The quilt top consists of 110 squares of luxurious scraps of silk, velvet, and brocade fabric embellished with embroidery and paint. The applied border consists of interlocking triangles and scalloped edges. This quilt has finely stitched embroidered images of fans, flowers, doves, and hearts. The craze for Japanese items popularized by the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876 made the Oriental fan a common decorative device, as seen throughout this quilt. Some of the fan designs used on Crazy quilts came from patterns, such as a Harper’s Bazars’s page of “Japanese Fan Designs for Embroidery,” featured in the August 24, 1881 issue. It is possible that this quilt was presented to Pauline by friends as a farewell token and remembrance of the women who took part in its creation as Pauline prepared to move and be married. Pauline moved from her Syracuse, New York, home to marry John Froass (1862-1936) in Madison County, New York, in 1886.