Chimney Sweep Album Quilt
Mary Elizabeth Beardslee Durkee
Franklin, Oakland County, Michigan
82" x 84"
Cotton with cotton filling
MSU Museum Accession 1999:12.2
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved Michigan
State University Museum
"Signature" quilts, sometimes also referred to as "Friendship"
or "Album" quilts, are traditionally thought of as a group
projcet of individuals who share some kind of affiliation. This
style of quilt emerged in America during the 1840s and remains popular
today. "Album" quilts were commonly created to commemorate
a special event such as a birth or marriage, or as a memento for
someone who was migrating west. These quilts served as a means of
establishing a bond between those whose names appear on the quilt
and its recipient. "Signature" quilts are traditionally
thought of as group projects whose blocks, include the names of
many differnt individuals. This particular quilt, however, is unique
in that every block features the name "Mary E. Durkee"
or "M.E. Durkee" applied in a stamped design. One can
only wonder if Mary was testing her new stamps, or perhaps she was
just having a lot of fun showing off her own name.
By Mary Worrall, excerpted from American
Quilts from Michigan State University Museum.