Michigan Quilt Project
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Durkee-Blakeslee-Quarton-Hoard Family Quilt Collection

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.


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