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Quilts from the Michigan State University Museum Collections

Grandma’s Quilt (Mosiac Star Pattern)
Lucie Barrett (b. ca. 1846 - 1936), Catherine Barrett, “Cousin” Martha ?, and family
Jackson, Mississippi
c. 1855-65
Cotton and paper
76” x 80”
MSUM 1999:51.1; Gift of Mrs. Lucy Curtis
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

Lucie Barrett was a southern belle who grew up on a plantation near Jackson, Mississippi. Lucie had a French governess, was not allowed out of her room unless properly attired with gloves and a hat, and did not even have to tie her own shoes until the war years. She was known as a “spitfire” and a favorite family story tells of a confrontation she had with a Union soldier, resulting in her quick departure to a seminary in South Carolina.

This quilt top was created during the Civil War by the women of the Barrett family who intended it as a bridal present for Lucie Barrett. Constructed in the English paper piecing method, the hexagons are formed around templates made from old ledgers, letters, sheet music, and printed pages. The quilt was not finished before Wistar Nichols Wright came home from the war and married Lucie. According to granddaughter Lucy Curtis, Lucie Barrett Wright was “too busy for a fancy project” during the years of Reconstruction and referred to herself as “The Queen Bee.” Curtis recalls that it was her grandmother’s hope that someday the quilt would be finished by a family member, but it never was. Curtis donated to the MSU Museum the partially finished top, including blocks, loose hexagons, and a large piece of yardage originally intended for the border.

Lucie Barrett

Wistar Wright
Photos courtesy of Lucy Curtis

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