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Quilts Made in Michigan

An Ornithological Quilt (Pictorial Blocks)
Chloe A. Barnum Kimball (1822-1873)
Bennington, Shiawassee County, Michigan
74” x 79”
MSUM 7595.2; Gift of Kathleen Common Schmidt
Photo by KEVA, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

Chloe Kimball was born in Pompey, New York and came to Michigan with her family sometime before 1853, when she married Martin C. Kimball, by whom she had two daughters. In addition to her quiltmaking, Kimball enjoyed reading, drawing, singing, and playing the piano. Fond of nature, she made at least two other quilts containing birds and flowers, in addition to other types of quilts, some of which were given as wedding gifts. This quilt passed first to Kimball’s daughter, Leora Kimball Rinehard, and then to her great-granddaughter, Kathleen Common Schmid, who donated it to the MSU Museum.

A different bird is pictured and identified in each of 40 blocks. The remaining 2 blocks contain the signature of the quiltmaker, the place where the quilt was made, the date, and the quilt’s title, An Ornithological Quilt. Quilting has been done in diamond, diagonal, fan, and straight-line designs. According to oral tradition, the quilt won a prize at the Michigan State Fair and was probably exhibited at the Genesee County (MI) Fairs.

Chloe A. Barnum Kimball

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