I was SO excited to find the topic “Quilts Made During the Civil War” for AQSG Study 2014!! I give quilt tours at the Smithsonian, and my favorite Civil War quilt lives there. It was created by Mrs. Gilbert Pullen’s Sunday School Class in Augusta, Maine in 1863, to be used by Union soldiers in the hospitals in Washington City (now Washington, DC).
The original quilt does not have a Sanitary Commission stamp; however, it does have 3,675 words penned on it by Mrs. Pullen’s teenage scholars (barely legible today). It can be studied in Virginia Eisemon’s research paper in Uncoverings 2004, and in Civil War Quilts, written by Pam Weeks and Don Beld. The original quilt is called “The Sunday School Scholars Quilt.”
I have recreated the 15 star blocks. Each block is pieced, quilted, and bound separately, and then the blocks are slip-stitched together (this technique is called a “potholder quilt”). I have photo-transferred my favorite words from the original quilt in the four corner squares of each block. Inscriptions include nonsense riddles, Bible verses, practical or health advice, patriotic sayings, and life philosophy written as advice to the soldier who would be convalescing under such a cot quilt.
Thank you, AQSG, for the opportunity to watch the words of teenage girls in abolitionist Maine in 1863 come alive on a reproduction Civil War quilt in 2014.