By: Joyce Fullerton Smith
Between 1840 and 1844, three quilts attributed to different women were made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Egypt, New Jersey. The quilts are inscribed with many of the same names. The purpose of this study is to understand the connections between these quilts. These quilts would be interesting just as examples of a strong regional style, but more importantly, they serve as primary documents of broad community connections that transcend the religious and familial ties frequently associated with Album-style quilts. These quilts show strong connections of family and friends and record business connections in the rapidly evolving industrial world of Philadelphia and New Jersey. Beyond this, the quilts demonstrate a close association among individuals of traditional Christian beliefs with friends exploring the new Mormon faith. Drawing on museum and personal collections, historical documents, archival research, local histories, and extensive genealogical research, this study expands our knowledge of the influence of mercantilism and religion in the creation of Album quilts in the United States during the early 1840s.