Quilt (American, late 19th century)

Pieced and quilted cotton plain weave, embroidered with cotton yarns. Frank B. Bemis Fund and with funds donated anonymously (2012.170). Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

On this Memorial Day, I wanted to share a quilt in our collection that mirrors American patriotic values and ideals shared by ~300 individuals living in the late 1800s. Their names, embroidered in red and white threads within upstanding vertical stripes of a re-imagined American flag, include Susan B. Anthony, a pivotal figure in the 19th century movement for women’s rights. I like to think that as we honor American service members who died for our country, we can be inspired by their ultimate sacrifice to carry within ourselves seeds of resistance to the forces that prevent access and opportunity for all people.

Click for description and collection data on mfa.org


Object a Week is a revolving showcase of MFA textile collections. A featured object may be indicative of the author’s study focus at a given moment and/or related to topics of research, activity, or recent acquisitions in the Museum’s Textile and Fashion Arts department. For more in-depth explorations of the collection, see A Closer Look.

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