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

Objects in Brief is a randomized showcase of the MFA, Boston’s encyclopedic Textile and Fashion Arts collections. A featured object is indicative of the author’s curiosity and chosen so she may learn about its material and structural properties, function, history, and greater story. These “quick studies” have led to more in-depth explorations posted in A Closer Look.