“The Union Star”: A Rare and Important Quilt

Elizabeth Holmes, Probably Loudoun County, Virginia


Pieced, appliqued and stuffed work cotton quilt

71” x 90”, mounted for display

Provenance: Kinnaman and Ramaekers, Bridgehampton, NY; Kelter-Malce Antiques, New York City; Collection of Bill and Maggie Pearson; America Hurrah, New York City; Private New York Collection

Literature: Hedges, Ferrero and Silber, Hearts and Hands: Women, Quilts, and American Society (1996), fig. 10; Harding, Stars and Stripes: Patriotic Motifs in American Folk Art (2002), pp. 124-125; William Beebe (2016), Intimate Parallels: The Art, History, and Activism of Civil War-Era Women’s Quilt Art, Master’s Thesis, Harvard Extension School.

This early and historic quilt features 39 stars, an American flag with dove, and the inscription “Abraham. Lincoln. Grant. PR [President] Colfax VI [Vice-President] & The Union Forever 1869/ This Quilt was Made 1869 By Elizabeth Holmes in Her 68th Year” – the stuffed work hands signifying the maker.

Elizabeth Rogers Holmes (1800-1873) was a Quaker and member of the Goose Creek Friends Meeting in Lincoln, Loudoun County, Virginia.