cotton patchwork, no padding

Star quilt, late 1800s

Unknown artist, expand_more
Not on Viewexpand_more

Pieced stars were popular in the United States from the 1840s to 1875, perhaps owing to the influence of kaleidoscopes. First manufactured in 1816, kaleidoscopes were perfected in the following decades.

For this quilt, scores of red, white, and blue diamond-shaped fabric pieces were painstakingly stitched together. The alternating bands of color create a pulsating effect, like a glowing sun. Signs of heavy washing tell us this quilt functioned as a bedcover. Though delicately constructed, it was still expected to withstand the rigors of daily use.

Star quilt
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

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cotton patchwork, no padding