A quilting group is coming out this afternoon to take a look at some of our quilts*, so I thought I’d share one with our online audience as well. This is a pieced cotton quilt, circa 1880, in the “Ocean Waves” pattern with a plain strip border. The name H. A. Holland is quilted into the center diamond. It is part of a large collection of quilts from the Holland family of Brookeville, donated by Marjorie Holland Friel.

Family history says that these quilts were made by sisters Sarah (1799-1871), Ann (1808-1873) and Mercy (1810-1867) Holland of Brookeville, but an expert view** shows that a few of them – including this one – were more likely made by their niece, Hannah Ann Holland (1849-1883), who lived next door. Several quilts in this Holland collection combine pre- and post-Civil War fabrics and techniques. In this case many of the fabrics used, and the twill-tape binding technique, are typical of the 1840s or earlier, but the Ocean Waves pattern and overall “scrap” look were popular during the 1880s. Hannah’s name stitched into the quilt itself is another hint that she made this one (although it could also indicate that it was made for her). Records from the Montgomery County Fair show that Hannah A. Holland won at least one prize for her quiltmaking (in 1881, she won a First Premium in Worsted Quilts). Looking at the family stories and the physical evidence, it seems likely that Sarah, Ann and Mercy taught their niece how to quilt; it would appear that she used their techniques – and fabric stashes – to create her own works.

* Hint: Want to see something from our collections in person? Make an appointment to visit!

** Not my own expert view, I confess.  My thanks go to the many knowledgeable quilters who have advised me on our collections.

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