Estimated date 1861 - 1863
This Civil-War-era quilt is hard to appreciate from a photograph but it is certainly notable. Documented by the New Jersey quilt project, it is estimated to have over 7,000 pieces in it and 34 stars.
The quilt of diamonds and hexagons had passed from the maker's family but the owner attributed it to Ivy Purcell of Atlantic City, married to a doctor.
Because the center field has 34 stars the quilt documenters attributed it to the years 1861 - 1863 when the Union flag had 34 stars.
Abraham Lincoln raised the new flag with
34 stars on February 22, 1861 over Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
We are very used to a conventional grid of stars. The official star placement was dictated by an early 20th-century law but during the mid-19th century flag makers were free to use any arrangement. Here are a few creative flags and quilts.
From a sampler
We'll be making a flag for our Yankee Diary quilt so these may provide inspiration
(if not a lot of applique.)
Field from Emma Van Fleet's 1866 flag quilt
Yakima Valley Museum
Field from a flag quilt in the Belfast Historical Society, Maine
Two starry blocks from a sampler in the
Museum of Our National Heritage,
Another sampler from the Quilt Index
Field from the Abbie Williams Flag Quilt from Canandaigua.
Ontario County Historical Society.
Field from a crib quilt in the Offut Collection.
Jeffrey Evans Antiques
From Stephen Score Antiques
From James Julia Antiques
A variation on the Peterson's Magazine pattern.
Kansas State Historical Society
This 20th-century quiltmaker thought three was
a good number. The flag looks backwards to us.
But that may have been an unfamiliar concept at the time.