HomeMoorestown NewsHistorical society previews quilt exhibition

Historical society previews quilt exhibition

Opening reception is scheduled for Nov. 4 at Smith-Cadbury Mansion

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: The Historical Society of Moorestown presented an overview of its new exhibit, “19th- Century Inscribed Quilts: A Portal to History,” at town hall on Oct. 12. Pictured is a quilt township resident Karen Dever made when she returned home from quarantine on a cruise ship in 2020.

In anticipation of its new exhibit, The Historical Society of Moorestown presented an overview of “19th Century Inscribed Quilts: A Portal to History,” at town hall on Oct. 12.

The exhibit features inscribed signature quilts – including the Hooton-Warrington Quilt, the Aimwell Quilt, the Haines Quilt and the Benjamin Crispin Lippincott Quilt – and tells the story of several Moorestown residents who were courageous, inventive and daring. 

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Linda Vizi, vice president of the historical society and curator of the exhibit, started off the presentation by explaining why quilts were made.

“There are quilts that are friendship quilts,” she said. “Quilts that might have been presented to somebody who is leaving town and going off to college or off to school. A bride might get a quilt, or a bride and groom, to honor their wedding … “

According to Karen Dever, quilt historian and certified quilt appraiser for the American Quilter’s Society, inscribed or signature quilts were made using embroidery, cross stitching and inking, with signatures or stamps. Indelible ink was available after 1840, making it possible to not only sign a quilt, but add inscriptions including poetry, personal messages or other information.

“ … The quilts may be an extension of the idea of an autographed book, only in just a (slightly) different format,” Vizi explained. “The signatures were made in different ways. Sometimes they were handwritten, sometimes they used a stamp, sometimes there would be an inscription or poetry on it. And there’s some very elaborate drawings on them, beautiful drawings that you’ll see on the quilt (s).”

Quilts on display at the exhibit event included one made by Dever that tells a memorable story.

“Back in 2020, at the end of February, my husband and I, with our friends, went on a cruise to Hawaii, and on our way back, that’s when they found out that the previous cruise had people who had COVID and someone had passed away,” she recalled. 

“ … We continued sailing, but then we couldn’t get back into the country,” Dever added.  “They wouldn’t let us back into the bay because we were, at that time, the first ship that had some connection with COVID.”

While she was in quarantine, members of The Needle and Gun Club were sending her handmade hearts that she used to create a quilt.

“ … My friends came up with the idea that they would make applique hearts,” Dever noted. “All of the hearts – and there’s some on the back – are from friends, so that when we came home, we would have all this love and support, that they were thinking of us … 

“This is what I created, so it’s a story quilt of our experience.”

Out of the exhibit’s featured quilts, Dever shared the one she likes best – the Haines.

“That one is absolutely stunning, just stunning,” she remarked. “It’s just beautiful. The fabrics are in perfect condition. The idea that these quilts have survived and the connections that Linda (Vizi) has made between the other artifacts that they have in their collection and that go with the signers and these people, all of a sudden they’ve all just become alive.”

An opening reception for the quilt exhibit will be held at Smith-Cadbury Mansion on Nov. 4 at 5 p.m. For more details, visit https://moorestownhistory.org


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