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Civil War Era Quilts from the Illinois State Museum Collection

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, the Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery presents an exhibition that explores the role of quilts in the Civil War era and the impact of the war on the lives of the women who made them. By the start of the American Civil War in 1861, quilts had long embodied the comfort and security of home and served as emblems of familial love. Caring wives and mothers sent thousands of quilts to war with soldiers so that their men could be wrapped in warmth and reminded of home. Although many believed the war would be a short campaign, news spread within weeks that the government was unprepared to provide for the volunteer regiments. Women throughout the North organized themselves into Soldier's Aid Societies to send supplies of food, clothing and bedding, to their home regiments.

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